Acknowledging Inconvenient Truths

Posted Nov 13th, 2017

Acknowledging Inconvenient Truths

The goal of organizations and the goals of innovation are most often the same and yet the two are experienced by organizational members as enemies, not allies.


What is an Inconvenient Truth?

Inconvenient Truths are things that require attention and acknowledgment even though they may be difficult to do or accept.

In my research over the last seven years, drawing from business and academic literature, as well as over twenty years' experience working as an organizational development consultant with organizations globally, I have found a number of Inconvenient Truths about innovation within organizations.

These include the following:

  1. Leaders of organizations need better ways to measure, quantify, and demystify innovation so that it can be tangibly addressed in a systematic way.
  2. Innovation is a leading indicator of an organization's ability to sustain future success.
  3. The majority of organizations still view innovation as a 'nice to have' rather than a 'need to have,' and they eventually pay the price. Those that do value and see the need for innovation struggle with how to do it well, or better.
  4. The goals of organizations and the goals of innovation are most often the same, and yet the two are experienced by organizational members as enemies, not allies.
  5. Creativity is absolutely essential, but it's not the whole story.
  6. An inability to break the bonds of short-term thinking at the leadership level will kill innovation.
  7. Organizations are most often adept at short-term, incremental innovation, but are typically much less effective at long-term, transformative, or radical forms of innovation.
  8. Failing to understand the full ramifications of the fact that organizations are complex systems, rather than a collection of complicated processes, will severely constrain an organization's transformational potential – their ability to initial and sustain innovation.
  9. There is no innovation without leadership support.
  10. There is a dramatic need to better understand the relationship between organizational thinking and organizational innovation.
  11. Effective organizations are most likely to be successful with innovation and yet it's the ineffective organizations that it most and who often experience numerous failed innovation attempts; a.k.a., the vicious cycle.
  12. Engagement surveys are useful, but not substantive enough to fully grasp, describe, and enable how to improve organizational innovation and transformation.
  13. Innovation and transformation are every bit as emotional as intellectual for every member of the organization.*

For more information on how to identify and tackle the Inconvenient Truths in your organization, check out Dr. Brett Richards' new book, Grow Through Disruption: Breakthrough Mindsets to Innovate, Change and Win with the O.G.I.

I’m sure there are many more Inconvenient Truths that you have found to be true. Please add to the list, and discuss, in the comments box below!

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