Viewpoint: Longstanding management processes are holding back innovation

While strong, well-established management processes keep traditional business operations running smoothly, they can be a true hindrance to innovation, according to tech entrepreneur Steve Blank.

In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Mr. Blank described how a reliance on internal process can reduce an organization's innovation efforts to mere "innovation theater." "These processes reduce risk to an overall organization, but each layer of process reduces the ability to be agile and lean and — most importantly — responsive to new opportunities and threats," he wrote.

When organizations attempt to innovate within existing processes, they often turn to surface-level reorganization or launch activities such as hackathons and innovation workshops that may reshape company culture, but often do not result in actual deployable ideas. Eventually, these companies realize that the processes they thought would spur innovation are actually an obstacle to forward-thinking ideation.

Therefore, Mr. Blank wrote, "Organizational redesign, innovation activities and process reform need to be part of an overall plan." He concluded, "In sum, large organizations lack shared beliefs, validated principles, tactics, techniques, procedures, organization, budget, etc. to explain how and where innovation will be applied and its relationship to the rapid delivery of new product. We can build a mindset, culture and process to fix this."

More articles on innovation:
Texas Medical Center partners with Denmark on digital health innovation
Bill Gates: Funding scientific innovation would end malnutrition, malaria by 2040
Northeastern University establishes $50M AI institute to address challenges in healthcare

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