Barriers to innovation come from a variety of sources. Two major sources are the people involved and the process followed. People make all the difference. Right from sponsors, participating members, supporting teams and you as a key member/leader. Corporate innovation programs are supposed to follow a predictable process to help in governance and resource management. Level of detail of the process and rigidity around “how” something is done decides the effectiveness of the process and hence the innovation itself.
While you are on the intrapreneurial journey, watch out for these five critical barriers and cross-them-over, quickly.
Self-doubt and Worthiness of the Problem: Working on a wrong problem or not-so-worthy one is not going to help you or the organization. Clear the self-doubt on the worthiness of the problem. Establish that is a good one to solve in the context of your business and your customers.
Judging ideas too quickly. Questioning everything to conclude quickly by saying NO is what you get trained at work. Convergent thinking is the most paid attribute at work. But if you are on Innovation journey, you should reverse that to saying YES, let us try it out. Once you get-over the NO hump and explore thoroughly, you might find the valuable idea. Suspend judgment. Adopt experimentation.
Stopping with the first good idea. There’s always more than one way of doing anything. Why do you stop at the first good idea? While on Innovation journey, explore. Experiment with more options in the beginning. Let the good one emerge out of the lot. It also helps you with a Plan B or C, when required. When you find a good idea, log it and look for some more. Adopt time and money boxing. Don’t boil the ocean. Don’t rest with too small a portion either.
Following rules that don’t exist. Many times, you may assume that something can’t be done, without verifying it. Rules are made for regular operational businesses. Controls and governance mechanisms exist to support running of the business. When you are on the journey of changing-the-business, you might have to change and make new rules. Find and fix rules that don’t fit. Don’t just follow by assuming you can’t do it.
Failing to get sponsorship and supporters. You can’t run a submarine project for a long time. You should never start one in the first place. The first skill to master is convincing yourself and others on the idea you wish to pursue. You will need that through-out the journey. Get it first. Get your idea sponsored. Garner support from people who can help you make it a reality. Heroes are honored in war. At work, you need to be a hero by being the future-shifter. This needs sponsorship and support. Get it to cross the barrier.
Being SAFE at work is an essential need to be an effective Intrapreneur.