Innovation plays a major role in an organization’s growth and success.

For this reason, every business needs to make innovation a primary concern. However, just like any other factor that contributes to the development of various brands, innovation comes with risks and challenges.

In this article, you will learn some of the most common issues that businesses face in terms of innovation.

Let’s start.

1. Lack of innovation strategy

Nowadays, most innovative projects that organizations produce seem to have begun haphazardly as it starts to roll without any defined approach to follow. In reality, these projects often come with minimal risks and costs to implement.

These are the types of activities that companies launch to stimulate the attention of the senior management to obtain the necessary backings and endorsements for larger initiatives, which is where the difficulty lies.

Approaching it this way can get you started. But because these projects aren’t often directly linked to the organization’s objectives, resources for innovation activities are put to waste.

Hence, creating a coherent innovation plan and strategy is pivotal in determining the path and execution of innovation projects. Without it, an organization’s innovation initiatives will likely end up flopping.

2. Absence of collaboration within the organization

Because everyone contributes a unique set of skills and expertise to the table, collaboration has the potential to drive innovation in the workplace. Combining different knowledge and abilities, as well as embracing disparities in backgrounds, results in the emergence of new ideas.

Although many organizations understand the value of collaboration, many unresolved barriers prevent it from taking place. Some of these are workplace layouts and management styles.

  • Workplace layout: A traditional office design impedes collaboration as it separates employees from one another through partitions and cubicles. However, managers can easily resolve this by suggesting open floor plans or gathering employees for brainstorming sessions, which would enable them to freely hold uninterrupted discussions and share ideas with one another.
  • Management style: An autocratic management style impedes workplace collaboration by creating an atmosphere that does not welcome the suggestions and ideas of others. Entrepreneurs must implement a culture of innovation that values healthy communication and discussion of concepts within the organization.

By the way, we recently published an ebook on how to engage employees. If you need more help in this department, grab a copy of the ebook today on our website completely free of charge.

3. Inadequate customer connection

Enhancing your organizational performance involves innovations that apply a framework of customer engagement at an early stage of the innovation effort.

A business with this structure drives energy, manpower, and resources in addressing customer problems and providing a commercial solution that could generate loyalty and income.

However, establishing this framework does not mean restricting creative juices. Rather, it entails ensuring that the innovation is responsive to consumer demands and is flexible enough to adapt to future trends and evolving customer needs.

In the end, listening with empathy and emotional intelligence allows you to genuinely meet a customer’s requirements — a condition that often determines whether or not that consumer purchases your product.

4. Not measuring innovation progress

You cannot improve what you do not measure.

Hence,  innovation must be measured and benchmarked for businesses to optimize it over time. Thorough evaluation, coupled with further research, will help shape important decisions concerning innovation activities.

However, traditional performance indicators, such as sales volume or income, may not provide the most accurate picture of performance for your company at all times. Because of this, brands may opt for the following instead:

  • Track the number of new ideas created in a certain period
  • Determine the percentage of time spent on innovation
  • Establish the ROI of innovation-related activities  

Long-term success in your business requires a commitment to innovation. It’s critical to be aware of and plan for these obstacles before launching an innovation program. And more importantly, its progress must be tracked and measured for improvements.

In the end, listening with empathy and emotional intelligence allows you to genuinely meet a customer’s requirements — a condition that often determines whether or not that consumer purchases your product.

5. Stagnant innovation engine

It’s tough to get innovative items to the market faster than the competition. And it gets even more difficult as time passes by.

Because of these, many businesses struggle, particularly when it comes to integrating ideas into a constant stream of lucrative breakthroughs that provide actual value to customers.

Internal R&D departments, joint efforts with suppliers, external financing options, and open-market intellectual property purchases are all areas where companies invest significant money.

And if this is the case, that means that your innovation engine might be somehow restricted due to the procedures, management strategies, and culture of the business.

When improved, these factors can bring great goods to the market or even develop breakthrough products, changes, concepts, services, and technologies within the next few years.

To ensure that your innovation engine continually moves forward, you may:

  • Develop a thorough innovation plan
  • Modify methods of management and leadership to resolve fundamentally distinct problems in upstream and downstream R&D
  • Define an upstream culture that embraces errors, with the capacity to learn from setbacks and the flexibility to pivot rapidly to avoid dead ends and lost resources

6. Focusing on the solution instead of the problem

People usually search for solutions by concentrating on the issues at hand. However, even if this approach is easier, it may not be the most effective method for identifying long-term answers.

In fact, simply focusing on the positive consequences of addressing your problem may drive your brain to develop answers in novel ways.

In addition, issues are distinct. There are different factors that contribute to them. So to identify effective ways of solving them, it would help for companies to:

  • Determine the root causes of risks and problems
  • Understand how certain factors like time, environment, and stakeholders can help remedy the situation or improve them in a certain way
  • Consider various possibilities in viewing problems
  • Be aware of the times when the issue does not arise and look for early indicators of a solution

Problem-solving is an important aspect of organizational effectiveness and continuous process improvement. The goal is to get to the root of an issue, rather than only looking at the symptoms or the obvious reasons.

7. No uniform way of working

A unified way of working encourages leaders and employees to approach innovation with a method that merges strengths, abilities, synergies, and expertise. This way, their strategy becomes anchored on a shared, vibrant culture.

Moreover, when an organization adopts a positive, united front in resolving challenges, employees feel more connected to the company’s values and objectives. A stronger sense of belonging also results in higher productivity.

On the technical side, performance and outcomes become aligned. Leadership and practical support come hand in hand in developing progressive environments.

Lastly, despite the absence of a one size fits all approach, workable themes create a clear innovation path that defines the role of each employee in the innovation process. As a result, expectations are clearly established and delivered by every member of the innovation team.

8. Lack of a good selection process

Many businesses lack a clear method for choosing or simply assessing ideas. Systematic innovation requires a defined set of criteria for evaluating ideas, as well as adequately trained personnel and other innovation experts on the selection team.

Companies must sift, sort, reject, encourage, prioritize, and finally signal ideas to move forward. 

In addition, it takes 300 ideas to find one or two that are worth pursuing. For this reason, feasible and beneficial concepts for the organization must be selected.

Most businesses never get around defining the types of ideas they’re searching for, so their selection process becomes hazy.  Without it, every proposal has equal worth, resulting in bottlenecks and resource conflicts.

Setting up a selection process doesn’t ensure you’ll come up with game-changing ideas. It will, however, decrease thought stagnation and cause you to choose the most vital items and concentrate on executing them rigorously.

9. Hunger for radical and disruptive innovation

Failing to conduct business model innovation appropriately leads to non-paying consumers. You have to create prototypes and trial runs, and sketch plans out with the key stakeholders of the company for particular value exchanges.

You should fill in the specifics for each individual integration, including all of the various monetization possibilities. Afterwards, you may actively look at your vital business model assumptions to design relevant tests in verifying your hypothesis.

Disrupt your business model this way, rather than skipping certain stages and jumping right to the endpoint — hoping your invention upsets the market.

Remember that innovation is not limited to creating breakthrough products and services or even technologies. It focuses on adding value to your organization and its customers. It may also mean implementing certain changes that can improve your company’s processes.

10. Lack of innovation culture

Innovation leaders have the responsibility of holding creative individuals liable for the organization’s goals, prime target areas, key competencies, and stakeholder obligations.

Granting innovation teams the freedom to carry out their duties in accordance with those boundaries will help them explore their innovative side even further. Budget and timeline obsessiveness will kill ideas before they get off the ground.

You can trust your members to make their resources worthwhile in producing viable products, concepts, and services. These things make up a culture of innovation that welcomes the ideas of every member regardless of differences.

In effect, employees feel motivated to take their tasks and roles seriously. They’ll come to realize how much the organization values their insights. And in turn, they will feel even more determined to showcase their strengths and expertise in carrying out innovation activities.

If you find most of these issues hard to solve in your own organization, you may have to go back to basics. Feel free to download our innovation ebook where we discuss the secrets of developing an innovative organization.