MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION
EZIE, CYNTHIA C.
22 MARCH 2010
INTRODUCTION TO INNOVATION AND CHANGE
Innovation is the process by which ideas are created, selected and implemented to bring about profitable change to organisations. Innovations come as a result of an identified need for organisations to change their current processes, activities or operations. Andriopoulos and Dawson (2009) explain that organisational change is ‘new ways of organizing and working’. They explain that change occur in two dimensions – movement of state and scope of change.
Bessant and Tidd (2007) are of the opinion that innovation is the translation of conceptualised ideas into commercially profitable products and services. They also go ahead to say that innovation helps firms differentiate their products and services from competitors and this makes them twice more likely to become more profitable.
The ability of organisations to apply and develop innovative capabilities enable them achieve and maintain sustainable advantage. Certain factors promote innovative environments which can improve performance and profitability of organisations, some of which are: □ The firm’s source of innovative ideas and capabilities which may be internal or external as well as advances in technology within the industry □ The structure and hierarchy of the organisation to deal with innovative changes □ The size of the organisation and the level of risk they are willing to take □ Organisational growth and market globalisation
□ The level of employee education and exposure to change □ Environmental factors such as economic and political situations
The following is an explanation to the reasons why firms adopt innovations, how the selection and implementation of innovation can work successfully within a given context and not in another. It also explains the difficulties associated with successful implementation of change.
REASON FOR CHANGE AND INNOVATION
Because of the inevitable changing characteristics of the business environment, organisations need to find creative and adaptive ways to successfully manage change to maintain a strong business position in their industry. The decision to adopt change is often to improve operation performance and/or reduce cost associated with doing business. Dawson (2009) explains that change is important to organisations as they help improve performance and productivity. However, it is also necessary to recognise that there are different types and levels in order to properly implement change. The duty of organisations is to identify the need for change, involve all affected stakeholders and manage such change effectively to keep the organisation dynamic.
THE INNOVATION PROCESS
The process of innovation begins with creativity. The search for new and applicable ideas may generate from within or outside the organisation which is then followed by selection. Selection involves the choice of appropriate ideas and concepts to implement. Implementation stage is the transformation of the selected ideas into new products which is then followed by a launch into the market and subsequent capture of accrued benefits.
In selecting and implementing innovations, organisations need to understand that there are different contexts, situations and factors which can affect successful implementation.
Desouza, et al (2009) show how robust and dynamic organisations such as GE and Whirlpool are better able to deal with innovation than closed and rigid organisations. They explain that because these organisations have defined innovation processes and clear cut protocols for the evaluation and screening of ideas such organisations are able to create sustainable innovative programs because they possess a common framework for the management of ideas from conception to commercialization through management support and participation of...
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