Innovation

by Cathy Dunn and Phil Allcock

Introduction

Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.

Peter Drucker

In the constantly changing world of the 21st century, businesses and managers need to deliver exceptional performance to achieve success. This places significant demands on everyone to improve productivity and profitability, while also contributing new and innovative ways of doing business and developing new products and processes. Such an environment places great emphasis on being ‘innovative’ and enabling ‘innovation’ to happen.

This focus can make us question our abilities in this area. How can we, as managers, encourage and nurture new ideas? Do we tend to tackle each business problem in a similar way? Is innovation about visualisation and creativity? Have we encumbered our own and our colleagues’ imaginative thought processes by the environment in which we work?

This topic will help you understand more about the concept of innovation and how you can support and develop both yourself and your team in ‘being innovative’.

We assume that there’s some reason why you’ve found yourself exploring the theme of innovation. It may just be curiosity, which is a really important trait as far as innovation’s concerned; on the other hand, there may be some specific reason for your interest. Maybe

  • At your latest performance review you were told that you need to be more innovative if you want progress in the business
  • You’ve heard a lot recently about working smarter or ‘doing more with less’ and think that innovation might be a way of doing so
  • You believe that the way things are being done in your part of your business is a bit stale and needs to be shaken up
  • You’ve been given a new function or team to lead and challenged with finding new ways of doing things
  • You’ve noticed that people who are innovative get more attention, get involved in interesting work and get promoted.

If any of those possibilities ring a bell with you, you’re in the right place.