Companies can foster or destroy innovation

Dec. 31, 2011 at 9:46 PM
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NASHVILLE, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A U.S. researcher says innovation may mean less "thinking out of the box" and more setting up a company structure that overcomes constraints.

David Owens of Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management said business and other leaders need to understand exactly which constraints work against them in order to help create conditions that foster innovation rather than kill creativity.

"Constraints are the parameters within which you must work," Owens said in a statement. "And for a creative person that's actually a blessing."

Owens identified the six most common hurdles to innovation that companies encounter:

-- Failures of innovation are failures of ideas, and to meet this challenge companies need to train people to use the tools and processes that help them "think differently" and enable them to become better at generating and recognizing good ideas.

-- A company's social climate will determine whether an innovation succeeds.

-- The company or organization needs a strategy for innovation.

-- Innovation fails when a firm competing among a group of rivals in an industry fails to produce something customers want.

-- For an innovation to succeed, it has to be technologically feasible.

"By learning to analyze these constraints in advance, turning from retrospective analysis to proactive strategy development, you can dramatically improve your chances of innovation success," Owens said.

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