What Impedes Innovation in Franchise Organizations ?

Posted on 02. May, 2010 by in Management Philosophy

Roger Smith shared an interesting post a number of years ago in Fast Company: Can Innovation be Bought?. His was an interesting angle to consider that senior management’s lack of familiarity or confidence with external innovations may be a barrier to their implementation. Though I see this sort of thing all of the time, particularly in franchise organizations.

But is it possible that the managers citing this lack of confidence are putting a new face on the old “not invented here” mentality? Many companies using “closed” models for innovation have long used it as a defense to maintaining their internal staffs and large R&D budgets. P&G and others are showing the true power of open innovation models in the market today. When speaking with most franchise industry people, and there are some exceptions out there, most of their views represent the closed model. If it doesn’t fit their view of the world, mostly based on quarter century old paradigms, then it won’t fly.

So what are the other potential barriers to innovation? Strategos, Gary Hamel’s consulting firm, released a survey with senior executives in 2004 on the key barriers to effective innovation. Some interesting statistics in that study regarding the top factors cited as barriers…

  • Short term focus/ focus on operations (63%)
  • Lack of time, resources or staff (52%)
  • Lack of systematic innovation process (33%)
  • Leadership expects payoff sooner than is expected (31%)
  • Management incentives not structured to reward innovation (31%)

Also interesting that only 15% cited “we don’t know how to think out of the box” as a barrier to innovation. Now because managers think its so doesn’t make it so. This survey reflects beliefs not necessarily realities – a case in point being the excuse of having inadequate resources to innovate. That is as much a reflection of folks not really doing what they should be doing as anything. The bottom line is this: there’s a direct relationship between innovation and failure. The key killer of innovation is the lack of tolerance for failing – a necessity for innovation which directly reflects an organization’s culture. Watch no risk no innovation below for insights on this important barrier to innovation and if you are ready to really impact the way your franchise system works, take some risk and set up a test drive of our franchise flywheel application. Innovation isn’t as scary as people believe.

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