Perfect Storm for Innovation

As technology innovation causing the rest of the world to speed up, organizations of all shapes and sizes are seeking the magic formula for innovation. They are looking for ways to be more innovative, stay ahead of the competition, keep customers engaged, and be effective in accomplishing their mission. According to Davila et al (2012), there are 7 essential elements of innovation.

  1. Strong leadership is essential to innovation efforts in order to create and maintain an organizational culture that is motivated, supportive, and rewarding to innovation activities. This begins with the clear communication of the leader regarding strategy, innovation direction, and portfolio decisions.
  1. Innovation must be a part of the organization’s culture that is sought after and intentionally worked towards. Individuals have to be allowed the necessary time to be creative, try new things, and be allowed to fail (Davila et al., 2012).
  1. Clarity on how much innovation is necessary to remain successful without taxing organizational members beyond their capacities. It will need to be determined what types of innovation are needed in order to fulfill the strategy of the organization.
  1. Manage the tension between creativity and value capture in order to insure the organization doesn’t fall into endless creative cycles without positive outcomes for the organization’s strategic purposes. This will also ensure that creativity is a priority and not completely ignored.
  1. Minimize the impact of organizational antibodies who will combat change on any level and seek to remain in a comfortable existence of status quo.
  1. Network with individuals inside and outside the organization who can stimulate innovative ideas and pool resources for common goals and initiatives.
  1. Develop a clear, accurate set of metrics and rewards. This allows for positive reinforcement in the innovation process.

If these are all present, but innovation isn’t happening, how can leaders spark innovation?


Berkun, S. (2010). The myths of innovation (1. updated and expanded pbk. ed). Beijing: O’Reilly.

Davila, T., Epstein, M. J., & Shelton, R. D. (2013). Making innovation work: how to manage it, measure it, and profit from it (Updated ed). Upper Saddle River, N.J: FT Press.

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