Money Quote from Clayton M. Christensen in today’s WSJ on how hard times can drive innovation:
So, if you give people a lot of money, it gives them the privilege of pursuing the wrong strategy for a very long time……The breakthrough innovations come when the tension is greatest and the resources are most limited.
Clayton M. has literally written the book (s) on innovation so arguing with him is like disagreeing with with Alex Trebec on Jeopardy. The next to impossible part here is “how?”.
In my experience, the step that most companies miss most is developing a process around innovation. At some point times will get tough and there will be a call for more innovation. Then consultants will be called in, brainstorming will ensue, and tons of power point will be created (and after a few executive reviews, discarded).
Since most innovative ideas are half baked, it takes time to craft and mature these ideas into a full fledged business case. Without the proper steps in place to help nurture these emergent ideas, they will die a slow internal death as champions give up or more on to other things.
Clayton M. Christensen has a whole chapter dedicated to this topic in his book “The Innovator’s Solution” that I would highly recommend reading.