70% of managers agree that the recession will reinforce organisations’ focus on innovation according to a survey and report by the CMI on Enhancing Innovative Working Practices.
In many cases, innovation is viewed as a critical element of an organisation’s response to the recession whether in terms of products, processes or business models.
The survey results suggest that public sector organisations are currently less well equipped to promote and facilitate innovation. Managers in the public sector tend to report fewer working practices conducive to innovation and more barriers to innovation relating to managerial issues.
Beyond a concern about a lack of resources, public sector managers are more likely to identify risk aversion and a fear of failure among leaders as barriers to innovation (33 per cent), as well as hierarchical staff structures (30 per cent). The public sector appears to have fewer employees for whom innovation is a key performance goal. Only 13 per cent describe their organisation as having a high percentage of employees with such goals, compared to 28 per cent in the private sector. Managers too in the public sector are more likely to report that innovative thinking is often stifled – 29 per cent compared to 20 per cent in the private sector.
Resources – or lack of them – are reported as the main barriers to innovation. Almost half (49 per cent) of managers identify financial constraints as one of the top three barriers they face, with 46 per cent citing a lack of time, a particularly acute problem in the private sector (52 compared to 42 per cent in the public sector).
Judged to be the five most effective resources and practical initiatives to support innovation were:
- Leadership/management training – 31%
- Brainstorming activities – 31%
- Work time devoted to developing new ideas – 29%
- Individual incentives or reward programmes that encourage innovation – 29%
- Cross-functional teams – 28%
Other conclusions were:
Enabling personal innovation
- Be open to change / Motivate to innovate / Find time and space
Building innovative organisations
- Recognise it’s a team effort / Build a reputation / Learn from small organisations /Lead innovation
Public sector implications
- Make a commitment to innovation / Pull down barriers
The focus throughout the Partners in Management range of programmes is something we call ‘Intrapreneurship‘ – innovation through strategic understanding and leadership, creativity, change management and then self-coaching for personal development.