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Are You Losing Patience for Process by Chasing Innovation?

To create a culture of open innovation, you need to break a lot of rules. You have to part with traditional hierarchy to empower every employee to present and pursue ideas no matter their function or title.

So it seems counterintuitive that systems and processes play a big part in innovation, but in reality, it’s difficult to realize innovation without them, especially in an enterprise.

An enterprise is like a giant ship, and it takes a lot more to turn that ship than a small, nimble startup boat. An enterprise has not only racked up years of product excellence, talent, resources and credibility that make it among the tallest on the sea, but it’s also acquired years of dead weight—legacy systems, technical debt, siloes, etc.—that make it harder to change course.

That’s why you can’t lose patience for process if you want business breakthroughs:

  • Rethinking existing systems and processes helps you identify dead weight. A lot of the systems and processes enterprises create and evolve over time don’t really work anymore. Some were originally a product of expediency and budget crunches, and others may be built up over time from acquisitions and mergers. When you take the time to reevaluate them all, you can identify opportunities to replace disparate systems with an integrated ecosystem of systems.
  • New processes can better build speed, accuracy and agility throughout the enterprise. Adopting a philosophy of agile, for instance, produces more focused and disciplined teamwork and a rapid pace of learning. Collaboration-centric business practices, as another example, centralize knowledge, close information gaps and speed up cross-functional teamwork.
  • Processes ensure you balance manpower between your bow and your rudder. When every piece performs as it should, the massive enterprise ship can make the right moves now to adapt to what’s ahead. But if all hands are on deck to find the most innovative path ahead, manpower is lost throughout the rest of the ship to execute that new course. While the bow may be able to best see what’s coming, it’s the rudder that points the bow where it needs to go and steers the entire ship.

Business changes every day, and no one can afford to take a year to roll something out to market. Everything needs to be faster, and when you’re too burdened by process and bureaucracy, things you’d like to do in minutes take months. So instead, you free yourself from them both in the pursuit of innovation.

However, what you end up with is an inability to pivot with the market, promising great things without delivering and an innovative culture with little patience for process—in other words, innovation without execution. Now that everyone is part of the creative, entrepreneurial, innovative and startup mindset, process matters more than ever, like how you enable collaboration between all the thinkers and doers.

Reestablish better collaborative processes now to better prepare for an innovative future by downloading our free eBook, “The Future of Business Collaboration: 2015 Edition,” today.

This post originally appeared on CIO.com’s Collaboration Nation blog, sponsored by PGi. 

About John Perkins

As Vice President of Global IT for PGi, John drives business transformation throughout his organization by applying agile project management processes, with the ultimate goal of helping the business grow, compete and mature around best practices.

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