"Making innovation everyone's job" is a section heading in "The Future of Management." The question is why isn't this done? Hamel (and his co-writer Bill Breen; I've been negligent in not crediting him earlier) give three reasons:
Creative Apartheid - the belief that only special people can be creative, so most people are not allowed to innovate.
The Drag of Old Mental Models - a.k.a. the trap of past success. The authors bring up Dell, a perfect example. Their direct-selling model had been so successful for so long, the company was very slow to catch onto the shift of PCs as a business product to a consumer product--making a retail sales model advantageous. And the move from desktops to laptops, which allowed less customization--a Dell specialty.
No Slack - this is one of the most interesting observations in the book. By increasing efficiency and making sure directly-measurable output was optimized, executives and their consultant enablers squeezed out time for people (including themselves) to be innovative. Innovation requires clear thinking and reflection, and who can do that when they have to close eight trouble tickets this hour, or bill forty-five hours this week, or do twenty performance reviews this month?
Every day brings a barrage of emails, voice mails, and back-to-back meetings [sound familiar?]. In this world, where the need to be "responsive" fragments human attention into a thousand tiny shards, there is no "thinking time." And therein lies the problem. However creative your colleagues may be, if they don't have the right to occasionally abandon their posts and work on something that's not mission critical, most of their creativity will remain dormant. (p.55)
Other posts in this series:
Note: you can find excerpts of the book here.
(Photo by fireball45 via stock.xchng)
innovation leadership creativity reading list