This semester, my marketing class at University of Maryland University College had the privilege of hearing guest speaker Roy Luebke, an innovation and strategy consultant, talk about innovation. We were able to ask a few questions of Mr. Luebke, and he was kind enough to give permission for the answers to be shared. I wrote the subheads; the rest is directly quoted.
#1 - Culture Blocks Innovation
"A firm’s culture is the number 1 barrier to innovation. Keep in mind that most people in an organization are focused on operational efficiency. Anything new upsets that efficiency and causes people to do more work to introduce the new product/service/business model. It disrupts their efficiency. Also, studies have shown that upwards of 80% of people do not like change and will actively work to undermine change.
"Senior leaders may want change, but the structure that is in place will resist the change. Leaders need to enable middle managers to make the changes. It is a balance that needs to be achieved."
#2 - Misunderstand The Problem and The "Solution" Can Be Worse
"(Organizations need) better problem framing so you solve the right problems and avoid unintended consequences."
#3 - Talk In The Language Of The Customer
"Observe and study your clients more closely. Try to see the world through their eyes and deliver service the way they want it delivered. Communicate with your senior leaders with the language of the client and issues they are having. Try to tie your solution development directly to the needs and desires of your clients. Look for needs they have that they can’t even articulate."
#4 - Internal Efficiency Is Not Innovation
"If you don’t have a leader making the commitment to focus on innovation, status quo becomes the leader. The organization will stay focused on internal efficiencies. There will be no one leading the charge to focus on customers and enable the organization to take on new offerings and launch new solutions. Without leadership there is only stagnation."
#5 - Government ROI Is About Reducing Overhead
"Government agencies are in the business of applying budgeted dollars to a set of objectives. When a government agency is efficient it applies the highest level of dollar possible to the objectives. The ultimate measure is how much money gets to the end stakeholder. In a government scenario, increasing efficiency of throughput of the budgeted dollar is the holy grail. Any removal of steps that does not add value to the stakeholder or the mission or the objectives delivers economic value and increase customer value."
Mr. Luebke's thinking is on target for any organization. Worth paying attention to.
See also his new article, "Linking Design, Marketing, and Innovation," in the new issue of DMI News & Views.