Nowadays, successful business innovations and creative activities are increasingly recognized as key drivers of economic development. Creativity takes difference forms at different times and in different places. From vision to create new products, business models or process to recognition system for teams to take experiment, or even as simple as free expression and acceptance of different points of view, can contribute to successful growth driven business innovations. Take Oticon’s case for example, the change of company direction and structure, the redefinition of company human value and result from the implementation of the strategy are the essential keys to its success. Furthermore, this essay is going to discuss the possibility of success when approach is introduced to organizations from different cultural background, followed by discussion on insights and learning derived from the case study as well as the challenges to meet in real life.
THREE ISSUES IN RELATION TO INNOVATION
After reading Oticon’s case, three issues in relation to innovation are identified as interesting or significant in relation to the concept of innovation. CHANGE OF COMPANY DIRECTION AND STRUCTURE
It took more than determination and courageousness when Kolind drafted plans to transform Oticon to ‘the spaghetti organization’. In fact, it is his clear vision and understanding of the necessity of Oticon as an organization to ‘design a new way of running businesses’ that made him want to create a ‘disorganized organization’. This change completely shifted the company from its attachment to tradition to a more creative, faster and more cost-effective organization type. To understand Oticon’s organizational creativity, it is essential to identify the creative process, the creative situation, the creative outcome and the way in which each of these components interacts with the others. The elimination of departments, managerial & supervisory positions, and the concept of ‘budgets’, was the first step to implement the strategy for change as well as to meet the new vision of the organization. Without the traditional job titles and descriptions, employees are encouraged to join different projects with more degree of freedom. The mix of expertise is to move the organization from technological orientation to a knowledge orientation so that it would help transforming the business to knowledge-based service business. IBM’s successful transform from a technology based manufacturing company to today’s knowledge-based service business would be another good example of business innovations. However, even the best innovation takes time to show significant result. At the beginning of Oticon’s transform, employees did not welcome the loss of routine and clear authority relationships or find the resultant uncertainty easy to adjust. Managers had difficulties to accept the loss of power base, information monopoly and status symbols. Moreover, in order to maintain project leader’ positions, managers now need to compete for the best staff. For some employees, they also had difficulties to find a role in the project team. Oticon’s response was loud and clear: ‘ACCEPT THE NEW ARRANGEMENT OR LEAVE.’ Such determination prompted the carry on with the innovation which leads to its big success in a few years’ time. REDEFINITION OF COMPANY HUMAN VALUE
To make the changes work, the company believes all its employees would act responsible and the company chose to treat them like ‘adults’. In other words, one aspect of this transform is about decentralization of power. Adults do not have to be told when to come to work and go home, or to be constantly reminded of the fact on about company rules or practices. Employees would feel more belonged, respected, recognized, and show more willingness to participate with company activities. Employees are more dedicated and efficient. The best of all is that employees are able to see the new arrangements worked...
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