The hard truth is—ahem—maybe your company isn’t getting enough good ideas because you’re not as good as you think you are at recognizing a good idea when you get one.
Tested systems work great when the technology is well established, when the market is stable, when the business environment doesn’t change. But for many businesses today none of those things are true. Technology is advancing. Markets fluctuate. Customer expectations are constantly evolving. In such a dynamic environment, a tested system may not only fail, it may even be counterproductive. The path to success in a fast changing environment is to become more flexible and adaptable, finding fresh insights and approaches, not clinging to what used to work.
In your business, are you trusting people to make good independent decisions—and providing the requisite resources to support those decisions? Are you willing to loosen up on command and control in order to foster collaboration and flexibility? Do you encourage an ongoing dialogue over how to best achieve your objectives? The degree to which you do those things will to a great degree determine your ability to innovate.
Here’s an interesting question: If your company is really responding to customer needs and not merely pushing product, what has changed upstream from your sales force to enable that to happen? If you’re not making substantive changes in your products or services, can you honestly say that you’re responding to your customers?