How Companies Undermine Innovation

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Today, for any organization, innovation is the new El Dorado. Chief Executives and business unit leaders weave the word innovation all around. Something very real is happening here: as it becomes cheaper and easier for startups to upend existing businesses with new offerings, big companies are realizing that they can’t continue to rely on their time-worn methods for cultivating and developing new products, and lumbering into new markets. But  the hulking mass of corporate culture and structure can get in the way… some corporate underbrush need to be hacked through before real innovation can happen.

Moises Norena, global director of innovation at Whirlpool:
“One of the typical flaws I’ve seen in innovation programs is starting without a clear view of strategy”

James Euchner, vice president of global innovation at Goodyear:
“It’s a sign that things aren’t working when there’s a lot of deferring commitment, asking for more analysis and data. Innovation must be instantly apparent and quantifiably demonstrable.”

Julia Austin, formerly VP of innovation at the tech company VMware:
“I can’t tell you how many companies I know that have innovation programs, but no space to foster creativity. Large spaces with whiteboards and comfy places to sit so people can brainstorm ideas are critical.”

Peter Erickson, senior vice president of innovation at General Mills:
“A decade ago, our lab was the world. Today, the world is our lab.”
Every good idea is expected to spring from the hermetically-sealed world of the corporation. Those from outsiders are consistently undercut.

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