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The Vistage Four Principles of Innovation

The Vistage Four Principles of Innovation
To push your company into a high-reward quadrant, follow these four guiding principles to improve your innovation strategy:

1. CREATE A CULTURE THAT VALUES, SUPPORTS, AND EXPECTS INNOVATION.
This has to start at the top of the organization. Rally your teams around the goals of improving processes, tightening workflows, and clarifying communications. Fight the status quo, and work in relentless pursuit of performance.

2. REMEMBER THAT INNOVATION DOESN’T HAVE TO BE MASSIVE—OR DISRUPTIVE—TO MATTER.
Innovation is about breaking through perceived limitations. It can take the form of introducing robotics on the factory floor, deploying cloud-based supply chain tools, developing a new product capability, or simply refining a message to the market. Incremental changes can reap big rewards.

3. WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, DON’T PANIC; PIVOT. HOW YOU REACT TO A PROBLEM IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.
High-performance organizations react to a problem by assessing it quickly and creating consensus around a solution. Companies in the Status Quo zone, by contrast, assign blame and wait for others to fix the problem. The result is mediocrity, or worse.

4. PREPARE FOR THREATS BEYOND “GETTING AMAZONED.”
While it’s possible that Amazon could enter your market tomorrow, there are other worst-case scenarios that are more likely to happen. For example, a competitor might launch a product in your best region or recruit those employees who are most critical to your business as innovators and leaders. A natural disaster might destroy your most valuable infrastructure. To prepare for these events, work with your leadership team to figure out how you would respond to them.

And finally, take calculated risks. To become a business success story, sometimes you have to leap into the unknown and take a chance on innovation.

What matters most is that your company develops an intentional approach to innovation, and that you’re aware of the risks and rewards associated with the strategy that you choose.

Joe Galvin, Vistage chief research officer
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