Wednesday, January 11, 2012


In the recent past, for all good reasons, there were a lot of dicussions that I happened to be on where Innovation was a term that was coming across as the most important thing. I do not deny it and for an organization that is as huge as mine, innovation should be the bare minimum we have to have in us.

However, when I heard something like let us start innovating, bring people together to innovate, I was a bit amused.

Is Innovation so simple? Can I bring in a few people together and say Innovate and they start doing that. I mean not just straight away, but say within an years time can they innovate? I bet no. Because, there is something called lateral thinking which is very important in any innovation as is the ability to have crazy ideas. People have to have it in them to be innovative. It needs a lot of passion, commitment, courage, hard work and ability to perservere as the pressure of time will always be there.

To me, Innovation can neither be a choice nor a force. I cannot, one day, stand up and say from today on I'll be an innovator, nor my boss can come and say, come on Raj you will have to be an innovator and I feel very stupid to even think that from next day onwards I shall start doing things differently.

Innovation is not just doing things differently. It is also doing different things. It requires will to change the way of life. It needs support. It can be in any form or department of the organization. It can be anything technical, operational and a lot of times even in management.

Innovation has to be a culture. It has to be in the DNA of a person and in the larger context, should also be in the DNA of the organization. As always, culture can only be fostered and not forced. We will have to give and take time to bring in the culture or even change or nuture this culture.

And in today's world, with everyone talking about time and cost (not price) it is not easy for someone to just innovate as he/she will need time and space to even think, then execute, test and have the fruits of the results.

Looking back, I know I have a few things that I have innovated at work and I think it helped. I just have to document them and may be share it with larger audience.

So in essence, innovation can never be forced upon. It can be fostered by instilling passion within the organizaation to be different and think differently.

- Raj.


Anand V said...

Good point. I agree with you fully in the sense:
- Innovation is very difficult to be achieved in group. It has to be generated as a single person's idea and can be refined in the group. This is my belief.
- Currently most organizations in India make a mockery of Innovation, saying it is "Innovation month" etc which again is absurd.
- Lastly it is the need or the problem faced by a person that enables him (may be stimualtes the DNA) to come up with a different idea/solution to counter the problem

Senthilkumar P said...

Nice Blog. Appreciate for being candid. I too find it odd when i see some organizations set Innovation as a target in the Annual appraisal goals for resources.

Innovations come when there is a tendency to break/rebel against traditional conventions/steriotypes (In other words the person should have some rebel tendencies). Innovations come from necessity/problem statements thought to be impossible/tough to resolve. The choice one has when it is forced upon him/her is to look around for problem statements and get support from the leadership to attempt and resolve the problems unconventionally / radically. If the leadership is not willing to support radical ideas then they loose the right to demand innovation. - best Regards, Senthil Periyaswamy