The KSeeker

In Search of Knowledge…

Innovating under a tough environment!

Posted by Girish Krishnan on November 26, 2007

Here’s an interesting topic that gets universal attention – How to innovate under a tough environment?  I believe that more than innovating oneself, spurring innovation in an organization is a greater challenge. Can we create a process for innovation and write a ” Structured approach to Innovation for Dummies”? hmm, that one’s tough, probably doesn’t make sense trying too.

I recently read an article in the McKinsey Quarterly which speaks Gary Hamel’s views on Innovative Management, basically analyzing how to spur innovation in companies and the managements role in pulling this off. Helping people to become innovators seem to be the line of thought for Hamel. If a company has people trained with the tools to innovate, and oriented towards doing this on a continuing basis, then Hamel and Lowell (in this interview) say that there is a good chance that the firm would do well.

My point is more basic – i think innovation has a lot to do with constraints (Read the innovation sandbox by CK Prahlad) and some behavioral psychology. Imagine a person in a prison and wanting to get out, how does he do it? I don’t have too much experience in heists and breakouts, but i guess the first step is to understand the problem itself. For once you keep seeing and sensing the dinginess of the small room you are in and keep looking out at the endless sea through the only source of light in your room. Soon each neuron in your body gets acclimatised to the surroundings. Now you understand your problem or your constraints really well that for you it becomes almost involuntary to answer questions regarding them. Once you are mentally ready to take the risk,your mind doesn’t get cluttered with a million possibilities (- constraints should be viewed as helpful!) and you have a plan to execute!

Its tough to kill a man who doesn’t fear death, and similarly its tough to fail a man who doesn’t fear failure! Companies should try creating the ideal environment to innovate by imposing the constraints, nurturing fearlessness in its employees and feeding them with small successes. Getting back to the question we started with, innovating under tough environment is not rare, it is pretty much always the case.

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One Response to “Innovating under a tough environment!”

  1. Maya said

    Please dont ever stop blogging..I religiously read all your blogs..

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