In The Manager's Role in Building an Innovative Organization, Patrick Buhler discusses the need for managers to remain open to change in their workplace environments. He stresses that organizations must build a culture of innovation around a supporting structure in order to compete in the modern marketplace. Buhler outlines three major points in the article: the importance of an innovative culture, strategies for building an innovative culture and supporting innovation through effective organizational structures.
As competitive environments change rapidly, organizations must remain flexible and agile. The death knell for an organization in today's marketplace is resting on past accomplishments. Successful organizations create new ideas and reevaluate their current positions constantly. Innovators and leaders in a market are those who successfully productize these new ideas. Innovative companies can enjoy the benefits of being the market leader. Often, the first company to market a product or service builds a considerable brand and customer loyalty advantage.
Early adopters can also deter other companies from entering a market.
Buhler explains that managers are primarily responsible for developing a culture of innovation within an organization. To successfully create and manage innovation, managers must tolerate risk and embrace change. Successful organizations encourage employees to take risks, within the bounds of their role. Managers must step back and allow employees to "sink or swim" with their ideas. Not all innovations and ideas will be successful, but managers have to avoid punishing employees for ideas that do not work. Routinely disciplining employees for testing innovative ideas destroys innovation in the long term. The article contrasts this culture of discipline with a culture of innovation, such as at 3M. By encouraging employees by focusing corporate goals on the successful launch of new and innovative products, 3M encourages managers and employees to try new ideas.
Encouraging innovation by itself is...