1. The pressures of everyday operations
2. The movement and stress that comes with new ideas, products and services
3. Market forces: sometimes rapid, always unpredictable
These stresses come with the territory of innovation. They cannot be stopped, circumvented, or avoided. Rather than fight them, you must meet and use them to your advantage. Meet them well, and your organization will have the capacity required to succeed at innovation. Meet them poorly, and your efforts will regularly fail.
1. Operational Pressures
Innovation is bound to run at cross purposes with operational pressures. The two activities have different needs. Operations requires consistency and efficiency. Innovation often is irregular and can be inefficient to manage. If managers have to choose between operations and innovation, they will always pick operations.
2. Innovation Stress
Although necessary for sustainable growth and profit, innovation is by definition not business-as-usual. When it courses through your organization it demands attention and creates counter-forces that can wreak havoc among those seeking to uphold the status quo. Organizations that successfully innovate anticipate these pressures. They know there will be a corresponding resource draw. They prepare accordingly, building the capacity before commencing the actual work of innovation. If they do not, resistance emerges from everywhere and can quickly quash the value of that innovation.
3. Changing Market Forces
Every business owner knows the market can shift on a dime or a headline. Positive inflection points are sometimes generated in response to these changes in market conditions. For innovation to thrive, you must have the capacity to provide both the stability required to weather change as well as the flexibility to jump at sudden advantage.
The enemies of innovation are formidable opponents, but not impossible to overcome, even decisively defeat. The key is to be proactive and address them effectively. These three – the pressures of everyday operations; the movement and stress that comes with new ideas, products and services; and market forces – are all part of operating in a competitive market economy. Rather than being hampered by them, prepare well to meet each and build your capacity to succeed at innovation.