3 strategies that slow, rather than speed, innovation

All too often, strategies put in place to accelerate innovation end up slowing down the entire process — when, for example, a fast-moving decision-making process moves too quickly past the evaluation stage and results in half-baked ideas.

In an excerpt from her upcoming book High Velocity Innovation: How to Get Your Best Ideas to Market Faster published in IndustryWeek, Katherine Radeka, founder and executive director of the Rapid Learning Cycles Institute, describes three such strategies that may initially seem to advance innovation but, ultimately, send it screeching to a halt.

  • Skunkworks: When an innovation team is completely isolated from the rest of the organization and assigned to devise radical, revolutionary ideas, the resulting ideas are often too separated from the parent organization's traditional processes and goals to be implemented effectively.
  • Specialist innovation teams: These teams are typically made up of innovation experts from outside the organization and are therefore likely to prioritize pursuing their own ideas of innovation, regardless of whether they fit into an organization's needs and inner workings.
  • Startup innovation for corporate R&D: If a now-multibillion-dollar corporation attempts to go "back to the garage" and rekindle the innovation it achieved as an early-stage startup, the dedicated innovation team may combine the worst parts of skunkworks and specialist teams: "The group is 'protected' from the current business and exempted from much of the rules, yet they are expected to push ideas onto the rest of the company," according to Ms. Radeka.

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