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Why 90% of innovation initiatives fail in well-managed organisations

Part 1: Jac Spies, Chief Advisor at Praesignis, discusses innovation investments, why they fail, and how to beat innovation failures - in this three-part insight series.
Why 90% of innovation initiatives fail in well-managed organisations

We all were taught that good management is about planning, implementing, and controlling.

Jac Spies, Chief Advisor at Praesignis
Jac Spies, Chief Advisor at Praesignis
Investigating why most innovation investments fail in well managed organisations, we found that management planning focuses on profits, established systems, and minimum-risk decisions. A management team that thinks the same, people that love fixed policies, standard operating procedures, and predictable outcomes.

These established cultures are exactly what innovators avoid because they love change, and the excitement of trying something different. Standard operating procedures are shackles that chain their creativeness to stone walls in dungeons of sameness.

We don’t always realise that the attributes of good innovators are the opposite of good managers.

Good ideas don’t fall from heaven or come out of suggestion boxes. It is about finding different inventive solutions for problems, or future needs, which require people with unique attributes, skills, processes, and tools to resolve.

Quoting Langdon Morris1: “Innovation is essential to survival, and all innovation is strategic. Innovation is literally how organizations create their own futures. As a process and an organizational priority, it cannot be separated from the development and implementation of strategy. Hence, the development of a highly productive innovation capability is one of the most important strategic priorities for any organization.”

Why 90% of innovation initiatives fail in well-managed organisations

This, dear reader, means we need to invest and develop skills to identify future needs timely, solve problems inventively, and continually re-create our products and services to meet future demands.

To provide for these emerging needs Praesignis has invested significantly in developing unique training programs, certificates, and degrees in partnership with the Da Vinci Institute to develop budding employees in agile business management and the management of innovation. Focusing on world leading training methodologies, updated and new bodies of knowledge, hands-on assignments on real issues within the company, which has immediate added value to the organisation.

Typical BCom in the Management of Innovation can be seen in Table 1 below:

Why 90% of innovation initiatives fail in well-managed organisations

The modules in table 1 printed in black are the fundamental management knowledge that are required for leading industries that acknowledge the imperatives of technology and systems thinking.

The modules printed in red are the leading-edge knowledge and skill that are required to enable commercial viable innovation initiatives, knowledge and skills that are significant different than that of functional management.

An important differentiator of the Da Vinci-Praesignis BCom in the Management of Innovation, is that the modules on innovation are facilitated by proven industry experts, in innovation practices that mentor and coach the students on how to apply their newly gained knowledge, on real problems in their organisations, by means of post module assignments and integrated work-base assignments. Note that this method of imbedding knowledge and developing skills are not through memorisation to be regurgitated in test and exam papers. It is hands-on application of knowledge that ensure that the student is also returning value to the organisation.

The three core skills that are developed to enable successful innovation initiatives are that of: The Innovation Champions, The Innovation Geniuses, and The Innovation Leaders.

Advisory Services will give more detail in the next article on the attributes, their specific knowledge bases, skills, and tools.

More details on the collaborative BCom on the Management of Innovation, related one-year Certificates, and training courses that are on offer directly from Praesignis, can be obtained from Jac Spies at 082 903 6006, or

1Langdon Morris (2001). Permanent Innovation. Innovation Academy (USA)

19 Jun 2017 17:42