Monday, July 2, 2012

The Importance of Communication in Innovation

Fear of Change
Innovation is synonymous with change. Needless to say, change for most people is something terrifying and much harder to accept than the status-quo. Since in the end innovation is basically change you must expect the result to be fear and resistance is inevitable.

One of the leading causes of failure in any change process is the lack or vagueness in regard to communicating change. When people are kept in the dark it leads to an even greater fear related to change, the fear of the unknown.

When it comes to innovation this is particularly true due to some of the functions that your change such as innovation of internal processes, business models, or organizational restructuring. In these situations people could perceive threats where the are none. In these situations you must communicate every aspect of the change in detail and show the benefits of this change to the employees.

This sounds so simple on paper but the reality is that this is were most organizations fail when it comes to their change implementation plans. Acquiring buy in from employees, even projects that will make their lives easier, is one of the most challenging aspects of innovation. Hence the importance of communication in relation to the innovation process. It all starts with being as detailed as possible. You must communicate the benefits of the project, any ramifications that the project will have on the community including if the change will cause any job losses, the organizational need for the project, and any goals that the project has.

If you remember when you were a child, your parents needed to hold your hand and explain things in a very detailed manner for you to accept anything unknown. I truly wish that this was a trait that we would mature out of but that isn't the case. Adults and employees, much like children, quite often require this same attention to detail and hand holding when it comes to change.

Having a great vision of the future for your organization but if you are not able to coherently and in detail explain this vision your organization will never end up at that vision. For your organization to excel in innovation you really must communicate it to your employees and acquire their buy in. Otherwise you only have vision but no real path.

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