There is an underlying assumption that any 'conscious' act by corporations means a tradeoff between profit and supporting some charitable or environmental cause.
Conscious Capitalism speaks mainly about the four tenants that reveal how to do business the "right way". Where the rubber meets the road is HOW conscious businesses become more profitable than other companies. Conscious businesses not only focus on short term profit, but the larger community of employees, customers, investors and suppliers to comprise a system greater than the organization. Can you imagine an organization larger than your company that truly wants you to succeed and is driven to help?
John Montgomery wrote a detailed article discussing the legal issues faced by companies wishing to implement conscious principles. It's a good high level discussion, but if I may cut to the chase - the proof is in the pudding. Look at the growth numbers. Look above at the financial results of the companies who invest in these four conscious areas.
Innovative companies look everywhere possible to achieve competitive advantage.
You have two choices when reviewing conscious business: you can get bogged down in philosophical or legal discussions about conscious capitalism - or you can roll up your sleeves and uncover what these companies know that ANY company can learn from. It's not all or nothing. There are many things that can be implemented cheaply and quickly to show results before discussing a major change in your business.
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Continuing with my previous article, an important aspect of creating an innovation strategy is that much of what is important needs to be done BEFORE you create the strategy. You need data to help guide innovation strategy decisions. This and the next few articles will answer the question, “How ready is my company for innovation?”
Over the next few articles, we will review three major areas to help assess the current state of ‘innovation readiness’ in your organization:
This article is dedicated to understanding how to access the innovation readiness of your employees and leaders.
Why start with assessing your people? “I’ll stay with the devil I know” is a common phrase of people who are scared of change. These people will fight to keep things as they are, especially if they have built a fiefdom. Even Wired recognized “When politics gets in the way of innovation”.
There two main purposes behind assessing leaders and employees for innovation readiness are:
Let’s focus on what data should be gathered. Our methodology lists these under “Personal and Interpersonal Assessments".
In the next article, we’ll review the different types of assessments:
Upon reviewing the results, Senior Management. can decide how much resources (e.g. budget) should be allocated to:
As a consultant, the most common questions I am asked are, “Why should I invest in innovation?” and “What is the ROI (return on investment) from innovation?” Let’s forget about me and just look at innovation - why should YOU invest in innovation?
So back to the most important issue with innovation - is it worth it?
Greg Satell’s article in Forbes, “Innovation Is The Only True Way To Create Value” states:
Innovation is … valuable because it raises the productivity of both capital and labor.
Jeff De Cagna in his “The Six Core Values of Innovation” says quite simply:
While the pursuit of innovation cannot absolutely guarantee meaningful growth, it is the best strategy most enterprises have for achieving it in a way that can become sustainable over time.
The Harvard Business Review published an article “Value Innovation: The Strategic Logic of High Growth” by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. I completely agree with their approach.
Why do some companies achieve sustained high growth in both revenues and profits? … The less successful companies took a conventional approach: Their strategic thinking was dominated by the idea of staying ahead of the competition. In stark contrast, the high-growth companies paid little attention to matching or beating their rivals. Instead, they sought to make their competitors irrelevant through a strategic logic we call value innovation.
There are more experts willing to share their definition of and value from innovation. The question is really not if there is value in innovation. The question is if your organization is ready for innovation and how you are going to innovate. The next series of articles will be about preparing to create an innovation strategy. Then we’ll discuss how to to create the innovation strategy and, eventually, rolling out innovation at your organization.
Congratulations! You’ve been awarded the privilege of organizing the effort to implement innovation at your company. Maybe you’ve followed my advice in the last few articles and have shown enough documentation to demonstrate the value of implementing innovation at your organization. Now that you have senior management’s attention, what’s next? Where do you start to organize everything needed to create an innovation strategy?
There is already a huge amount of information available about how to create an innovation strategy. Many of the top articles I’ve found have a common theme: “You Need an Innovation Strategy” by Gary P. Pisano; “Mapping Your Innovation Strategy” by Scott Anthony, Matt Eyring and Lib Gibson; and “How to Form an Innovation Strategy” by Scott Anthony. Many of the articles you’ll find on innovation strategy all follow a common theme, “...we suggest that companies begin innovation efforts by creating an innovation strategy that details clear targets and tactics.” With all of these available articles, why pay attention to this one?
Have you ever met people who are invested in keeping things the way they are? These people will fight against innovation. This is just one of the many things you should know before you start to formulate an innovation strategy.
I’ve been in the innovation implementation trenches before. Learn from me where the landmines are so you can avoid them.
For those of you who are an executive with a budget for innovation, or if you are someone who has convinced an executive that time and effort should be invested in innovation, this next series of articles is for you. We will review all of the things that should be included in PLANNING to create an an innovation strategy. In other words, these articles are going to review information you should gather to PREPARE yourself and your executives to help create your innovation strategy. This information will be needed when all of the senior executives gather to create the innovation strategy, including what is in and what is out of scope of the innovation project.
There are two areas of information that should be gathered to ensure senior management has what they need when meeting to discuss creating an innovation strategy and project:
Because there are people in the world who are very invested in keeping things the way they are - and innovation is opposite of this - you really should take the time to look at point #1 above and determine how available your executives, leadership, and employees are to introducing innovation into your organization. Taking time to evaluate the readiness of your organization first will help determine how much work there will be during the innovation rollout.
This and the next couple of articles are going to discuss how to assess how ready your organization is to accept innovation. To put it as politely as possible, you should know in advance the amount of employee and leadership development needed to get as many people as possible on board the innovation train.
Much of this is basic project planning 101. The question is whether you know what questions to ask, specific to innovation, to gather enough information to present to the innovation planning committee.
We are going to review three major areas to help assess the current state of “innovation readiness” in your organization:
We’ll go into all of this in great detail over the next few articles to help you avoid the pitfalls I’ve encountered and also so you can learn from all the successes I’ve had in implementing an innovation strategy. Stay tuned!