Tag Archive: innovation

Common Sense

  • “We always did it this way!”

Storey and Salaman found that:

“[…] there is a tension between existing organisational strengths and innovation. […] In some cases, senior managers […] made a virtue out of the ways in which established structures limited innovation and argued that such control was necessary and desirable. In these cases, if innovation was to be tolerated and even encouraged, this was only so within the parameters of existing assumptions, structures and systems.”

(Storey and Salaman, 2005, p. 219)

Cultures consist of complex webs of interrelated factors. People may not see the need for change. This was described as the resilience of existing cultures (Hendry and Hope, 1994).

  • “We never did it this way!”

Many established organisations find it difficult to innovate. Some of the reasons for this are

“[… ] structural and cultural inertia, internal politics, complacency, fear of cannibalising existing products, fear of destroying existing competencies, satisfaction with the status quo, and a general lack of incentive to abandon a certain present (which is profitable) for an uncertain future.”

(Markides, 2002, pp. 246–7)

Hendry and Hope (1994) found that mismatches between individual and organisational values hinder organisational change. If individuals are to accept change, they need to trust their organisation and the behaviour of their managers.

  • “No one has done this before!”

Storey and Salaman sought to understand why managers have resisted innovation:

“The answer appears to be that they hold deep, emotionally-based attitudes which inure them to the intellectual arguments. These managers regard themselves as guardians of the integrity and traditions of the organisations. They explained their stance on innovation as justified by the need to curtail the ‘risks’ of innovation. It was, they said, underpinned by the need to ensure that valuable resources were not ‘squandered’ on ‘self-indulgent’ initiatives. Far from seeing this attitude as a negative, they converted it into a claimed strength.”

(Storey and Salaman, 2005, pp. 157–8)

Hendry and Hope (1994) found that contradictions in the desired culture can represent strong barriers to change and innovation. Change may represent management’s quest for control, yet what they proclaim is autonomy and innovation.

The Creative Brief

Anyone in advertising or marketing will be familiar with the Creative Brief; it is an industry standard. I see this run to two or three pages. The copy going to the creative team (copywriter and art director) was meant to be kept to a single page of A4.
Didn’t Churchill when he was First Lord of the Admiralty send away a lengthy document wanting it back as a single page? A recent British Foreign Minister used to be known by some of his civil servants as A4! This is because he required all his briefing notes from them – even on the most complicated aspects of foreign policy – to be summarised to find one A4 sized sheet of paper. I like to quote Jonathan Swift who apologised for writing someone a lengthy letter as he hadn’t the time to write a short one. Like this ‘stream of consciousness’, it pays to edit, to think through and prioritise thoughts.