A crash diet can help you to lose weight quickly, but it's common for people to regain that weight, and more, when they go back to eating normally. Crash diets are extreme, and not sustainable. Instead, a sustainable approach to healthy eating requires a long-term commitment to make more healthy choices every day.
It's the same with innovation. Companies can 'buy-in' their innovation, through acquisitions, mergers and licensing agreements, but a more sustainable approach is to build a culture of innovation from within. In my doctoral research I investigated the link between a company's strategic decisions and their long-term profitability. For the dominant players in the global pharmaceutical industry, the imperative for innovation is clear. They must maintain a pipeline of new patents, as their patent protection has a finite life. When I examined their profitability over a 10 year period, in the midst of a biotech boom, what I found is that those companies who chose to 'buy' their innovations primarily through acquisition, initially grew more quickly, but like a crash diet, their performance wasn't sustainable over the long term.
Instead, those companies who chose fewer mergers and strategic alliances, in favour of nurturing an internal culture of innovation, performed better over the 10 years of my study and are now some of the world's most successful companies. Gordon Binder, Former CEO of AMGEN, one of these high performing companies, describes some of the keys to developing a culture of innovation and growth in his book 'Science Lessons'. He emphasises to be generous with praise, time and attention and to share credit freely. This approach costs nothing, but is essential to attracting and retaining the people who are at the heart of any innovative culture.
In 2020, the imperative to innovate is not just for high tech companies. Every industry has in imperative to innovate. My Ideas 365 Program focuses on commitment, consistency and collaboration as essential to embedding innovation into the daily work of your team, to nurture a sustainable innovative culture and support you to innovate every day.
If you'd like to know more, just reply to this email with the word 'Ideas' and I'll be in touch.
How will you nurture a culture of innovation in 2020?