Groupthink is probably the biggest killer of Innovation. It occurs when a group of people collectively decide to simply follow what the group thinks. Usually, this is done with no communication at all. This often happens when there are very few contributors with nobody willing to challenge them. There may very well be ideas that do not get put forward and those that do are not thoroughly evaluated.
Get someone to play the role of ‘Devil’s Advocate’. This person’s job is simply to question and challenge the ideas provided. Hopefully, such challenges will be made in a non-repetitive manner (i.e. not asking the same questions or waiting until the same point in time) which will force critical thinking within the group.
Ensure There are Sufficient Resources
Sometimes, it’s not the lack of ideas that stops us – it can be a lack of resources. It is true that rationing resources can lead to enhanced creativity but if you go too far you will find that your Innovation output will decrease. It also makes it exceedingly unlikely that you will actually manage to implement anything concrete.
You need Innovation champions who are able to lobby the right (high level) people for money, manpower, and materials. You will need your ‘Innovation Manifesto’ to ensure that people know the importance of Innovation with regard to competitive advantage and sustainability (and of course your bank balance). Without adequate resources, any money you spend will simply be a cost, not an investment!
Believe In Your Ideas
Even organisations that come with hundreds of ideas can stumble along the wayside. Assuming that you get a heap of ideas you must DO something with them. From the point that ideas are generated, there are many barriers that lie in wait. Ideas may not be evaluated because they do not come from ‘the right people’, or you tried something similar last year or there is an arbitrary decision made about resources required (we don’t have the money, it’s too hard, etc).
You must have a process in place for ensuring that action is taken. And you must also ensure that whatever you decide to do with an idea, you ensure that the originator knows what has happened to it and why. If you do not at least do this, then your sources will dry up quickly. Have you ever wondered why the typical company suggestion box does not work?