The Invisible Chains That Hold Back Your Innovation Potential: Ambiguous Innovation Aspirations.
In our previous posts we unveiled some of the hidden barriers that curb the innovative efforts of companies, barriers we call the Invisible Chains. Our exploration has led us to discover yet another critical invisible chain: the lack of clarity surrounding innovation aspirations.
Innovation aspirations refer to the clear articulation and communication of the anticipated outcomes and returns expected from innovation activities, typically expressed in quantifiable terms such as increased revenue or EBIT. The essence of innovation aspirations is not just in setting goals but in externalising them so that they act as coherent guideposts for the entire organisation.
Without clear and coherent innovation aspirations, most companies find it challenging to determine if their collection of innovation projects is sufficient to meet the desired business outcomes. This creates a discord in organisational focus and resource allocation.
Furthermore, in the absence of clear innovation aspirations, senior leaders may start to view innovation as a cost-intensive venture with uncertain returns, rather than as a strategic capability enhancing business. When the expected outcomes of innovation are unclear, determining the appropriate budget for innovation activities becomes a challenge. Consequently, the following symptoms start to show in the organisation:
Innovation performance significantly lagging behind the innovation aspirations
With limited investment and lack of clarity about the aspirations, it is difficult to assess whether we are bold enough in terms of size and variety of innovation activities we should undertake to deliver on our aspirations.
Reduced Organisational Alignment
Unclear innovation aspirations lead to disjointed efforts and lack of strategic alignment, causing organisational resources to be spread thin over a plethora of projects. The ambiguity also makes it difficult to efficiently manage and prioritise the innovation project portfolio in alignment with organisational objectives.
Diminished Innovation Investment
Senior leaders, unsure of the tangible value derived from innovation, are often reluctant to allocate substantial resources and investment towards innovation activities with high levels of uncertainty. In the eyes of the senior leadership teams, innovation becomes a nice-to-have rather an essential component of the organisation’s strategic arsenal.
If your company is experiencing the impediments caused by unclear innovation aspirations and you’re eager to break free from this invisible chain, reach out to us at IMS Projects, and let’s illuminate the path to unbridled innovation together.