Today i offended someone (that’s perhaps not unusual). This was the statement posted on an Australian Government Innovation  site blog:

“I think we need to be a little careful not to think every solution involves innovation or for that matter requires innovation. The idea of a “We’re Here” and we need to “Get There” is OK… It’s the standard question when developing any plan or strategy. But more often than not the right solution will not involve “real” innovation. At best it will involve some organisational learning to apply some other existing concept, thinking or solution etc…

We don’t innovate every chance we get, and it would be wrong to do so.”

My response was “OMG.” and ended with “Do you actually understand what innovation is?” with a suggestion to ask Mt Eliza Business School for money back for his innovation course. Harsh?

The reality is harsher.

In his latest book, “That Used To Be US”, NT Times columnist Thomas Friedman argues that, if the US economy is to regain its mojo, businesses and other institutions must empower all employees at every level to innovate. Well, the same, even more so applies to Australian manufacturing… and services… and banking… and education.

What Friedman further says in the context of manufacturing is equally relevant to any other industry.

Driving this need for workers who innovate at every level rather than just carry out tasks, says Friedman, is “access to more automation,more software, more machines and more people, and more talent of an above average quality.” US manufacturers must insist on innovation at every level of the organization just to compete. Friedman points to manufacturers such as DuPont as examples of companies that empower all employees to innovate.

Forget DuPont, we have a great case study just here in Australia. Acquire, and ICT company is revolutionising business process by wiring it intirely for innovation. And, they have just come up with technology that supports strategic planning, but NOT AS WE KNOW IT. It is a new era of cloud strategic planning development that is live and dynamic and will never collect dust on the shelf.

Bill Withers, CEO of Acquire is a guest speaker at RIOT on October 4. You are welcome to join.

Here is my challenge: if you don’t set up your organisation to perpetually innovate, to consistently shape innovative behaviours on every level, for ‘perpetual desirability’ of your products and services, then where the… are you going?