Why is it difficult to gain acceptance of innovations in some companies? Describe the characteristics of organisations or innovations that may hinder acceptance. What can be done to build the support of those needed to make an innovation effective? Discuss these questions using case examples to support your arguments.
This essay examines the characteristics of organisations and the effects on innovations. It then discusses the supports required for generating effective innovations within such organisations.
Established organisations are often known for its bureaucratic structure and administration processes. Innovation, however, is best nurtured in an environment that provides relative autonomy and independence to the team that aim to solve problems or generate changes for the organisation. The complex hierarchy in large organisations often constrain individuals from generating revolutionary changes and further communicating across the whole network. In addition, the pattern of work have long been established in these firms that the employees have adapted to set way of proceeding and often are less likely to seek alternative means. This is often influenced by strong company culture. Pressure for uniformity can block innovation and the openness to venture into new methodologies and ideas. Nowadays many established companies such as P&G emphases on strong leadership and believe that it is the key to success and sustainability in today's competitive market. However strong leadership can lead to extreme "group think", in which the team converge to the dominating view and discourage diversity in opinions. Tushman's change equation (D.V.P > C) illustrates the important factors that resist change in organisations and the condition under which change takes place. It is often the case in large organisations that they are generally satisfied with the current status and lack motivation for change. Besides, they are usually risk adverse, weary of the costs to the potential changes (e.g. opportunity cost, re-training cost, reputation). Unlike small enterprises who are eager to establish their position in the market and continually adapt their strategy to improve their performance, the more established ones often exert more resistance towards innovation.
Since innovation often occurs in a group-working situation, it is essential to build effective teams. A good team often consists of a pool of expertise and skills across a spectrum of functional areas, providing multiple perspectives that lead to lots of possibilities for resolving a problem. However in order to gain positive benefits from resources, effective leadership is crucial to bind the talents and orient team efforts in the desired direction that will yield beneficial outputs for the organisation. Managers should match the right mix of people with the suitable project that maximises the combination of competences. A shared vision should be cultivated within the team to ensure all members concentrate their efforts on achieving a common goal that deeply matter to them. Although the project team sit within the organisation structure and connect to several departments, a certain degree of autonomy should be given to the team so that their creativity is not restricted by corporate framework and are free to pursue their own means of work. Managers or team leaders should stimulate team creativity using the various creativity techniques such as "brainstorming", "attribute association", and "five whys". Moreover, they should provide timely and appropriate supervisory encouragement to individuals as well as the team s a whole to maintain high level of commitment. The organisation should also provide easy access to relevant information for the project (e.g. time and finance). The right work environment also contributes tot the success of projects - employees are more likely to generate creative ideas in a permissive, light-hearted and non-judgemental atmosphere. Last but not least, a high quality implementation plan guarantees the innovations generated are effectively retained within the organisation.
In summary, the characteristics of established organisations determine the strong resistance against innovations. Employees in such organisations often lack motivations for generating change and are constrained by corporate framework. However effective innovations can be made possible provided appropriate supports are built within the organisation. Among the various courses suggested in previous arguments, good leadership and functioning team are often the first to be considered in many business cases.