The authors believe that too many large organizations mistakenly see innovation as a capability challenge that can be addressed through the development and allocation of resources when the real problem is a lack of strategic direction and alignment resulting from insufficient involvement of C-Suite leaders. This paper aims to address this issue.
First the authors explain the downside of seeing innovation primarily as a resources challenge. They trace the growth of functionalization, which they warn can make the innovation process capable of only incremental achievements. Then they show how to promote C-suite participation in the innovation process.
Leading innovation performers understand that there are two critical “responsibilities” that only C-suite executives can accomplish: enabling cross-boundary cooperation; and granting the permissions needed to pursue longer-term or other higher risk opportunities.
The authors explain how successful companies foster C-suite participation in breakthrough innovation by a variety of approaches, including: conducting regular C-level portfolio reviews; identifying strategic focus areas for innovation exploration; using active C-level sponsorship of larger innovation opportunities; and creating separate incubators for developing breakthrough opportunities.
Skarzynski, P., Crosswhite, D. and Jones, C. (2014), "A solution for a lack of breakthrough innovation – strategic C-suite direction and involvement", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 33-39. https://doi.org/10.1108/SL-06-2014-0040Download as .RIS
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