Integrate Innovation Functions with the Broader Organization

Organizations need to consider how innovation fits into their org chart, including defining clear career paths for innovators.

Launching innovation labs or separate teams to focus on innovation rarely produces the desired results. As Sunil Gupta argues, launching an independent innovation or transformation unit within the organization "is like launching a speedboat to turn around a large ship. Often the speedboat takes off but does little to move the ship." This metaphor is also shared by Tendayi Viki.

Similarly, running a series of experiments generally produces only short-term benefits. Often, these experiments lack a clear sense of direction. Or, they may be very tactical, addressing immediate challenges without tackling underlying challenges that the organization must take on if it wants to move forward.

Innovation thrives in open ecosystem, where knowledge and ideas can collide with one another.

Innovation efforts need to align well with the broader strategy and objectives of the organization, or else there may be conflict between the traditional lines of business and those of the innovation teams.

The tools of innovation, adopted from agile development, new business models, lean startup, and design thinking, need to be adopted across the entire organization, not just in small pockets.



Gupta, Sunil. Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Review Press, 2018.

Johnson - Where Good Ideas Come From

Viki, Tendayi. Pirates In the Navy How Innovators Lead Transformation. Unbound, 2020.