The more I read about the history of innovation and inventions, the more I’m convinced that progress is largely accidental!
From the times of Newton and Einstein, we have seen countless examples of scientists and geniuses unintentionally stumbling upon great discoveries—a pattern that persists even today. So, given that many discoveries and innovations appear to depend largely upon chance, is it possible to stack the odds in our favor and make these ‘accidents’ more frequent?
Yes! I believe that implementing a well-defined Continuous Innovation process could greatly increase the chances of accidental innovative breakthroughs within an organization.
Every organization is unique and so is its workforce. Since Innovation is a direct output of the ‘inertia of creative thinking’ by one’s employees, binding them within an process can bring more discipline, objectivity and increase the chances of making a major breakthrough. While the quality of innovation is directly proportional to the level of intellect, diversity and inherent passion of the employees towards creating something new, a well crafted innovation management process can easily increase the volume of innovation/ideas being generated—thereby regularizing the act of innovating!
While there could be analytical measures to improve the quality of innovation within an organization, it is more important to build the habit of innovating within the business’s structure and among employees. If this could be done in the right balance and evolved over time to keep pace with the changing eco-system, the organization can become an ‘Idea factory’ that will lead the businesses of tomorrow.
There is great value in documenting the nature, process, and implementation of failed ideas. If described in public forums, a crowdsourcing model may find viable solutions and alternatives, very quickly. ‘Failed’ ideas have received investment in the form of funds and other resources, other ideas and time. Therefore, a failed idea – if promoted well – can attract a buyer. In fact, it may be cheaper to use a failed idea than to start again from scratch.
By providing the structure and the environment to channel the ‘creative inertia’ of your employees, as well as the process of documenting both successful and failed ideas, an Continuous Innovation process is a necessity for the business who want to succeed both now and in the future!