Risk and rewards of innovation, group of people holding idea lightbulbs

The Risk and Reward of Innovation

Well, we’ve about done it.  This year is almost over. 

We know we’re facing more fallout from the pandemic. 

But there is life after COVID-19.  We know that there are vaccines on the way.  Soon.  We are all hoping that COVID will be in our rearview mirror by the end of 2021.

The disruption of COVID-19 meant devastation for some businesses, innovation for others.  58% of restaurants will have closed during 2020.  Approximately 885,000 women left the workforce during COVID compared to 216,000 men due to a loss of childcare.  See more here.  

Business owners have had to scramble to pivot, climb out of the pandemic pitfalls, and then come up with a business continuity plan to recover.  Those that weren’t able to do so, failed.

It’s a case of wishful thinking to believe that your company will thrive by doing the same thing that brought you success in 2019.  Every successful company has had to change in some way to meet the current challenges.

Innovation can become part of your company’s ecosystem – your company’s culture can reward and nurture innovation.  But you, the leader, has to create that ecosystem.

It’s a challenge to nurture and create a culture of innovation.  If you are a creative person, chances are you’re not great at the implementation or the execution of a plan to bring that innovation to life.  If you happen to be a leader whose strengths are systems, processes, and the implications of changes to both, then your strengths are probably not found in imagining the potential of new challenges.

Neither type is bad, or wrong.  Both types of people need the strengths of the other to successfully leverage the potential found in any innovation.  Every diverse viewpoint is value added when assessing the viability of a new product or service.  This process of creating a culture of innovation has an impact on the long term viability of your company.

Here’s what I recommend that my clients do:

  • Create a culture to reward innovation and mitigate impact of disruption.
  • Practice radical transparency throughout the organization to gain the right people in the right seats at the right tables.
  • Gamify where possible, to reward those who look for solutions to historically tolerated “problems”.  
  • Gamify scenario planning and strategic foresight.
  • Cross train and seek out the experiences of diverse viewpoints to solve for “X” in different divisions.
  • Determine incentives that fit each team member and align with the company culture.

Bottom line, innovations – both large and small, are essential to the long term viability of your company.  Don’t wait to change.

Wishing you the very best during this holiday season,

Wendy Dickinson

About the Author

Wendy Dickinson is the founder of Ascend Coaching Solutions LLC, a coaching firm that specializes in working with business owners and executives who plan to expand their leadership capacity as their business grows.

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