Breaking Down Barriers
Tom Flaherty is a partner with Strategy&, part of the PwC network, with over forty years of consulting experience. Most recently, he has led assignments related to standing up innovation programs and capabilities within utilities.
When executives constantly hear about how they should focus on innovation in their businesses, they typically have an immediate reaction. They wonder what this new version of innovation looks like compared to what they have been doing for years.
Most executives will retort they have long been exhorting their teams to reach beyond their grasp, reinvent their future, or embrace a similar colloquial phrase. But these executives will also acknowledge what they have historically been asking for was either grounded in a traditional view of business success or unspecific about expectations or outcomes.
Executives can legitimately believe that the innovation they have been pressing their teams to pursue has been about continually enhancing operations. Yet this version of innovation was always destined to be more limited than the version needed for today's marketplace, which is about reshaping the business.
Executives outwardly struggle with the notion that they now need to focus on becoming more visibly innovative. After all, hasn't this been their mission for decades? But it is also why the needed focus of tomorrow's innovation is so different and why a real challenge exists to remove barriers to success.