When we look to build a culture of innovation, to change our organisational structure to one which more closely meets the innovation imperative it’s all too easy to be constrained by what has gone before. Legacy systems, processes and procedures all conspire to hold you back when your corporate strategy says you should be moving forwards.
Inevitably there will be times when compromise is required, when you need to phase in change or work with a dual operating system for a period. But when you do compromise, make sure it is for the right business reasons and not simply because inertia is holding you back from where you want to be. The key test here is whether your new organisational culture is geared up to create solutions which solve genuine problems, add real value and drive differentiation and growth.
Done properly, innovation can change lives. Take the example of Toni Maraviglia who co-founded Eneza Education in Kenya. Realising that many children in Kenya were unable to attend school and those schools which existed had classes which were so large that giving individual feedback was difficult, Ms Maraviglia came up with the idea of teaching via mobile phone text messages. According to a BBC report the company now has 500,000 users of which some 70% are using the app to supplement their school learning, whilst the remainder either don’t to go to school or previously dropped out from school and now want to improve their educational skills.
Solving a genuine need, changing lives, and making a profit at the same time; Eneza Education could teach us all about the value of innovation.