During the recession, and despite many organisations experiencing significant losses, companies continued to invest in innovation initiatives to drive differentiation. Many organisations were demonstrating a 'readiness' to innovate, but as we have come to understand, eagerness doesn't always mean the company is actually 'ready' to innovate.
Although organisations must invest in innovation, money alone will not suffice. Financial commitment need to be supplemented by visionary leadership and an ambitious company culture that thrives on collaboration.
Many companies implement an innovation function, which operates independent of a company's other departments. Despite this being deemed a step-forward, a decision such as this indicates that a company has failed to grasp the importance of innovation being engrained within every department, therefore implying that they are not 'ready' for innovation.
Another indicator is when a company is unwilling to work in partnerships. This is unquestionably a difficult deal to strike, with opposing companies understandably wary of one another, but the old adage, 'two heads are better than one' often rings true. Partnerships give companies the opportunity to double up on skills, resources and wisdom. There's been extensive research into this, primarily by 'Insead' with the idea of two competitors 'winning together' difficult to achieve.
The prizes identified by partnerships are extensive, with successful companies benefitting from improved operational efficiency and the opportunity to enter new markets. Agreeing to be part of a partnership like this is a difficult process for companies to get their head around, but acceptance of it demonstrates that a company is ready to innovate.
A company that's innovation ready will have it as a state of mind and will deem creativity as one of the pillars of its organisation. It may take time for an organisation to be truly ready to innovate, but even with time of the essence, taking the required steps to be ready for innovation remains essential.
The gap that often exists between 'readiness' and an organisation actually being 'ready' for innovation can be substantial. Due to this, it's of upmost importance that a company prepares for innovation and has the capacity to implement it successfully.