Appreciating innovation

I have started to blog at the BIF Speak Blog associated with the Business Innovation Forum Summit that  am taking part in next week. It was a post from Dennis Howlett that prompted my de-lurking and I have reproduced my post below:

The biggest challenge facing organisations is not so much coercing people into being more innovative as getting themselves out of the way when people try to innovate.

Innovation almost always comes out of frustration with the status quo and is almost inevitably disruptive. If you don't let people find fault with how you do things currently or begin to disrupt your perfect systems then you are unlikely to experience innovation.

Ironically IT, who have the greatest potential to innovate at a very exciting time in their industry, are often the group worst at getting out of the way of both the innovators in the businesses they serve and amongst their own ranks.

Denis Howlett writes today of a frustrated Barclaycard employee whose situation is a perfect example of the problem:

I was struck by the profound sense of frustration experienced by this person. Geeks invent stuff. They solve problems. They love puzzles. Stifling the ability to engage in those activities is anathema. It’s like sucking out the oxygen they need with which to thrive. Any time organizations do that to anyone, productivity plummets.