Thursday, January 27, 2011

6 Obstacles to Innovation

A major objective of our N-of-8 technique is to systematically address the barriers to brand innovation.

The N-of-8 tool is designed to address the issues that often get in the way of new thinking for new product development, new communication messages, and new service enhancements.  Overcoming these obstacles is vital to the discussion and dissemination of new ideas and practices.

We avoid going down “blind alleys” by making innovation research and development more deliberate and productive. We don’t waste resources by not sharing “common pools” of knowledge.   We rise above international differences by promoting global policies for innovation.  We solve for the lack of standards by creating harmony of innovation development techniques. We expose the hidden agendas of pet projects by putting greater light on brand innovations that address the pressing needs of our customers in health, science, and technology.

In my upcoming book, N-of-8, I dedicated a chapter on delineating six categories of obstacles to innovation.  By looking at the issues that confront us, we can begin to better address them.  Along the way, I also share how N-of-8 can contribute to overcoming these blocks.

The six categories of innovation obstacles reviewed are:
  • Process & procedures – “This is the way it’s always been done”
  • Practical limitations – “We don’t have the time, staff, budget, etc. to do that”
  • Information deficit – “We haven’t really done our homework on that”
  • Personal conflicts – “We aren’t going to do it just because she wants to”
  • Lack of a back-up plan –  “If we do that and it doesn’t work, then what?”
  • Void of expert leadership – “We can’t act on that until somebody big gives it the okay”
In the coming week, I'll take a look at each of these six obstacles with a view towards creating innovation environments – beyond an initiative, or training program, or other cookie-cutter solutions. We’ll look at what is needed for brand managers to become brand innovators.  Because you’ll recognize how innovation really works and have the skills to drive it in your own team, department, or company.

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