Relying on conventional methodologies and process standards can be detrimental to an organization. I came across an article featured in Business Week ‘The Problems With Obama’s Innovation Strategy’. This article is informative and enlightening by constructively pointing out the flaws within the innovation strategy. Jeneanne Rae stated “The current state of government contracting laws supports convention, not innovation. Currently, government awards tend to go to the typical “Beltway Bandit”-type firms that have little to no track record for innovation.” With all things considered it is very difficult to turn an old process standard and methodology into innovative strategy that will build an organization to endure the test of time. With that noted, I believe that this is a great foundation for the purpose of spearheading such efforts.
1. Forget Routine
It is not as easy for companies to shift focus from a conventional routine especially when formal job description is in full force. It is important to have an organization chart and flow-process, but it is vital that different departments work together to ensure that your work is unique and representative of the brand that you are marketing for your client.
This transparency allows other department individuals to solve the problem. Crispin Porter + Bogusky implemented a level of transparency when developing an advertising campaign for the Mini Cooper. Traditional wisdom dictated that Art Directors and Copywriters concept ideas for an advertising campaign. However, at CP+B they involved the Media department, and their role is to place the advertising within different types of media groups. By utilizing the Media Department, CP+B was able to develop a creative product placement strategy by providing the Mini Cooper with the exposure necessary to market it well.
Full transparency creates a dialogue between departments in any organization. This leads to a high performance team and healthy work environment. Forget the routine of a job description and allow departments to solve problems together.
2. Create A Innovation Department
Recently, more and more organizations have created a position known as a Chief Innovation Officer’ (CIO). The role of a CIO is to successfully implement an innovation strategy, establish a culture of creativity, and research/implement practices that best suit the organizations goals to move forward in the industry. This strategy has shifted the paradigm of the corporate approach, by empowering creative talent. If large organizations such as Proctor & Gamble, Target Corporation, and SC Johnson have realized such needs, it also further proves the importance of innovation in your organization. Companies that continuously innovate with the change of time are the ones that lead the industry and are naturally one step ahead of the game. Don’t you think it’s time that you start investing in innovation?
3. Implement Standards
As with any organization it is necessary to have a set of rules that follow compliance. You don’t want to have an organization that does not have policies and structure in place. Of course, if you are a traditional organization you will have the benefits of standardized methods and compliance but you will also need to revitalize it with innovative strategies.
Standardized methods and compliance have many unique advantages within an organization. Creativity and innovation extends to any magnitude and without rules, regulations, and other compliance methodologies your team has no parameters for implementation. Parameters best shape creative solutions as it allows the team to think strategically and constructively. For demonstration purposes, if we place five artists with the same blank canvas and paint and ask them to paint a sunset, they will all have varying looks. However, if we now ask the artists that the sunset must have one mountain with rocks, a water fall, birds, and trees we will have varying solutions within the same requirements. Requirements equalize the playing field and spawn original creative ideas.
4. Research Trends & Forecast
Companies do not make it big overnight. They research and conduct trend forecasting so that when the opportunity arises they are ready for the take. Have you noticed that many cosmetic companies have always managed to bring trends back from the past? I see it time and time again, and masses of women from around the globe still indulge in these noteworthy brands. MAC Cosmetics does a phenomenal job of taking a basic concept and turning it into a seasonal line for the year. Amazing. This is not just limited to cosmetics this can be for any industry. Your organization should have a team in place to conduct research and forecast so that you can take that opportunity and move forward. After all it is research that spawns great ideas.
5. Creativity Is A Necessity Not An Option
Why is it that organizations today are so focused on rules that they deem creativity an option? I am a firm believer in creativity – it helps to solve problems and even take an organization to a whole new level. Any techniques that will allow for management and subordinates to work together to come up with a leading product/solution should be in place. Whether it is brainstorming or even a whiteboard of ideas – anything can be used as long as everyone is allowed the opportunity to utilize their creativity. Remember, there is no such thing as a bad idea – it is the implementation and solution that can take that idea home.
We like to think of it as 40% Concept, 60% Execution. Great ideas often fail because of poor implementation.