We live and work in an era of rapidly accelerating change with frequent upheavals and interruptions. Everywhere we look, traditional structures are abruptly being reshaped or falling down. Many organizations that prospered during more stable times – times that rewarded routinized efficiency – now find themselves poorly adapted to today’s new economic and social realities.
Once successful companies are finding that their sure-hit formulas no longer work. Long revered icons of organizational excellence have been humbled, and even bailed out of bankruptcy and imminent demise by government intervention. Individuals, families and entire communities are finding the world shifting beneath their feet as traditional markets, industries, societal structures, and sources of employment disappear under the impact of new information technologies, global competition, lack of regulation of financial institutions, uncertainty about global warming, transitioning to new energy sources, and a restructuring of the world economy.
It is not surprising that organizations whose main virtues during previous times were predictability and reliability should find it difficult to adapt to this increasingly dynamic environment. Their employees, too, are struggling to deal with these changing times as the vast scale of change has resulted in an unprecedented need for information processing and problem solving skills. But within the scope of the challenge lies a great opportunity for the future prosperity of organizations everywhere.
Finding opportunity in economic uncertainty and turbulence requires a corporate mindset eager to embrace change and innovation, and determined to benefit from it. By making a deliberate choice to incorporate an innovation process into everyday work at all levels and across all disciplines, organizations can achieve sustained competitive advantage, positive people outcomes organizations can achieve sustained competitive advantage, positive people outcomes, a “how might we?” attitude, and an inevitable change to a more innovative culture.