The top 10 challenges of innovation and how to overcome them14 min read

challenges of innovation

The path to innovation is not always easy.

It’s frequently necessary to create a certain atmosphere in which individuals are encouraged and permitted to freely develop ideas, which may actually move initiatives ahead.

The necessary tools must also be in place for the creative approach to provide the most benefit.

In terms of organizational growth and success, innovation is a critical aspect:

Creating an innovative culture in your organization is a key undertaking today, yet many companies face internal problems that obstruct the innovation process.

Should you encounter any of these problems, how do you best respond to them?

In this article, let’s take on the top challenges of innovation and what you can do to overcome them. Let’s get started.

What are the top challenges of innovation?

Innovation is a significant component in the growth, success, and survival of a company. So encouraging innovation in your organization should be a top priority. Unfortunately, most businesses encounter internal difficulties that impede innovation.

Here are ten of the most prevalent issues that hinder innovation and how to address them.

1. Impractical expectations for innovation

Imposing unreasonable expectations makes individuals lose confidence. As a result, innovative outputs suffer. Sometimes, in innovation, we sensationalize, overestimate, and overpromise an idea that generates an expectation threshold that is difficult to meet.

For others, the problem often comes from the fact that under-promising may not help your team obtain the traction you need among investors to secure a suitable investment to push your innovation project through.

While it’s a delicate, tricky choice between over- and under-promising, being honest about the project’s possible risks — and preparing to meet them in case — is a great countermeasure.

Solutions:

  • Extracting insights about what could go wrong and making room for possible errors with a build-measure-learn attitude can help deliver the best business value possible. After all, great innovations take patience and time to implement.
  • Develop the mental grit to go on by setting the appropriate goals and expectations while embracing a ‘test small, fail quick, and learn quickly’ mindset in an atmosphere where certain delays hold back patience – and in consequence – progress.
  • Discuss the innovation process with defined goals and expected outcomes to set the right expectations.

2. Unempowered innovation teams

Some innovation managers are concerned that innovation would divert the attention of their workforce from their daily tasks and responsibilities.

As a result, some employees don’t feel equipped nor motivated to participate in the exploration of new ideas or even in discussions related to the company’s innovation activities.

Because of this, they develop less regard for innovation objectives, which could possibly make them feel that innovation should be the least of the organization’s priorities.

Solutions:

  • Promote innovation as an inclusive activity that inspires, appreciates, and rewards innovative concepts.
  • Boost your innovation culture by doing the following steps:
    • Offering thorough backing for innovation initiatives
    • Conducting innovation training
    • Promoting accountability for innovation performance outcomes
    • Allocating sufficient resources to support sustainable culture change
    • Developing innovation strategies and projects together with employees
  • Encourage employees to spend time innovating via motivational activities such as incentive programs, hackathons, and other innovation challenges.

3. Lack of innovation strategies

Creating a coherent innovation plan is critical, just like any other organizational endeavor. An innovation strategy directs the course of innovation, as well as its practical execution. Without one, efforts to innovate risk becoming misaligned.

A considerable percentage of some corporate innovation projects appear to have been established haphazardly without a defined innovation strategy in existence. Because of this, such projects will only pique the attention of top management at first.

However, because such efforts are not tightly tied to company strategy, vital financing will soon run dry. It would then become difficult to sustain the resources devoted to these projects unless its commercial benefit (ROI) is demonstrated.

Solutions:

  • Consider the company’s growth strategies and agenda when initiating grassroots activities.
  • Create a specific set of objectives and define how you can possibly and efficiently attain them.
  • Develop an innovation plan and be transparent about it with your employees. Ask for their insights to show how serious you are in keeping them onboard, including how their participation is greatly appreciated.

4. Weak innovation culture

Given the importance of innovation in business and the reality that corporate culture has proved to be the most powerful and elusive obstacle to creative performance, innovation culture is a significant issue for many.

The problem is, a weak innovation culture can spiral into numerous different problems that may hinder the organization’s overall capacity for innovation. Not only will it impede the creativity of employees. It will also affect how they perceive innovation activities.

For instance, when an individual feels that the company’s mechanisms are not in place for implementing innovative ideas, then innovation will never be on top of their priorities. Or worse, they may never take it seriously, which may then affect productivity, efficiency, and deadlines.

Solutions:

  • Assess where you are in terms of innovation. Recognizing where you stand innovatively offers you a proper indication of what rules, laws, activities, and procedures you need to put in place to foster an innovative culture.
  • Make a plan for where you wish to go from an innovative standpoint. Goals and objectives are taken into account in a strong innovation culture. Allow these factors to influence your company’s day-to-day operations.
  • Discover what needs to be done by learning from your current innovation culture. Ask your employees for their insights. And if something isn’t working as it should, figure out what needs to be altered and make the appropriate changes.

5. Lack of managerial support

Managerial support for innovation is critical in enhancing organizations’ economic competitiveness.

However, some executives find it challenging to support innovation efforts, not because they underestimate the function or importance of innovation in growth.

But because other elements of proposed innovation activities — such as projected ROI, methods, targets, and prospective results – are vague and ambiguous.

Solutions:

  • Align your business goals with your innovation strategies. It not only adds business value to your innovative output. It also secures backing from the management as it also meets business objectives.
  • Be very clear on your innovation plans and execution methods. Clearly define every part of the innovation process, particularly your expected results and outcomes. This communicates confidence and indicates superior knowledge on the matter at hand.
  • While innovation ideas should not always be prioritized according to their earning potential, it is an essential factor for executives to consider upon deciding to support an innovation endeavor. Make sure that your concept has a strong economic impact.

6. Resistance to change

People often say that change is constant. But sometimes, humans have this natural tendency to be afraid of change, especially big ones. However, in business, to accomplish progress, it is necessary to embrace change.

The resistance of many employees to the emergence of various resources, such as manufacturing machinery or new complicated plans, updated procedures, or new disruptive theories, has well-founded causes.

Employees, for example, maybe resistant to this because they are concerned that changes would make them obsolete. Resistance can also stem from the fear of the unknown when the learning process is seen to be excessively difficult.

Solutions:

  • Misunderstandings regarding the change you wish to implement may contribute to the impression. Educate your employees how this innovation can help you as an organization and how it can help them perform their tasks better.
  • Emphasize the benefits that you can all get in implementing your innovation initiatives. Change their fear of the unknown into the feeling of excitement in implementing it. Moreover, highlight the fact that you will be there with them every step of the way.
  • Walk them through all the phases of your innovation plans so they’d know what to do to help you out. Ask for their opinions if possible, so they can see that this ‘change’ is an inclusive journey.

7. Lack of internal and external collaboration

Internal and external collaboration is essential in the generation of novel ideas. Collaboration within departments — and even with customers — can quickly fix difficulties with new ideas that have the potential to alter your industry.

Furthermore, by obtaining suggestions from diverse groups of individuals, a wide range of viewpoints may be considered in enhancing or developing product and service lines.

Different approaches are used, so every risk associated with a certain concept is examined, resulting in a sequence of evidence-based decisions that might ensure a smooth execution phase.

Solutions:

  • Reach out to your customers. Let them know that their ideas and feedback regarding your products and services are valued and that these insights aid in delivering the value that they should be receiving for the confidence they’ve placed in your business.
  • Ask the right questions for both customers and employees. Create questions that encourage innovative thinking. When responses are provided, entertain and discuss them.
  • Incentivize marketable ideas. Hold a hackathon or conduct any innovation challenge that is open for both your customers and the organization. Encourage them to work in teams to promote collaboration.

8. Difficulty in transitioning from one phase to the next

Given that the innovation team is composed of different people with diverse ideas, this could potentially become a problem as their opposing views could affect their way of working towards an accessible and meaningful output. This could potentially affect them in the long run.

In addition, with limited resources, managing the movement of an innovation project from one stage of development to the next can be difficult as it involves a conscious effort on straightforwardness and structure.

This ensures that the innovation can be effectively translated at the next level of the process without compromising quality.

Solutions:

  • Developing a coherent innovation plan is critical for the seamless execution of projects. An innovation strategy directs the course of innovation as well as its practical execution. Without one, efforts to innovate risk becoming misaligned.
  • Risks should be assessed ahead of time. Determine what may possibly go wrong at each stage of the process and devise countermeasures to assure its continuance.
  • Adopt a ‘test and learn’ strategy. Treat each step as a learning opportunity so that you don’t see any difficulties in shifting as a sign of failure. However, be cautious about this as it might get costly if not executed on a limited scale.

9. Incorrect innovation KPIs

Innovation is a critical process for an organization’s existence, and it may necessitate the use of business resources, as well as energy, effort, and time. It must be measured on a regular basis in order to assess development in a proactive manner.

Measuring innovation is critical to its ongoing success. However, traditional KPIs, like sales volume or income, may not provide your firm with the best insight into innovation performance.

As not everything in innovation can be accurately quantified, it is critical for businesses to identify appropriate measurements for evaluating certain elements of innovation.

Solutions:

  • In order to properly measure innovation, include both results and conditions for success in your innovation KPI scorecard. Results-based metrics focus on product metrics, whereas conditions for success include strategy, structures, capabilities, and culture.
  • You obtain a complete collection of indicators that address important determinants of innovation success by grouping similar measures, merging input and output data, and classifying associated factors.
  • To make things simpler, you may utilize an innovation dashboard to assist in the creation of reports based on integrated data sources and key performance metrics.

10. Futile innovation toolbox

Without access to powerful innovation tools, it’s impossible to manage innovation and keep track of your innovation initiatives in today’s highly competitive business environment.

Because most innovation tools have limited capabilities, businesses may wind up devoting large efforts to finding innovation tools that give merely basic functionalities rather than a competitive edge.

As a result, innovation is slowed down as every tool takes time to learn, manage, and control. The company’s innovation toolbox is also made up of too many innovation tools that do not work well together, granting how one’s features may not be integrated with the next.

Solutions:

  • Choose an innovation software that can help you with every step of the innovation process — one that ties every aspect of innovation together, like Accept Mission.
  • Select an innovation software that allows real-time collaboration from ideation to implementation for seamless execution of innovation projects.
  • Create an innovation toolbox that matches your needs.

Awareness is the key

The best way of solving problems always starts with being aware that they actually exist in the first place.

You will only be able to overcome them if you know that they’re there. A thorough evaluation of your innovation process can help you identify these issues.

Meet with your team and discuss with them what solutions you can employ to effectively solve them.

Begin accumulating the greatest ideas for overcoming your innovation issues. Read on our top ten tips for organizing successful innovation campaigns to discover the best approach in collecting and selecting ideas from your target audience.

Published On: March 22nd, 2022Categories: Innovation management

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