The concept of innovation in relation to the organization change is still new in the organization management. Whether innovation brings a bout change within the organization is one of the areas that need to be examined. In other words, does the application of new ideas initiate changes that result in improved products, services and processes? This paper will explore innovation as a process through which organizations gain changes. Basically, the result should indicate that adopting and implementing new ideas result in improved services, better product, and increased efficiency as well as improved processes within the organization. In general, innovative ideas result in permanent changes in the organization processes.
Organization change is not a new concept rather it’s a concept that have been explored by various scholars. Changes within the organization refer to the transformation of the organization processes. The changes within an organization are shaped by the organization managers through their activities and decisions (Lewis, 2011). Policies adopted and implemented by the organization management also influences change within the organization. Organization management makes decisions concerning structural design, human resources policies as well as cultural factors. All these decisions verify the level of organization innovation.
Innovation is one aspect of change process that contributes hugely on the improved processes, products as well as services (King & Anderson, 2002). Innovation can be geared towards improving the end product, structural changes and improving communication within the organization. In order to attain results of innovation, organizations need to provide enough resources, reward innovation and improve on the employee’s performance management and compensation processes (Galavan et al. 2008). In other words, organization management must provide environment that support innovation processes.
Innovation and change processes within an organization
There is need for constant innovation within the organization in order to succeed. Innovation within an organization is all about improving on its processes, production capacity and quality of the products so as to meet the customer demands (Lewis, 2011). In other words, innovation should improve on the organization processes which will eventually increase the organization competitive edge. All the processes within the organization are made better, cheaper and more rapidly by innovation (King & Anderson, 2002). Innovation brings about new ideas that will eventually result in changes within the organization. Moreover, innovation is the major driver of all ongoing improvements in the organization. Brown (2005) observes that innovation is the primary source of continuous increase of the organization wealth since it brings about improved productivity. In essence, it is necessary for the organizations to approach innovation and change in a more proactive and effective manner.
For managers to succeed in bringing change through innovation they must be able to create innovative culture within an organization. In other words, they must create and implement guiding principles that support innovation. Lewis (2011) argue that those policies that encourage sharing of ideas, testing of new ideas, focused on the employees performance management processes and compensation plan for new ideas encourage innovation within the organization. However, majority of organizations hardly encourage sharing of ideas, discuss their employees’ compensation for these innovative ideas, changes in the management structure and testing of new ideas that are geared towards improved productivity (Galavan et al. 2008). Basically, organizations allow little room for changes hence remain conservative of their core business for a long time. Researches indicate that most of the organizations spend almost two thirds of their resources on their original core businesses and only 10% on innovative new ideas.
Innovation should begin at the top. Senior managers should be in a position to develop and implement policies that support and empower their staff (Herold et al. 2007). Firms should support their employee’s innovative ideas through the provisions of resources and incentives. It would be meaningless for the employees within the organization to suggest and test new ideas if there are no rewards. Therefore, organizations should reward innovations and changes that come with it. Essentially, organizations that provide their staff with incentives and resources to innovate normally move in a positive direction and always have a competitive edge (Galavan et al. 2008).
Creating and innovative organization begins by implementing changes in the employee’s objectives and goals. Managing the employees’ performance processes and compensation plans must also be put into practice all the way through the organization (Herold et al. 2007). That is, from the senior management all through to the mail-room staff and couriers. The argument is that any suggestions or perspectives of the employees regardless of their position within the organization are equally important (Lewis, 2011). Even couriers can provide suggestions as well as ideas that the senior manager could not easily consider.
Once the new ideas have been identified, it is the work of the organization to ensure that the innovative idea is developed. The organization must be able to provide resources and as well as the required attention to ensure its success and benefits that are supposed to be derived from the idea (King & Anderson, 2002). In most cases, new ideas need huge investments which do not provide immediate returns. However, eventual benefits are normally huge and long lasting. The benefits more often than not bring a bout permanent change within the organization. Basically investments in innovative ideas by far and large provide greater returns to the organization in all aspects (King & Anderson, 2002).
In most cases, employees who try to implement their new ideas combine the current job needs and the commitments to their innovations. Generally, organization management often quantifies the goals of such employees. One of the areas of assessing the new programs is how much it will contribute to the revenue increment. The success or failure of the new programs will depend on how it will contribute to the increased revenue; reduce expenses as well as improvement to the overall productivity of the organization (Lewis, 2011). To be innovative, organizations have to support these new ideas whole time. In other words, the organization management must provide leadership and back the implementation, invest in equipment and technology, provide staff training as well as offer support for the marketing of the resultant outcome (Brown, 2005).
However, not all the innovations succeed. According to King & Anderson (2002), an innovation may not succeed due to various unpredictable variables and risks that normally exists and remain unknown to the inventors and the organization. It is not unusual to discover that attaining the goals of the innovation have more costs than was expected during the implementation. This may result in the cancellation of the program. Even though these programs sometimes results in failure, there are new lessons that have been learnt, limitations that have been understood and new knowledge that have been gained that forms the basis of other new innovations (King & Anderson, 2002).
Moreover, new innovations do not wholly fail. It is usual for certain portions of new innovations to be individually successful. Therefore, there is need to reward those individuals as well as teams that came up with and implemented the idea (Brown, 2005). Even though most of these new ideas end up in failure, there is need for the organizations to reward the efforts that have been put in place. In so doing, organizations encourage innovative capabilities within the organization and of their employees.
Following a number of successful innovations and failures, it is necessary for the organization to come up with clear guidelines and processes that will ensure continuous dedication to innovation (Lewis, 2011). The guideline should take the subsequent innovators through the process. Further, the guideline should clearly indicated the procedures and define how these procedures work. In addition, the manual should identify new opportunities that would have been created, the opinions of the team members concerning the project (Lewis, 2011). The opinions should specify the reasons for the success or failure of the project.
It is essential that organizations continue to innovate in order to succeed. Innovations increase the organizations efficiency, fasten its work processes and cheapen its end products. All these processes ensure increased competitive advantage to the organization. Therefore, organizations that embrace innovative changes always survive in a competitive environment and hard economic times. Changes brought a bout by innovation within the organization have long-term benefits even though huge investments are always involved. Simply put, innovations not only ensure long-term benefits for the organization but also permanent change.
In order to achieve these changes and benefits, organizations must cultivate an innovative culture, reward changes and innovations, reward innovation failures as well as invest in these changes. In addition, organization management must create and implement changes in the employee’s goals, management in their performance processes and reward plans for innovations. Moreover, innovations must begin at the top through to the lower cadre of employees.
Brown, K. (2005). Managing change and innovation in public service organizations. Routledge, London: UK.
Galavan, R., Murray, J. & Markides, C. (2008). Strategy, innovation, and change: challenges for management. Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street: Oxford.
Herold, D., Fedor, D. & Caldwell, S. (2007). Beyond change management: a multilevel investigation of contextual and personal influences on employees’ commitment to change. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(4), 942-951
King, N. & Anderson, N. (2002). Managing innovation and change: a critical guide for organizations. Cengage Learning EMEA, Cheriton House: Hampshire.
Lewis, L. (2011). Organizational change: creating change through strategic communication. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken: New Jersey.