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It is easy for many organizations to say that they support innovation. They discuss how they are going about it, and how they are providing some resources towards the effort … they even paint funky innovation words on their walls! But is it true innovation … or is it ‘lipstick on a pig’?!

Of course all organizations want to foster innovation. It’s how we grow, improve, delight our customers, and keep getting paid.

The talk says ‘go innovate,’ but when the walk clearly supports only taking risks that will ensure success, you are not going to be successful.

In order to drive towards innovative thinking, failure has to be an option. Understanding that the lessons learned from failure lead to success is critical.

You must first start with a clear definition of where you want to be. Then spend time trying to figure out what has to happen to make it true. Don’t focus on the next single improvement, but rather the whole big picture. This approach frees us from the constraints of the current system, and allows for a more open field of possible routes to get to a solution.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure innovation success.

  1. Make everyone responsible for innovation … make it part of everyone’s job.
  1. Develop innovation processes that everyone can use.


  1. Go beyond developing products … big innovations transform services, processes, or channels.


  1. Create teams that support innovation … no one can do this alone.


  1. Welcome new ideas … so there is a constant supply.


  1. Offer fun and interesting spaces for people to be creative … existing workspace cubbies don’t cut it!


  1. Show that innovation is important … walk the talk!

Real innovation is hard. Culture change is hard. But I promise you it’s a far worthier investment than picking out the next shade of lipstick for your pig!

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Pig with lipstick