As part of a response to a question on LinkedIn, I wrote:
Innovation is more about a company mindset than anything formalized. Either you encourage your employees to come up with new solutions and improvements or you tell them to shut-up and do their jobs. I have always run my company with the attitude that anyone can propose a new idea, process, invention, whatever to me and, if they have thought it out and developed a realistic deployment plan, and it doesn't cost a fortune, I am willing to try just about anything.
For example, my Chief Engineer came to me recently with an idea to develop a consumer electronics device. Since we had just about everything he needed and the cost for the prototype was about $200, I gave him the go ahead to develop the product. Two weeks and fourteen versions later, we are in the process of negotiating with manufacturers for mass production of the product. If we play our cards right, this product will become a new revenue center.
Most companies don't perform any R&D because they don't always have the staff, experience or the open-minded attitude required for successful innovation. But it is those very companies most capable of flexible, purposeful change that succeed. Start developing that mindset in your business, but don't sell your soul! Cautious, rational, intelligent, reasonable change that never loses sight of your long term business goals is the key to success. Change just for the sake of change is never good. What you are looking for is that happy medium; that elusive middle ground that will balance out to a net positive.
Easy to do? No. But if you can manage it, if you can pull it off, then it will be incredibly valuable to you and your business operation. Good luck!
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