HBR did a survey of roadblocks to innovation. They interviewed 270 people in large US companies. They learned that politics, turf wars, lack of alignment and such things are the clear number one problem. Collaboration and innovation as words get thrown around a lot and may be on the wall of many businesses, but writing on the wall does not do it.
Cultural problems were listed number 2. Both had over 50% of people indicating this. In the top 10 reasons only budgeting was a non people issue.
Collaboration and Innovation More Then Putting on the Wall
Consistent innovation and collaboration are very hard to achieve. Pat Lencioni in Five Dysfunctions of a Team indicates that you can reach that high in the crucible of healthy open conflict . He also shows that you had to kick out the actors and politicians. My experience verifies what Pat writes about.
Joe likes plan A and Mike likes Plan B. Joes does not like Plan B as not his plan. Plan A feels bad to Mike. It is natural. Both plans have limitations as it represents one person or one department’s thinking. To get to collaboration means these too need to have an open honest conflict and let others also input. Then plan C can sometimes emerge. Collaboration and innovation can come just this way. This is not easy to get. Training on this idea will not get you there. You need the right leadership and the right management before two leaders can develop enough trust to make it happen. Also take a look at A Plan For Continual Improvement.
Those same leaders will also be getting ideas from the floor every day and not just sitting in their office. They create safety with the workers and obtain complaints and insights that others cannot get. When you have this, innovation starts to move and keeps coming. You can only do that well if you have very low politics and turf wars. You need consistently strong hiring and that is why companies come to us. They realize that getting lucky sometimes is not enough. To much politics and too much money lost somehow is disheartening. We love to bring light into these places. On the plus side, upward thinking leads to the strong positives of collaboration and innovation.