My friend Dr. Vinay Dabholkar talks about the Current practices being followed for Innovation in his blog post. Vinay is someone I really respect for his knowledge and his openness to hear the contrary views. In fact, he sometimes seeks those views to validate or fine-tune his own.
This what I think of his views in this particular post:
- You need to be very clear of the objective of the innovation initiative in the organization: Is it to make people participate? Is it to get some focused results/ideas that the organization can use? Is it to prepare the ground for future innovations? It is t create a culture of Innovation? While you may say all of them, but I think you need to choose the focus.
- A lot of organizations that I worked or interacted with were good at creating buzz and getting people to give ideas. I found that they were sitting of thousands of ideas, most of which were irrelevant. No organization has a process, resources, or bandwidth to do a justified evaluation of all these ideas. And if you think of the softer part of the process, it is more harmful to take an idea and not logically conclude it than not taking an idea at all.
- A big gap that I see is the enabling gap – people are asked to give ideas, without being enabled to do so. They are not made to think about ideas that are relevant to business, not trained on how to present your ideas, how to do a business evaluation of their own ideas. Most people, especially in the IT industry need to be trained in business thinking, as being technocrats it is not required to do so in their regular jobs. Addressing these issues is a part of creating a nurturing environment where if I have an idea, there are systems, processes, and resources available to me to take it to a level where an organization can actually use it.