“Innovation” is more than just a business buzzword—it’s an initiative companies make a priority when wanting to increase profitability or meet changing market demands. It’s what successful businesses consistently seek to achieve. However, successfully innovating is easier said than done.

There are a number of obstacles that get in the way of a company being successfully innovative. The following are five in particular that become obstacles to innovation:

  1. A company culture that resists change. The workforce needs to be ready and willing to engage in and accept changes in the business. When your culture and workforce aren’t supportive, you don’t have the very individuals needed to make those changes a realty. While strategic decisions are left to the “decision-makers” of the organization, communication of innovation as well as the “why” attached to these ideas will be crucial in getting the enthusiastic buy-in of your workforce.
  2. Leadership that does not support change. Company leaders need to be willing to invest in and support innovation from a budgetary, resource, and timeline standpoint. It can be difficult and seemingly risky as a decision-maker to adjust the status-quo and support change. There’s a lot potentially riding on the line for these individuals. Regardless of resistance, a consistent dialogue of how and why change is important will be necessary.
  3. Lack of resources to implement innovation wisely. Companies need to strategically mobilize staff and resources in enacting an innovation process. Successful innovation takes more than a fantastic idea or concept, it takes effective execution of those ideas, which takes time, talent, and monetary resources.
  4. Lack of awareness of customer needs. Especially in commodity markets, companies must deeply understand the needs of their customers, who may not be looking for product-based innovation. Doing the research necessary to truly understand your market may force you to potentially adjust your existing priorities and processes.
  5. Lack of strategic thinking about innovation. Companies need to avoid implementing one-off or random innovations; instead, they should make sure their innovation program connects with their overall business strategy. This requires having a secure business strategy, one that is revisited often—which can sometimes be difficult for companies to successfully maintain.

When you put all of these factors together, you get a fairly complex challenge to innovation efforts on the part of a company. These obstacles are common roadblocks for many companies. However, they can be overcome. In my next post I’ll present four ways to successfully innovate. In the meantime, learn more about how to integrate more innovation within your company’s culture by visiting, barrybreede.com.