Phillips does not blame middle management specifically for killing innovation, but rather the organizational system that emphasizes the need for consistency, cost cutting, and efficiency.
Many attempts at embedding innovation within organizations have fallen flat for several reasons, including:
- poorly communicated strategy,
- lack of resources
- fear of uncertainty and/or risk, and
- the demands for quarterly results.
Innovation “tools” such as Six Sigma and Lean have perpetuated the business-as-usual cycle, rather than opening up firms to embracing innovation as a capability.
Middle managers must be tasked with executing innovation as usual,but they cannot do so until there is a firm wide adoption of clearly articulated innovation strategy.
After investigating why many firms fail to successfully innovate, Phillips explores how to create an “innovation-as-usual” approach. The goal, he argues, is to create an operating model that embraces innovation through a combination of culture, attitude, frameworks, and processes. Exploring cases from relentless innovators, he identifies:
eight factors that allowed those firms to create an innovation business-as-usual framework: