Innovative India by Parmit Chadha & Radhika Chadha
Innovation in organizations is a topic that everyone talks about but most people have no clue on what it is and how to structure it so that it benefits the organization. Based on a survey conducted on 100+ Indian managers across various sectors and the personal experiences of both the authors, this book tries to look at the gears that can lubricate the cycle of Innovation in an organization.
Authors recommend looking at the three aspects to handle or manage Innovation in the organization. First and foremost being the strategy, where they emphasize that the innovation goals must be linked with the organization strategy or in other words your innovation strategy should be part of your overall organization strategy. If it is not so the innovation program will not be sustainable and will loose its value. Next aspect is the processes, which will work as the enablers of the innovation. Without defined and traceable processes, it is next to impossible to manage innovations through the labyrinth of large organizations. Processes provide the necessary measures to know where the things are vis-à-vis a plan, provide checkpoints for assessment and course correction, review points and reality checks.
The next aspect that they talk about is my favorite one: culture. Though the authors have defined it as the third wheel in their three gear approach, I find this is the one where organizations need to focus the most. The first one is do-able, the second one comes naturally to most established organizations, but it is the culture aspect where they tend to falter. If innovation is not what most people do in the company, it is not in the DNA and when you are trying to make more people innovate, you are essentially trying to change the DNA of the organization and this is easier said than done. In my own experience this is like trying to fly against the wind. In case you are leading such an initiative, you will struggle to get the people who would be willing to take a risk and work with you, you would have to sell hard to get time and resources from the management and set your foot on doing something that has not been done. If only organization could put some effort in making their organizations more innovative culturally, making innovation happen would become simpler.
This is a good book for those responsible for running innovation programs in organizations. The authors have put across a very simple and broad framework that can help people address common issues faced by them. I would have liked some more depth, some more insights from the survey and the vast experience of both the authors, but nonetheless, the books makes a quick and interesting reading. They site quite a few examples from the Indian industry on innovation. And thankfully, you do not get the same old examples all the time. Based on my limited experience in managing innovation programs, the book gives a feel of being written by people who have been through innovation journeys and not just people who sat on the sidelines or gathered some stories from their clients with an intention to promote them and themselves. Most importantly, they have kept it very simple and jargon free.
Read it if you have anything to do with Innovation in your organization.