Fear of Failure Hampers Innovation
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%).