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In the contemporary corporate world, complacency leads to the downfall of many businesses. Thus, this has necessitated continuous self-improvement of organizations through innovation and intrapreneurship. Through innovation, a company can come up with new business ideas that enable it to achieve competitive advantage. Needless to say, organizational leadership is one of the essential prerequisites for the successful implementation of innovation and entrepreneurship. As such, a reasonable leader aims at helping subordinates achieve focus, networks, and fresh insights. On the other hand, an incompetent leader alongside other factors such as lack of resourcefulness, organizational & managerial factors, and capabilities and radical technology could lead to the failure of innovation and intrapreneurship. Therefore, innovation architecture is an indispensable tool in attaining competitive advantage through the designing of better products and optimized organizational functions.
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Organizational Elements that Support Innovation
Innovation in an organization is contingent upon the innovative atmosphere of the respective company. As such, these elements may be included in the culture, management systems & styles, and processes of the respective organizations. Examples of organizations that have constantly upheld an innovative ecosystem for their employees include Pfizer, DSM, and Johnson & Johnson. To start with, Pfizer has successfully created an innovative culture in India by establishing various programs aimed at providing a roadmap for new innovators. To start with, the company paired with Batterii in February 2015 to come up with an innovation program referred to as Dare to Try.” Through this innovation program, Pfizer enhances innovation by providing executive support, a motivated workforce, scalable process, and advanced technology. Later in the same year, the company partnered with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) to offer grants of up to Rs.50 Lakh to new innovators owning patents. Arguably, this has helped Pfizer enhance innovation far and wide.
Similarly, DSM employs a more holistic approach through an open innovation scheme. Under this plan, the company hosts some institutions such as the DSM Nutrition Innovation Centre. The center offers an innovative platform for food and supplement manufacturing firms to come up with innovations regarding food products. Notably, the facility supports these innovations from infancy to fruition. On the other hand, the company has an established open plan innovation pool through which it offers extensive training and research material. Additionally, Johnson & Johnson Company has helped trigger innovations in various ways. The company diametrically conducts its activities opposite to normal businesses by allowing competitors to develop innovations under their Johnson & Johnson Labs (JLABS). In these labs, the company offers research material, space, and tools onsite. Moreover, the company follows up on potential inventions to ensure they are turned into large business ideas.
Prerequisites for Innovation and Intrapreneurship
Despite the significant results being borne out of the innovations promulgated by these three conglomerates, various companies still find it hard to capitalize on intrapreneurship and innovation. Arguably, this lack of innovation in such organizations can be largely attributed to incoherent leaders. A leader should be the hallmark of innovation in a company by offering guidelines on how the process should be conducted. However, for organizations with non-innovative leaders, complacency sets it. The company becomes satisfied by their past achievements such that they forget they need to come up with new ideas so as to sustain competitive advantage. Therefore, robust and intelligible leaders are necessary for such organizations to engage in innovation and intrapreneurship.
Additionally, a leaders behavior influences that of their juniors. In companies where the management is reluctant to spend on innovation and intrapreneurship due to the fear of taking risks, employees are also discouraged. As such, they fear the probability that they may lose their jobs if they present ideas that may not work accordingly. Similarly, in such companies, decisions are managed by a consensus thus leaving a large gap in the leadership position. For some organizations, however, the problem of unavailability of funds for innovation and intrapreneurship exists. However, such a problem may be easily eradicated by a focused leader. As a matter of fact, the problem lies in the resourcefulness of the company as opposed to its resources. Therefore, leaders play a big role in ensuring that the companys they serve adequately engage in intrapreneurship and innovation.
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Factors Afflicting Innovation and Intrapreneurship
Innovation and Intrapreneurship have led to numerous advantages in the corporate world. In spite of these tremendous merits, however, various factors still hinder the implementation of an innovative culture in companies. The factors are primarily divided into organizational & managerial factors and capabilities and radical technology. To start with, most companies fail in innovation and intrapreneurship due to organizational impediments such as a risk-averse culture whereby the organization is naturally less inclined to undertaking risks. Similarly, the structure of the organization impedes innovation and intrapreneurship through a high level of bureaucracy which involves a lot of restricted legalities in setting up innovation centers and programs. However, the main problem associated with the organizational and managerial structure of the company lies in component level innovation. As such, innovation will only be successful should there be no need for an improvement in architectural design. In the event where the architectural design is required, this hampers the ability of product developers to work together in developing a particular product.
Additionally, capabilities and radical technology are a big constraint to intrapreneurship and innovation. Arguably, this problem arises when innovation and intrapreneurship lead to incoming new technologies that disrupt the existing technology in a company. As such, the more advanced technologies with extensive capabilities are said to have undergone radical change. When such technologies are implemented by a company, they might hinder intrapreneurship and innovation such that the new technologies render the already established competencies obsolete. In this case, the preceding capabilities of the technological system in place act as a barrier to the innovation of newer technologies. By the same token, technological innovations may also be a problem specifically during times whereby the customers do not need it. In such a case, the company is not able to even sell products with the least innovative features. Therefore, the existing capabilities and radical technology of company create an imbalance which hinders intrapreneurship and innovation.
In the event where I am an innovation architect, I would undertake various structures and processes to establish an innovative culture in my organization. Primarily, I would establish an innovation center in the organization to oversee critical functions such as enhancing focus, networking, and tweaking the knowledge of the companys. Similarly, the innovation center would be paramount to filtering information, enacting a stealth storm, and persistence among innovators. According to Miller and Wedell-Wedellsborg, these six facets form the basis of establishing an innovative culture through leaders. Moreover, each function plays its diverse role in enhancing an innovative culture.
To start with, the innovative center would enhance focus by directing innovators through research and feasibility studies. Moreover, the center would offer adequate research for innovators as well. On the other hand, the innovation center would establish connection relevant to the innovators requirements. As such, such connection may include a direct extranet link to a database connecting different organizations dealing with the pertaining issues being investigated. Through such networking, I would have ensured that innovators in the company acquire fresh insight now and then. What is more, the innovation center would offer past research and attempted innovations on certain topics so as to tweak the innovators understanding regarding the topic. Not only does this provide preliminary information but offers an opportunity for the development of better inventions too.
On the same issue, offering precedent research material would enable innovators to filter information and discard irrelevant ideas thus saving time for significant development in lucrative sectors. Finally, through the innovation center, I would encourage innovators to keep going regardless of the stealth storm they might undergo. On the whole, the primary function of this innovation center would be to avail resources and support needed by innovators. In doing so, the center will make innovation more attractive to potential innovators.
In summary, innovation and intrapreneurship are necessary tools for acquiring a sustainable competitive advantage. The numerous capabilities of innovation can particularly be seen from the rewards being reaped by conglomerates such as Pfizer, DSM, and Johnson & Johnson. The three companies have in the past depicted an innovative culture through the innovation centers and programs they have created. Promoting an innovative culture in an organization, however, requires an enthusiastic leader to guide their subordinates through the process. Moreover, the company should be in a position to fund these programs. The two factors that affect intrapreneurship and innovation are organizational & managerial factors and capabilities and radical technology. To alleviate such instances, again, an emphasis is laid on the leadership skills of the proprietors of the schema. Needless to say, innovation and intrapreneurship bear significant advantage over the performance of businesses.
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