I just went through a report based on surveys with 513 leaders and 514 non-leader employees in U.S. based companies. The report highlights many key issues when it comes to innovation obstacles of which I found the most significant to be that leaders and employees do not see eye-to-eye on innovation.
The report reveals that leaders think they are good drivers for innovation and that their companies do well on innovation. The report shows perception gaps between 22-29% when you ask the employees similar key questions. This is a huge problem and innovation leaders (those running innovation units and being responsible for developing the innovation culture) must understand and address this.
In my view, two elements are important for this. Although difficult, innovation leaders need to pay more attention to educating their leaders on innovation. The challenge is how to educate someone who already thinks they know better as the report demonstrates. The other thing is better communication in general on the corporate innovation efforts. This goes for internal as well as external channels.
The report is based on the below 7 findings and at the end, you will also find some good recommendations on how to address these findings. This is a must-read for innovation leaders and others interested in innovation.
FINDING #1: Leaders are not actively engaged nor are they personally invested in driving innovation.
FINDING #2: The big gap: Leaders think they exhibit behaviors associated with driving innovation far more frequently than employees think leaders do.
Finding #3: Leader actions to foster employee innovation will likely fail without an organization-wide commitment to innovation.
Finding #4: The more senior the leaders, the more they create the conditions for innovation.
Finding #5: There are no significant differences in innovation-fostering behaviors across age or gender.
Finding #6: Who killed innovation? When identifying the perpetrator, leaders are less likely to look in the mirror.
Finding #7: Industry differences highlight market trends and the importance of a differentiated view of innovation challenges.