I present my view on the future of innovation, from a management perspective, at three levels: the individual, the organization and society.
Innovation and the individual = the search for meaning
Meaning in life is a basic human need. It is the vehicle through which great things are done. Innovation, as an instrument of renewal, provides the fuel for the search of meaning. This aspect of innovation will become essential in the future, as people and organizations recognize the need to be part of something greater than themselves. By making innovation part of the organization’s DNA, people will increasingly recognize opportunities to develop themselves and to find ways of contributing not only to the organization but also to society in general. In the future, innovation will be recognized as a key element in the search for individual meaning, creating greater workforce engagement in organizations and helping to develop great leaders.
Innovation and the organization = the key management instrument
In the future, innovation will drive every decision and permeate every single process in organizations. Innovation will become the key management instrument, through which strategy will be both conceived and executed.
For many years innovation has been seen as the unmanageable hidden process, given to serendipity and pure luck. It has also been confused with research or the development of new products and services. People are now realizing that innovation, and most of all sustainable innovation, is the fundamental driver behind such diverse elements as total quality management, customer satisfaction, growth, process efficiency, profitability and a whole range of key management areas. It is through systematic and purposeful innovation, combined with collaborative leadership and courage that organizations can strive. Systematic innovation allows organizations to tap into people’s hearts and minds for creative ideas, to reach and process knowledge in varied forms and to create new added value to all stakeholders. Innovation, in this sense, will no longer be left to serendipity or even just a process; it will be that and much more. It will be engrained in the thinking process of every person in the organization, the fundamental question in every leader’s decision, be it for recruitment, developing a new product or selecting the organization layout.
Innovation and society = building bridges through open innovation
As organizations open up their innovation models to incorporate external people and entities throughout the globe, barriers are teared down and room for understanding and empathy is created. This is not about exploring resources anymore but about truly valuing and integrating ideas and contributions from people in every corner of the world, regardless of their race, creed or culture. In the future, open innovation will be an important instrument for a better, sustainable and peaceful world. It is already happening. This future is very close.