Five Key Factors Affecting a Shop’s Ability to Innovate

What does it really mean to be an innova-tive company and how does a shop know if it is innovative? The factors that must be in place to support innovation are not a mystery. Companies that rely on ‘innovative thought’ to advance their product devel-opment, sales and customer service processes must be sure that they close any gaps in their capacity to encourage and support this breakthrough thinking.

Shops can perform their own innovation health check by looking closely at five key variables that affect innovation:

  1. Does your shop have a clear strategy? Strategy defines the field in which an organization operates and involves questions such as “What products will the firm offer?” and “How much will the company invest in each?”
  2. Do your shop’s business processes measure up? Business processes are the workflows through which business is conducted. Consider, “How can we do this better” or “How would we do this if we had no constraints?” Ask, do we have methods in place for addressing innovation issues?
  3. Does your shop have clear goals and do you measure results? In order to be innovative, you must have clear, strategy-driven expectations for innovation. Goals must be defined and measured and results must be reported.
  4. Do employees have the inherent skills or the tools necessary to learn to be innovative? Hiring innovative people is one way to foster innovation, but innovation skills and knowledge also can be taught, and creativity nurtured.
  5. Leadership is the overall factor that affects all of the other variables of innovation. Leaders must establish a strategy and ensure that innovation goals are being met; successes and failures measured; and, innovative people developed and
    supported.

By looking at this handful of key variables, you can pinpoint the roadblocks that are inhibiting robust, profitable, breakthrough thinking.

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