As the global marketplace becomes increasingly competitive and customer demand for new and frequently updated products and services continues to grow, the need for innovation has never been clearer. Companies must become what author Jeffrey Phillips calls, "relentless innovators," making innovation not only a priority, but an integral part of their business models, or risk being overtaken and surpassed by their competitors. The challenge, of course, is to overcome the misconceptions surrounding innovation with a goal of making innovation "...a cultural phenomenon which can be enhanced or inhibited by leaders, culture, and strategy."
Phillips, who has spent the past 10 years leading OVO Innovation's work with Fortune 500 and midsized firms in North America, Europe, and Asia, has written a book that is at once persuasive and practical. While the need for innovation and its benefits is clear, says Phillips, the road to articulating and implementing a successful innovation strategy is not. The confusion is due, in part, to what he calls the "Mythology of Innovation." In Chapters 1 and 2 he systematically debunks those myths and identifies the real barriers to innovation - the perception that innovation is a threat to the status quo, to the existing business models and strategies that typically focus on scaling up, getting a sizeable market share, and generating profits. As a result, "says Phillips, "innovation capabilities remain a part of the lore of many firms, but those references and stories seem misplaced in an era of high efficiency, cost-cutting, and outsourcing."
The solution Phillips proposes is simple - make innovation part of a company's fundamental approach to doing business. However, there are many reasons firms can't sustain innovation. These include everything from a "project" rather than "capability" mindset to fear of failure, lack of resources, and uncertain support from executives. Each of these barriers and concerns is dissected and discussed with a clear and practical solution outlined by Phillips.
Relentless innovation requires a balance between efficiency and innovation. In this model, innovation is seen as "business as usual," meaning it is built into the framework of how the company operates. Chapters 7, 8 and 9 give straightforward, detailed approaches to creating that framework so that "everyone - executives, staff and middle managers - arrive at work expecting to innovate and well versed in the tools, processes, and methods of innovation." Phillips also does a good job of anticipating and addressing the typical questions, objections and stumbling blocks most firms encounter as they begin to make innovation part of their culture.
Phillips concludes with a summary of what to expect when a company's operating model shifts to a balance between efficiency and innovation. In short, "everything changes," he says. The good news is that Phillips' comprehensive description of what is necessary for a firm to become a relentless innovator makes the process seem not only possible but a positive experience as well. Relentless Innovation is both a good read and an invaluable tool for helping organizations achieve innovation, remain viable and competitive, while optimizing financial success. A must read for any company, small or large that is seeking to make innovation a part of its core operating strategy.
Phillips' book wil be available at this event and he will be signing copies for attendees.
Co produced with mobium creative group