Building Innovation Capability

Building Innovation Capability

In a hyper-competitive business world where innovation is deemed “a core competency” by nearly 90% of CEOs today, dissatisfaction with this aspect of their organizational performance remains a prevailing challenge and “a major source of dissatisfaction” (McKinsey). This unique short course has been offered to hundreds of executives across the country over the past two decades. Remarkably, at the start not one of them was able to define the true meaning of innovation. Therein lies the crux of the problem – building this capability necessitates a deep understanding of what innovation is and is not. That is the foundation for knowing exactly how to incubate, resource, effectively manage and sustain it.

Organizations that have developed their competitive stamina in a volatile, uncertain and increasingly complex, error-prone world have strengthened their capacity as risk-takers and innovators. While it’s rare to find a leader who doesn’t want his or her organization to be more innovative, very few know how to achieve this vision. Steve Jobs, deemed the icon of intelligent failure, once asserted that “innovation is what distinguishes leaders from followers.” Because they know how to harness, focus and inspire their workers to willingly contribute their ideas and, in so doing, reshape the old-paradigm practices of the enterprise into groundbreaking new deliverables.

A Vancouver-based CFO once lamented in frustration:Accountants are neither entrepreneurial nor innovative, because we’ve been trained and conditioned to follow a rule book.” The good news is that innovation does follow a set of fundamental rules and essential principles. It’s more about idea selection than idea generation. The riskiest move in business today is to play it safe. Building an adaptive culture of learning and resilience demands discipline, transparency and risk intelligence. With over five decades of researching and teaching the intricacies of ensuring sustainable adaptive capability, the instructor once led a week-long residential training program on the subject at Princeton over the course of several years for one of America’s largest multi-national corporations.

The curriculum for 2024:
❏  Walking the talk: Current status in Canada
❏  The bigger picture and the bigger problems
❏  The relationship between risk and innovation
❏  Internal impediments to building/nurturing it
❏  Myths & realities: Judgement & problem solving
❏  Fostering innovation: First principles and rules
❏  Seven objectives for building a resilient culture
❏  Rooting out the pathogens & borrowing brilliance
❏  Conducting an innovation vitality/agility audit
❏  Practical, incremental and radical innovation
❏  Strategies and tactics for managing the paradoxes
❏  Tools: Future forecasting and scenario building
❏  The innovation process: From origin to execution
❏  Evaluating ideas and writing winning proposals
❏  The critical questions investors want answered
❏  How to sell any idea: Mastering the elevator pitch
❏  Execution: The hard questions and intelligent failure
❏  The bottom line: How to build, manage and sustain it

The course includes a 40-page pre-course workbook of supplemental readings.