From our experience with The Brainzooming Group and ongoing business innovation research, there are fairly common situations blocking business innovations across companies, irrespective of corporate culture. Not all ten of these challenges to business innovation in organizations exist everywhere, but the presence of just a couple of innovation barriers within a corporate culture will scuttle even modest dreams of implementing business innovations expected to create value for customers.

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The good news is none of these ten business innovation barriers are insurmountable. As a result it's important to understand what business innovation challenge issues you face in your organization. With that understanding, you can take appropriate change management steps to navigate each innovation challenge, enhance your corporate culture, and get business innovation going. That's what "Taking the No Out of InNOvation" is all about doing:

1. NO Knack for Disruptive Innovation

There simply isn't an orientation toward business innovation in your corporate culture. It may be a mature industry, a company that's had success with an intense focus, one that's grown through M&A, or has been burned on previous formal innovation efforts. Whatever the reason, innovative ideas don't appear to be in the company's DNA.

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2. NO Direction

Without a top-level mandate for innovative change management, it's tough for a business innovation-oriented corporate culture to flourish. It could be that innovation is outside the company's vision, there's no upper management champion for disruptive innovation, or a lack of alignment stands in the way of these efforts.

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3. NO Rocking the Boat

There's an unmistakable signal within the corporate culture (whether it's uttered directly by upper management or not): "If it isn't broken, don't mess with it. We're not interested in risk taking; let's just maintain the status quo." These messages make it clear that good things don't await those interested in innovative ideas or disruptive innovation.

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4. NO Talent Pool

The company may have convinced itself the right people aren't in place to make innovative ideas happen. It could be a perceived lack of "creatives" or "outside the box" thinkers. More likely though, this innovation challenge stems from a failure to get people with diverse perspectives together and let them thrive in innovation teams. It's more about diverse talent not working together than not having the right talent for effective innovation teams.

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5. There's NO Tomorrow

This innovation challenge springs from the conviction things will be won or lost in the short term, so there's little need for long term business innovation development. Or it may be there's no patience for protracted realization of opportunities. If a business innovation is going to be pursued, it needs to be developed and start paying out by the next quarter. In a challenging business economic environment, this sentiment becomes more prevalent.

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6. NO Resources

As with the "no tomorrow" innovation challenge, lowered interest in applying resources to business innovation may be more acutely felt during periods of uncertainty and intense change. The absence of specific resources can be broad, including management attention, available time, and investment dollars. Without these vital inputs, innovative ideas often stall or never take off in the first place.

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7. NO Motivation to Innovate

Something's lacking that dampens an internal drive to innovate. It could be an environment that doesn't promote cooperation, no opportunity to receive credit for your effort, or a lack of other meaningful incentives to bring ideas forward and develop them. The net result is that innovation isn't happening as naturally as it might.

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8. NO Process

There are instances where innovation appears to emanate naturally from the corporate culture. Chances are though that it’s been cultivated and developed through an innovation process, even if it’s a relatively small scale and informal one. Without some type of planning and organized innovation process, bureaucracy and innovation challenges in organizations can easily block innovative ideas from coming to fruition.

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9. NO Implementation Success

Innovative ideas and concepts are cool, but only have value ultimately if they lead to successful implementation and deliver benefits for the intended audience. There are various roadblocks to successful implementation, including flaws in how ideas are recommended, prioritized, developed, and marketed to target audiences. With all those potential change management and innovation challenge issues that exist, it’s a wonder anything new actually takes place!

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10. No Measures

It’s difficult to sustain a formal business innovation strategy without metrics in place to report return on investment (ROI), showcase positive improvements, and troubleshoot issues with innovations. Even earlier in the innovation process, the absence of metrics makes identifying and prioritizing opportunities a shot in the dark. Simply put: no metrics = no hope of long term success from innovations.

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All the best to you in addressing the specific NO’s you face standing in the way of innovations your organization is seeking to identify and implement.

If you’d like more information on exploring the personal perspectives you need to approach your whole life more innovatively, you can download an eBook version of “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation.” It’s a great companion on your mission to bring business innovations to life! - Mike Brown


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If you’re facing a challenging organizational situation and are struggling to maintain forward progress because of it, The Brainzooming Group can provide a strategic sounding-board for you. We will apply our strategic thinking and implementation tools on a one-on-one basis to help you create greater organizational success. Email us at or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.