Jeff Degraff in his MIX article Why the Most Innovative Companies Aren’t talks about what inhibits innovation in organizations is the fact that larger the organization, more it is divided into compartments, independent silos with very limited visibility of what is happening elsewhere in the company. In fact, in most organizations people hardly understand the function of other functions, forget about understanding their challenges or the potential collaboration points. This is where a lot of scopes to innovate is lost. When people prefer to work in their smaller teams or circles, they miss the larger picture, the miss the other angles to the problem they are trying to solve and hence bring down their chances to come out with real big innovations. As a company, it is a big challenge to bring together a cross-functional team that can bring the multiple perspectives to the table.
I also love what he says about Innovative companies: What makes innovation companies unique is, well, unique. That is they are highly adapted to their specific situation. I have been trying to tell this for a long time that Innovation is a very personal and unique journey for an organization. While you can take ideas and inspirations from the experiences of others, you must define Innovation means to you at a given point in time and the stage of your business. What and where you need to innovate is a function of where you are standing on your path and where you are going, and the path chosen must be completely yours.