Lee-Anne McAlear is Program Director at The Centre of Excellence in Innovation Management at Schulich School of Business at York University. In her presentation at IdeaCity 2017, she made a compelling case for innovation in the workplace.
High priority, low satisfaction
McAlear quotes the McKinsey Global Innovation Survey which reveals that while 84% of leaders say innovation is a high priority, 94% of the same leaders are dissatisfied with their firms’ innovation performance.
Bolstering this alarming disconnect is research by Leger Marketing and the Globe & Mail that says that only 22% of organizations examined have a formal process for innovation.
Embed an innovation process
McAlear emphasizes the importance of implementing an easily understood innovation process in any organization. It is the people who are the greatest source of innovative ideas so processes must be implemented to “extract… nurture… foster… and express” creativity from within the organization.
Firms which successfully innovate focus on small incremental innovations. This serves to involve the people within the organization on innovation on a regular basis and strengthen that creative capacity. This same capacity can be pressed into service for bolder innovations at less frequent intervals.
McAlear quotes an Adobe survey of thousands of people around the world which found that less than 20% of those studied felt they were creative at work.
She argues that leadership needs to create opportunities for people within their organization to share and improve each others ideas.