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Impeding Innovation February 27, 2008

Posted by Tariq Ahmed in Business Management.

When a department is in charge of creative or analytical activities, imagination and innovation is vital for their success.  Over time employees get to know their manager, and what their manger likes and dislikes.  Employees know that their manager dislikes X, Y, Z and since their ideas will be nixed, they will stop proposing innovative solutions and simply provide what their manager expects.  This leads to all ideas being limited to 1 managers’ belief system and does not allow innovative ideas to surface.

Only the manager themselves can combat this issue.  When a manager chooses a solution, they should explain clearly to their staff why that solution is being chosen.  They should recognize and encourage innovative solutions, regardless if they are used or not.

If upper management thinks a department isn’t innovative, they should interview the department individually, presenting problems and see what solutions employees will offer on their own, w/o their manager being present.  Even this may not lead to much, as employees are well aware of the retribution that will occur if they suggest concepts their manager has already killed internally.  Another method is requiring 3 different solutions for a problem, which will force the manager to present other concepts, and not just their own narrow view.




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