Overcoming These Five Obstacles May Increase Your Chances of Successful Innovation

Ever had problems trying to implement an innovation? For every idea that is successfully introduced, there are thousands that are brilliant, but don’t make it from the “idea” stage to the implementation stage.

If you’re about to try to get an innovative idea or project off the ground, be aware that not everyone is on the leading edge of Moore’s Diffusion Curve. Many successful people are quite happy to be either in the late majority or even in the laggard category.

Here are five obstacles that, if addressed, may help increase the success of your innovation.

Employees or members of your organization don’t give it a lot of importance or urgency.
They don’t know what to do or how to do it.
There is no pressure from higher management to do more.
They feel secure in their job and see no need to do more.
They have too many other things that are more important or that they prefer to do.

Taken together, these five obstacles demonstrate the need for a strong internal communications plan. This plan should emphasize the benefits to the organization, to its constituents or customers, and to the members or employees.

Senior management should play an active role in not only talking the talk, but walking the walk. One e-mail or article in the newsletter isn’t going to get the job done. Management should also realign rewards, recognition, and performance objectives if they will increase the success of the innovation.

The plan should include a process that encourages feedback from others.

Just because you know that the idea is brilliant, don’t assume that people will fall over themselves to implement it. Your communications plan should continue after the roll out, to highlight those people who’ve been successful and the impact the initiative has had on your organization.

As on  Moore’s (Bell) curve, you’ll have innovators, early adopters, and then the rest who follow along slowly. Use your feedback process to help those who are stuck.

As you build your plan for implementation, remember these five obstacles. Brainstorm any others that may pertain to you and prepare strategies to overcome them. Doing so, may just mean the difference between success and failure.

(Note: the five obstacles above are from Donald Kirkpatrick’s book, Evaluating Training Programs. He was discussing why trainers don’t use advanced evaluations to measure their training courses.)

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