Innovation is essential for businesses to grow and remain relevant in today’s ever-changing marketplace.
However, innovation can also be a major source of frustration for companies, as it can be difficult to encourage and sustain within an organization. Furthermore, it also comes with challenges that take a while to overcome.
In this article, we will explore the top five biggest challenges in innovation, and offer some suggestions on how to solve them.
Why it’s important to spot which challenges plague your business
Finding and resolving the problems plaguing your business can significantly benefit the company and its employees.
The earlier you can fix organizational issues, the sooner you can make your office a healthy workplace and devote more time and resources to other business-related concerns.
When it comes to innovation, there are three major reasons why it’s important to identify which challenges affect your business:
If you don’t know what your problems are, you can never solve them.
Figure out what difficulties are holding the company back from progressing. Once you’ve found them, focus on fixing those issues. Addressing these problems effectively can make a noticeable difference that will lead to results.
However, some problems are just too big or complex to solve alone. You will need to rally your employees together to come up with a plan to solve whatever challenges you face.
This means that innovation must come from the top down, with company leaders setting an example and empowering their employees to think outside the box.
The problems that plague your business today can be indicators of deeper, more serious organizational issues tomorrow.
Every major problem starts with what seems to be a minor inconvenience. By spotting which challenges plague your business today, you can prevent them from snowballing into bigger, more difficult-to-solve problems tomorrow.
You need to have a process for tracking and investigating every issue that arises, no matter how minor it may seem.
This includes having protocols for dealing with complaints and suggestions from employees, as well as establishing channels for reporting problems. Creating this type of system can be daunting, but it’s worth every effort.
Not only will it help you identify and solve the biggest problems you have. It will also make your office a more productive and positive workplace.
Knowing what challenges are affecting you today can help you reassess your company’s innovation efforts.
If these problems are recurring, then it might be the perfect time for you to change your approach.
Once you notice that the steps you are taking today aren’t making much progress, study the problem harder and brainstorm other potential solutions that will.
Remember, to innovate and grow your business, you need to be able to identify and overcome the challenges that are hindering your progress.
What are the biggest challenges in innovation?
Here are the top five biggest challenges in innovation and how to overcome them:
1. Resources to execute
Your innovation resources refer to anything that the organization can use to achieve its goals. These assets include people, time, and money. However, these resources can be problematic in various ways.
Always the same people who work on innovation
If you’re always asking the same people to work on innovation, they may eventually become overburdened and less effective. This is because they’re not given the chance to recharge and refresh their creativity.
As a result, it’s important to mix things up and allow different employees to take on the challenge of innovation. This will help keep everyone engaged and excited about the process.
Moreover, encourage your employees to develop an innovative mindset by assigning them to work on various innovation projects. Build a clear innovation plan along with your trained and experienced innovators. Let the others sit in, learn, and observe.
In addition, create a rule to train colleagues and do innovations. This way, you will be able to scale not only the innovators’ group but also your innovation efforts in general.
Business is not participating in innovation
Sometimes, a business is not participating in innovation because some people see it as too risky, while others do not understand its value.
In times like these, it’s important for company leaders to be champions of innovation and lead by example.
Show them how innovation can benefit the business and the bottom line. Share case studies and stories of businesses that have benefited from taking risks and being innovative.
Help them see how innovation can help the business grow and be more successful.
Interesting innovation projects but no people who can follow up
A common challenge in innovation is having interesting projects but having no one to follow up on them.
This happens when the people who are responsible for executing the project are not the ones who are actually behind the idea that brought that project to life in the first place.
This problem can lead to a lot of wasted time and effort, as well as frustration on the part of everyone involved.
In order to avoid this, it’s important to have a clear plan on how the project will be executed and who will be responsible for each step. This step includes assigning specific tasks and deadlines, as well as creating a timeline for the entire project.
It’s also important to make sure that everyone involved is aware of such significant details and clearly understands what their role is in the entire process.
Have them follow up on the innovation projects they’ve started until they are completed successfully.
Innovation projects are on top of current work
Innovation projects are often seen as something on top of the organization’s current work instead of being part of it. This process is often seen as something that’s extra or non-essential to the business. Hence, it’s often underfunded and understaffed.
This is the reason why it is necessary to integrate innovation into the core of the business. It has to be seen as a priority, so everyone should be involved in the process from the top down.
No money for hiring experts or technology
It can be expensive to hire innovation experts or buy any related technology.
However, one ultimate way to overcome this setback is to look for free or low-cost resources. There are many online resources that can be helpful, particularly articles, blog posts, and tutorials.
There are also plenty of free and low-cost tools that can be used for innovation projects, such as open source innovation software or any free and low-cost alternative to expensive tools.
2. Engagement of the business owner
The engagement of the business owner or decision-maker is another common challenge in innovation. This is because they are the ones who need to sign off on the project and give it the green light.
Often, they are not as involved in the day-to-day operations of the business and may not be as up-to-date on the latest trends. As a result, they may not be that supportive of the company’s innovation projects.
No engagement and support hinders the innovation efforts in the company
In order to get the business owner or decision-maker on board, it’s important to show them how the project will benefit the business. Share with them the goals of the project and how it will help the business grow.
Also, be sure to keep them updated on the progress and get their feedback along the way. This way, they’ll be more likely to see the value in the project and give their support.
3. Lack of a system
Another challenge in innovation is the lack of a system that tracks progress, the lack of innovation strategies, and the lack of a strong innovation culture.
Without a proper system in place, it can be difficult to know whether the project is on track or if there are any problems that need to be addressed right away. Likewise, the lack of innovation strategies creates unclear directions, objectives, and priorities.
To overcome this, it’s important to develop a clear system along with specific milestones. That way, you can measure the impacts of your innovation projects.
Plus, by establishing good innovation strategies and strong innovation culture, you can ensure that every stage of the innovation process is done efficiently.
Use some tools that can help you keep an eye on your breakthroughs and setbacks, or anything that could detect potential issues.
4. Decision making
Making decisions is often one of the most difficult parts of innovation. This is because there are often many different stakeholders involved in the process. Each person may have their own opinion on the best course of action.
As a result, it can be difficult to come to a consensus. Once this happens, the entire innovation process slows down. Plus, there may be disagreements on what direction the project should take.
Hence, creating a clear roadmap for every innovation project will help speed up the decision-making process and establish where these efforts are truly headed.
Look for innovation software that allows any form of voting and consensus-building, like Accept Mission. Set deadlines for each stage of the project to promote awareness of how much time is left to make a decision.
5. Strategic alignment
The final challenge is ensuring that innovation is aligned with the overall strategy of the business.
This can be difficult because innovation often happens outside of normal day-to-day operations. Hence, it can be hard to see how it fits into the big picture.
This is the reason why you should discuss how innovation will fit into your business strategy. Everyone in the company has to be aware of the goals and objectives of the business.
Plus, they need to know how their work will contribute to the success of the company. Only then can they start to see how innovation can actually help the company achieve success, growth, and development.
Other minor challenges that hinder innovation
Unempowered innovation teams
The innovation team is often given a lot of responsibility but not enough authority to voice out their suggestions or contribute to the decision-making process of the project. Such restrictions lead to frustration and a lack of trust.
As a result, teams may not be able to implement their ideas or feel motivated to come up with new ones.
Hence, involve your innovation team in the entire process and get their input before making decisions that can affect the progress of the project. Make everyone feel heard and collaborate with them.
Impractical expectations for innovation
Some businesses have unrealistic expectations for innovation. They expect it to happen overnight and produce results that are just as immediate.
However, in reality, this is often not the case. Innovation takes time, and results may not be immediately apparent.
Set realistic expectations for innovation. That way, you won’t be disappointed if the results don’t happen as quickly as you want them to. Additionally, it’s important to remember that innovation is a journey, not a destination.
The goal is to continuously move forward and make progress, even if it’s slow.
Resistance to change
There will always be resistance to change, especially when it comes to innovation. People are creatures of habit. They’re used to doing things a certain way and may not be open to new ideas.
This is why it’s crucial to educate people on why change is necessary. Show them how the new innovation will benefit them and the company as a whole. Once they understand the importance of change, they’ll be more likely to accept it.
Futile innovation toolbox
A lot of businesses around the world invest in innovative tools and resources yet fail to see any results. And it could be because they’re not using the right tools for their needs.
When choosing innovation tools, it’s important to first assess the needs of your business, like:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- What are your goals?
Once you have a clear understanding of these things, you’ll be able to choose the appropriate tools that can help you reach those goals. Investing in the wrong tools can waste time and money, so it’s important to be strategic about it.
Overcoming innovation challenges
Innovation is essential for businesses to grow and stay competitive. However, there are a few challenges that can hinder innovation. The good news is that there are ways to overcome these challenges.
By being aware of them and taking the necessary steps to address them, you’ll be on your way to a more innovative company.
Encourage a culture of innovation by sharing your company’s vision and values with your employees. Let them know that you’re open to new ideas and that you value their input.
Empower them to come up with their own ideas and share them with you. Finally, show them that you’re willing to take risks and try.
Brainstorm on overcoming your innovation issues today. Download our free innovation ebook now and discover the best approach to solving your innovation problems.