4 Barriers to Innovation and How to Knock Them Down

Regardless of what you are trying to achieve—creating a product, being an industry leader or finding a new way to accomplish tasks for effectively—innovation can be a challenge. You may think you’re not creative or you don’t have time to be innovative, but it is something everyone can improve on if they ask the right questions and devote time to it. Innovation is not a process, but a way of thinking that should be infused into everything you do. So, what’s your excuse? You might find it below:

  1. Funding: Lack of financing is challenging for any business process. The payoff can be tremendous and worthwhile, but because of ambiguity, it may be hard to make the financial risk. The project itself costs money and so does the time employees are investing. Consider the following:
    • How far can we get without money?
    • What additional sources of money are there? Are there additional partners we can tap?
    • When do we need money?
    • How much money do we need?
  2. People resources: Be aware of what strengths and opportunities your team possesses in order to determine their contribution to any project. Innovation doesn’t have an on/off switch, so find ways to inspire your team to instill creativity. Ask yourself:
    • Do we have the talent internally?
    • How is our talent currently deployed?
    • Is it worthwhile to redeploy talent?
    • Can we acquire the talent on an interim basis if needed?
  3. Time: When is time not an issue? When it comes to innovation, time is always an excuse. Rather than saying you don’t have time to innovate, ask yourself the following questions and tailor your goals based on your answers:
    • Is the innovation worth the time required?
    • What are the competing claims on time?
    • What is the minimum amount of time required for success?
    • Do we have flexibility in timing?
  4. Risk: Innovation can sound scary—it’s abstract, undefined and unpredictable. Understand how to measure risk and what impact it could have on your organization by asking:
    • How do we measure risk?
    • Do we use appropriate risk measures for innovation?
    • What is the risk of not innovating?
    • How do we measure success?

Answers to the above questions will help you understand the magnitude and practical aspects of innovation in a clear, concise way. The questions are not intended to stifle innovation, but to put practical parameters around your decisions. Evaluate your current processes and see where you can make a difference by adding a pinch of innovation.

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