Fear of Failure Hampers Innovation

CEO-driven cultural commitment is seen as the most critical step to advance innovation, according to a study released by the Business Performance Innovation Network.

Organizations worldwide have increased their focus on innovation. Yet, too often, they’re stymied by ingrained fear of failure and internal politics, as well as a lack of clear strategies and repeatable processes to make innovation measurable and accountable across the enterprise, according to a study released by the Business Performance Innovation Network.

The study, entitled “Innovation: The New Competitive Equation,” finds that 8 of 10 executives now rate their organization’s commitment to innovation as either “very high” or “growing.” But just 3% of global executives rate higher education as “excellent” in turning out innovators, while 14% rate its performance in this area as “poor.”

Sponsored by Brightidea, a provider of collaborative innovation solutions, the study is based on a survey of 200-plus senior executives worldwide, as well as qualitative interviews with chief innovation officers and top innovation leaders.

Among key findings of the study:

  • CEO-driven cultural commitment is seen as the most critical step to advance innovation, identified by 42% of all respondents, followed by removal of organizational silos and roadblocks (31%).
  • Self-preservation and fear of failure is the biggest obstacle (42%), followed by internal politics and organizational silos (37%).
  • By a huge margin, respondents say the most important way to make innovation actionable and accountable is to ensure that it is a clear part of enterprise strategy (65%), followed by innovation skills development and evaluation models (37%) and metrics for measuring progress (36%).
  • Top areas in which innovation leaders should focus resources include: defining innovation strategies and deliverables (34%), revitalizing the organizational mindset (33%), and cultivating bottom-up ideation and non-traditional thinking (31%).
  • Formal processes for evaluating and rewarding innovation across the organization is seen as the most important need for encouraging innovation (44%), followed by structured programs for “intrapreneurship (40%), and a defined set innovation principles and practices (36%).

For more information, visit: www.bpinetwork.org and www.brightidea.com.

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