• Jeff Doolittle

What are the Key Conditions for Successful Organizational Innovation?


Organizational Innovation

As the world changes, people and organizations must change too. Recent surveys suggest there is growing confidence in the global economy among executives. A PwC pulse survey of over 5000 CEOs revealed that more than 60% are expecting innovation and M&A deals to fuel their organizational growth over the next 12 months. Growth is a critical driver of organizational performance. However, not all change is innovation and not all innovation flourishes. Successful innovation produces a significant positive change for customers. Like the atmospheric conditions required for the formation of a tornado do not always produce a tornado. The same can be said for organizational innovation. Innovation is unpredictable and often comes from a combination of hard work, curiosity, the pursuit of wealth, and necessity. There are countless prerequisites to any innovation, and analysis reveals both the astonishing and absurd. While this reality may leave you feeling a bit confused about what to do, here are some conditions that will increase your odds of successful innovation.


"Successful entrepreneurs do not wait until the muse kisses them and gives them a bright idea: they go to work." Peter Drucker

Conditions for Innovation


As organizations gain competence and confidence, the likelihood of innovation decreases. Adopting the following approaches and mindsets can reduce organizational threats to innovation:

  • Awareness: The decisions we make reflect who we are. The better organizations understand their culture and their employees; the better decisions can be made at each phase of innovation development.

  • Reward failure: In the pursuit of innovation, failure happens. Organizations lacking positive reinforcement for innovation will not bring out the best in the people attempting to innovate. Too often, organizations are designed to keep people from taking risks.

  • Work hard and reconsider assumptions: As organizations invest time pursuing innovation, it is easy to become increasingly less willing to question an idea. It is essential to step back every so often and challenge the innovation assumptions. Organizations that dare to question assumptions will keep the focus on the best ideas.

  • Growth: Many innovations begin with a simple question. Can it be done better? Organizations that value the pursuit of incremental improvement will not miss the value of the mundane ideas that lead to the next significant invention.

  • Luck and mistakes: It’s essential to recognize that organizations may do everything right and fail as well as do nothing right and succeed. Organizations that acknowledge that luck, chance, and the work of others play a role in their innovation process set themselves up for success.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein

The Psychology and Sociology Behind Successful Innovation