Stop Procrastination in Innovation

Far too many organizations that make attempts in innovation stumble before they even take the first step. They fall back on their traditional mindset, and over analyze, over think and over engineer ideas in the innovation pipeline. Innovation is meant to unlock an organization's potential to explore new possibilities, validate market needs, and build on ideas incessantly. However, creating successful innovative products, simply put, is hard. Given the uncertainties in innovation, the better approach is to run experiments where new product ideas are tried often and withdrawn quickly if it aren’t succeeding. Creative side projects, while well-intentioned, often fall to the wayside as existing projects get prioritized.

To prevent the loss of creative edge, many mature companies implemented programs similar to Google’s now iconic 80/20 policy, which grant employees 20 percent of their time for creative projects. Call it bottom-up innovation: this “open sandbox” approach gives employees an accessible way to share their ideas, theoretically, giving opportunities for the best to rise to the top. With the introduction of social media, lots of companies began experimenting with open innovation initiatives. Crowdsourcing and hackathons are some of the most prominent manifestations of this trend, letting companies reach out not only to their employees for good ideas but also to the broader community. These platforms give individuals recognition for their creative contributions while allowing the larger community to modify and help evolve the ideas.

Another approach companies should consider is adopting Cloud Platforms as a complement to their legacy ERP investments. The reason behind this approach is to leverage the new capabilities Cloud Platforms bring to the IT landscape. Cloud Platforms deliver over the internet all of the infrastructures and services needed to develop provisions and run applications. Cloud Platforms can enable a team with an idea to quickly craft the supporting business processes they need to test their idea. If the idea succeeds, the Cloud Platform will enable the team to scale automatically. If the idea fails, the team can simply turn off their processes and move on to their next idea.

For big corporations, they aren’t standing idly twiddling their thumbs while their businesses destruct. They’re beginning to emulate startups to innovate. In fact, a host of large companies has been seeking ways to tap the frenetic energy and innovation of startup culture within their ranks. Microsoft has partnered with Javelin, a New York-based company that provides tools and workshops based on the lean startup methodology made famous by Eric Ries and Steve Blank. Samsung has the Samsung Open Innovation Center and founded a startup accelerator for software developers.

There is no single “best way” to overcome procrastination. Any idea you are going to pursue is going to require time to work on it: time to shop it around, improve it, sell it, and implement it. Start each day with a focused list of the 3 most important things to accomplish that day (less if possible). Keep a laser sharp focus on getting those 3 most important things done. You should be through with the listed tasks in most cases, by 11am, leaving most of the day to get the rest of your usual business routine done.

But please, please, please, stop coming up with excuses on why you can't start.