It can be easy to slip into the mindset of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” In the business world, this can mean halting innovation or holding your company back from a culture of continuous improvement. Although there may be many reasons why innovation has not been fully integrated into your business, there are also many signs that can signal it is time for change if you want your business to succeed. There might be some dangers lurking in your organization’s functions that are signalling a high innovation urgency is needed to save your company. Organizations with a low level of urgency put innovation on the backburner, which can make it challenging to accept and implement new innovation systems and activities.
Innovation Urgency vs. Importance
At this point, there is a universal agreement that innovation is important. Nearly every business has innovation on its radar and is aware that it is a worthwhile effort. However, just because innovation is important to a business does not mean that it is considered urgent. Organizations of all sizes in all industries face a lot of urgent tasks and concepts that often make innovation seem less urgent, although still important. This is why innovation is frequently discussed but still poorly integrated into organizations. The innovation urgency vs. importance dilemma also explains why well-established companies tend to face innovation issues. Levels of urgency fluctuate, and when innovation urgency levels are low it is more difficult to build internal momentum toward new innovation investments, systems, processes, and activities. High innovation urgency levels keep innovation alive throughout your organization while continuing to push it forward despite internal and external changes. The agile methodology creates a workplace philosophy that makes this organization-wide integration more natural to the structure of your business.
Signs Innovation Urgency Levels are Low
In our previous blog Did Your Organization Get an Innovation Health Checkup Recently?, we discuss ways to tell where your business is at on its innovation journey. Quick online assessment tools can easily pinpoint how integrated innovation systems are in your organization. If your business is at a lower innovation stage, it is likely that your urgency levels are low as well. High innovation urgency levels will transform your business philosophy in a way that facilitates better innovation throughout the organization. However, there are a lot of other systems and processes within your company that might be suffering due to low innovation urgency.
Here are some signs that organization change is needed within your business that can be facilitated by a higher sense of innovation urgency:
- your strategy has changed but your structure has not;
- individual departments are strong but cross-functional coordination is weak;
- short-term goals are outweighing long-term development;
- you have high sales but low profits;
- competition is consistently beating you.
Strategies for High Innovation Urgency
All types of urgency are not the same. For example, realizing that you have fallen far behind competitors and now have a heightened, immediate innovation urgency could result in a very negative impact. Trying to jump too many steps ahead of where you are currently at means using unfamiliar tools and methods that your company and its employees will be unable to adjust to fast enough. Successful transformations of all kinds require a strategy involving realistic steps to reach your goal. High innovation urgency means integrating innovation into the focus and culture of your organization in addition to the business strategy.
Here are some strategies for turning your high level of innovation urgency into organization-wide success:
- outline for employees what urgency means to your company;
- build a framework for decision-making in your company;
- set specific goals with budgeting for innovation projects;
- make sure all innovation goals are measurable.
More urgency will drive more innovation. This urgency is something that must be created because the importance of innovation is usually already present. Do not let your organization get blindsided by an external crisis, but instead be prepared with the proper corporate mindset and measures by submitting your organization for a quick online Innovation Urgency Test.