Innovation Architecture of Organizations
According to Miller and Wedell-Wedellsborg (2013), innovation is at the core of operations in the organization. Innovation is one of the factors that help organizations survive amidst the rapidly evolving contemporary society that witnesses change primarily due to technological development. A work environment that nurtures innovation, according to Miller and Wedell-Wedellsborg (2013), must have an innovation architecture that facilitates an organization’s move towards innovation. Considering these points, the succeeding report explores the innovation architectures in three different companies – Apple, Google, and Procter & Gamble. The innovation architectures in these companies will be described and analyzed. In addition, an assessment will be conducted to determine the factors or conditions that stifle innovation and intrapreneurship within the organization. Furthermore, the discussion will also explore ideas presented and include a reflection of the concepts that would be raised.
Apple was able to capitalize on innovation and intrapreneurship compared to the competition because of leadership within the company itself. People credit Apple’s success to former CEO Steve Jobs’ vision for the company. Corporate culture and leadership at Apple were the driving force to the company’s continuous drive for innovation. If we were to compare Apple’s goals and objectives for innovation to that of other companies, we would see that they share similarities. Most companies want to innovate and like Apple, they want to become market leaders through innovation. Nonetheless, Apple’s innovation architecture was founded on leadership and corporate culture. When Jobs became the CEO of Apple, he changed corporate culture by incorporation creativity and innovation as the cornerstone of product development in the company. Jobs communicated his vision and inspired innovation throughout the organization.
Part of Apple’s success is because Jobs worked with like-minded people. Since the thrust of Apple’s product development was innovation, Jobs, as formerly noted, communicated his vision for Apple. Consequently, he hired talented people who understood Jobs’ vision and were willing to deliver the goals and objectives of innovation in the company (Fischer, 2011). Jobs worked closely with people in the organization. He unified or aligned the goals and objectives of all departments in the company from research and development to product and development, as well as marketing, among others. Jobs knew that for the company to succeed, all operations must be geared towards one goal. Hence, goals and objectives for innovation were unified within the organization.
Google’s innovation structure is its management. Unlike Apple, Google has long been managed by a team. Google does not rely on a CEO but on an expert team of knowledgeable, skilled, and competent individuals to make decisions when it comes to innovation. Google understands that with the fast pace of contemporary society brought about by the ongoing digital revolution, decision-makers in the organization should be able to understand this phenomenon so they can make important decisions towards innovation based on current trends and future predictions. For this reason, Google employs a management team of people from the younger generations – Generations X and Y. Google knows that by employing young people who were raised in the digital era, they understand how technology works best and would be able to introduce new innovative practices and strategies to the organization (Nussbaum, 2011). In a way, Google’s innovation architecture is based on its innovation of the management structure. While other companies adopt a bureaucratic approach that is dependent on the decisions of a leader, Google encourages shared decision-making in the organization and takes advantage of the knowledge and creativity of people within the organization to drive innovation and change. Overall, Google was able to capitalize on innovation because the company is open to new ideas and refuses to abide by traditional norms that defined companies.
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is a multinational organization that manufactures and distributes different brands within the same product categories. To compete with other large-scale organizations such as Johnson & Johnson’s, Procter & Gamble adopted an open innovation network as its innovation architecture. Procter & Gamble’s Open Innovation Strategy diverges from the common practice in businesses or organizations. To inspire innovation, organizations build their own Research & Development (R&D) teams to conduct marketing research and determine trends in the market. In house R&D teams help the organization make decisions on what products to create next based on current needs or demands, trends, and opportunities for improvement based on technological development.
Procter & Gamble, however, chose to innovate by asking help externally through its Open Innovation Structure. Through this innovation architecture, Procter & Gamble works with third parties to gather information or data that would inspire innovation in the organization. The company, for instance, works with research partners such as colleges or universities, and public or private laboratories, among others to gather information. Consequently, Procter & Gamble makes innovation decisions based on knowledge gleaned from various sources. In this way, the company obtains a myriad of ideas from different sources, compare, contrast, and analyze existing information, and determine the best path for innovation (Kaplan & Winby, n.d.).
Reflection and Conclusion
The foregoing discussion illustrates the innovation architecture at three different organizations – Apple, Google, and Procter & Gamble. Apple’s innovative thrust is a result of leadership and solid corporate culture. At Google, the company’s innovative management structure drives innovation. At Procter & Gamble, the company’s relationship with third parties through its Open Innovation Structure helps the management make decisions regarding innovation and product and development. Based on the success of Apple, Google, and Procter & Gamble, I think that the structures or processes that would stifle innovation and intrapreneurship include traditional culture that rejects contemporary thought and practices, inability of organizations to adjust to change, poor leadership and vision, and rejection of outside ideas. Unwillingness to change or adapt to changes in the external environment is a barrier to creativity and innovation. Similarly, poor leadership and vision renders the organization unable to look into possibilities for innovation.
Considering the concepts learned about innovation in the discussion as well as from existing literature, if I were to become an innovation architect, I would adopt a combination of Apple’s corporate culture, Google’s management structure and Procter &Gamble’s approach to innovation and product development by investing in an organization’s relationship with third parties. I believe that creating a corporate culture of knowledge creation and sharing would inspire innovation in the workplace. In addition, working with a team of young people would help the organization understand the present culture and innovate based on society’s needs and demands. Finally, working with third parties will help the organization expand its views and perspectives when it comes to innovation. It is important to draw ideas from various sources to inspire innovation.
Fischer, B. (2011). Air Cover: Innovation’s Secret Ingredient. Retrieved from: http://www.imd.org/research/challenges/steve-jobs-innovation-leadership-apple-bill-fischer.cfm
Kaplan, S. & Winby, S. (n.d.). Organizational Models for Innovation. Retrieved from: http://www.innovation-point.com/Organizational%20Models%20for%20Innovation.pdf
Miller, P. & Wedell-Wedellsborg, T. (2013). Innovation as usual: How to help your people bring great ideas to life. Harvard, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
Nussbaum, B. (2011). Google’s Greatest Innovation may be its Management Practice. Retrieved from: http://www.fastcompany.com/1720052/googles-greatest-innovation-may-be-its-management-practice