Innovation maturity – part of organisational DNA (2)

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Ilie Dragan Oxford Inovation Organisational DNA

In fact determining the maturity of an organization in terms of innovation allows management to move fast and re-balance the organization in such a way that the organization quickly responds to the changes and challenges in the market. Of course, not all the companies will behave exactly the same way, even in a specific industry. Innovation as a capability, is more dependent on the organization’s characteristics and less dependent on the external conditions. Internal and external behavior of an organization represents the strategy that organizations choose to develop and implement. Strategy represents a set of actions (Porter, 1996) a company performs or doesn’t perform in relationship with external and internal environment at a certain moment in time. Any actions a company is performing is part of a process, which is well or not well defined. We conclude that the behavior of an organization is a sum of processes, aligned or not aligned, in order to relate with internal and external environment for achieving some objectives. One of the processes performed (or not performed) by the organization is the innovation process. The role and impact of innovation on strategy differs from one company to another, depending on organization capabilities and organization objectives. Is really innovation important for all companies? For scholars who define innovation from only a market or industry point of view, innovation could be important only for leaders of the market and companies which choose to be innovative. There is another approach which defined innovation from an organizational point of view. This is more close to Schumpeter (1939) definition of innovation, who suggested that economic value added by innovation should be seen through ”companies’ eyes”; even when we are talking about two companies using the same technology, due to different implementation and operation of that technology, we can say that both companies are innovative, since they use same technology in different ways, producing different economic values. From this view each time a company improves or operates different internally (new process, new talents, new products) or externally (new markets, new clients), producing economic value, we can talk about innovation. From this perspective, innovation could be seen as a permanent adaptation to internal and external conditions. This need for flexibility becomes critical to all companies even if they are leaders or followers in a specific market. It will be of great importance, for any manager to know what he/she should do in his/her organization, in order to introduce and maintain an innovation status, which will help the company to survive or grow. This perspective could explain why in the same industry or market we met various models of innovative companies: different in what they are doing or different in how they are doing. The rankings published each year by Forbes[1] regarding the most innovative companies in the world reveals multiple sources of innovation from technology to people, from products to processes. When we look for characteristics of innovative companies we should search organization capabilities of any type, not limited to R&D or product development. We should research within the entire organization for every little detail, which can make the difference and determine innovation, adaptation, anticipation or flexibility.

[1] http://www.forbes.com/special-features/innovative-companies.html

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