Innovation is the key to survival. Regardless of what sort of organization you are a part of or lead, the key to long-term success is innovation. Innovation is the intentional development of a specific product, service, idea, process, or environment for the generation of value (Oster, 2011). Unfortunately, in every organization, there are going to be organizational antibodies, or those who attack and defeat innovations (Davila et al., 2010). These idea killers and dream scatterers are bred in environments that embrace status quo within the organization and value the past successes more than the future possibilities (Davila et al., 2010). In order to overcome these obstacles to future effectiveness, leadership must change the culture of the organization and create a sense of urgency to embrace innovative ideas and new challenges for the possibilities of the future.
Innovation causes people to become defensive and resistant to new ideas (Butts, 2006). Leaders who seek to create urgency must be prepared to deal with defensive individuals within the organization. One way to do this is by creating a culture that is open and communicates with clarity. An organizational culture that fosters innovation also embraces communication (Davila et al., 2012). Through open two-way communication, the opposition has an avenue to express their concerns, leadership has an opportunity to validate the concerned individuals, and the concerns may spark new ideas in the innovation process. With open communication, organizational antibodies feel as though they can question assumptions and debate the alternatives that are presented (Davila et al., 2012), which also allows leadership to address such issues.
Another way a sense of urgency can be developed is through stretch goals; goals that are reaching for new possibilities (Davila et al., 2012). With stretch goals, acceptance of new ideas are tied to individual performance, and individuals focus on reaching the goals rather than the changes the goals are creating.
Butts, B. G. (2006). The entrepreneurial leader as change agent: Developing innovative churches (D.Min.). Asbury Theological Seminary, United States — Kentucky. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.library.regent.edu/docview/304923079/abstract/528859405EC54D36PQ/1
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.
Oster, G. W. (2011). The light prize: perspectives on Christian innovation. Virginia Beach, Va.: Positive Signs Media.