Five Ways to Drive Innovation in Organisations

February 3rd, 2011 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

I joined a key note being conducted by Professor Paddy Miller from the IESE Business School believing that I was about to understand the 5 insights into driving innovation in organisations, so WHY WERE WE TALKING ABOUT CHEESE DURING THE HR SUMMIT? I had a shocking revelation at the HR Business Summit that it is not the wise words of Marshall Goldsmith or even the voice of experience that is Richard Branson that tops ratings as far as readership of business books is concerned – the top selling award winning book that is a must see, must read apparently is “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr Spencer Johnson. Shocking – yes, surprising – maybe.

Professor Paddy Miller went on to eloquently present his ideas on how to “own the people strategy and engage your staff to drive your strategy of innovation” and explained that the key to success is to really understand “who are your audience and how diverse are they?” In particular, how we deliver a message is as important as the message itself. He highlighted how important the strategy planning stage is and that communication, education and reinforcement are critical when designing, defining and engaging people around a strategy.

He explained that there are a number of barriers to innovation including insufficient resources, not formal strategy for innovation and a lack of clear goals and priorities (Jamroj, Vickes and Beer, 2006). He therefore shared five insights into driving a strategy of innovation in organisations:

1. Get the diagnosis right – Are we solving the right problem?

2. Define the playing field – Direct and focus the efforts of your people. What do you want to achieve and how?

3. Engage your people – Make your employees part of the team, involve them in the problem to find the solution.

4. Build the architecture – Create support structures to enable innovation. Encourage open thinking and alternatives.

5. Beyond leadership – Ensure the leaders believe in innovation, use it as part of their everyday language and embody innovation in everything they do.

Throughout this key note, Miller debated the essential element of a “working definition” for engagement and that most organisations were significantly lacking in this area. He reinforced the need for a working model to support the application and reinforcement within the management team, so it is embedded into their core thinking. Employee and engagement surveys should not be viewed as a one hit intervention for companies. They must be part of a longer term strategy, which blends both qualitative and quantitative information over time to give a true reflection of the health of the organisations engagement. If you are interested in talking to us about our Engagement services, please contact

Written by Sarah Linton, Director of Assessment

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