How to Spark Innovation

How to Spark Innovation

Why is it so hard to stimulate innovation inside big corporations, while at the same time VCs are awash in innovative business plans and people?

Jeffrey Bussgang, a partner at venture firm Flybridge Capital Partners in Boston and one of our guest bloggers, put that question to readers in our Staying Entrepreneurial blog. Here's how one reader responded:

There are two main obstacles to innovation within the enterprise. The first is fear: If I try something new and fail, will I lose my job? Companies need to send a clear message that it is far better to try and fail than fail to try.

The second obstacle is the company's own internal structure or processes. The typical middle manager will always give you 10 reasons why they can't take advantage of a great idea. In 9 cases out of 10, the issues are internal and not at all relevant to the business problem they are trying to solve. All they can see is that implementing the idea will make their job harder.

In these cases where change management is required, a pilot project is typically the best approach. Assemble a small, engaged team; design and execute a manageable pilot project and then demonstrate and socialize your success. Once other managers within the company see what you have been able to accomplish, they will also want to jump on the success bandwagon. Another benefit: when change happens organically, people will be more committed than if it were imposed from above.

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Business Exchange related topics:Innovation MetricsBusiness InnovationCorporate Teamwork

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