Individual Innovation and Organizational Success: Theoretical Perspective

By Tewari, Ritu | Review of Management, April-June 2011 | Go to article overview

Individual Innovation and Organizational Success: Theoretical Perspective


Tewari, Ritu, Review of Management


'Innovation and creativity are the keys as no progress can be achieved by just repeating history, unless one makes a conscious effort to make a new one, always and every time'.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Introduction

As we moved from industrial economy to knowledge economy sometimes ago, time has now come to make further transitions to what we may call an "innovation economy". If financial and structural capital represented old economies, present corporate boast of their market value, which would be many times over, when compared to their physical assets value. Intangible assets, like brand equity, marketing capability, patents, progresses, technologies and managerial skills, constitute, what is called "intellectual capital. which would now create new wealth.

When encouraged, people tend to imagine (imagination capital) resulting in innovation, where the newness could be just either incremental or radical. In either of the cases, the creativity phase gets started, leading to the implementation of a new idea. The process ideally should start with the identification of a problem, finding option of various creative solutions, discussing them in a team or group and then finalizing one. Thus no innovation becomes the product of a single creative mind but is the culmination of the thought processes of a large number of such minds.

So we can say, innovation is the process of creative and novel idea to put it into some practical use ; and an innovation in a work organization implies change in status quo Innovation promises strategies for meeting the challenge of change in work organizations .By developing a more sophisticated understanding of the process and outcome of innovations ,it may be better understood how organizations can evolve to meet the challenges of change for fulfilling the expectations of internal as well as external stakeholders.

Leaders of successful, high-growth companies understand that innovation is what drives growth, and innovation is achieved by awesome people with a shared relentless growth attitude and shared passion for problem solving and for turning ideas into realities. The focus of innovation is to allow the organization to respond to an external or internal opportunity, and use its creative efforts to introduce new ideas; processes or products.it involves workers at every level in contributing creatively to a company's development, manufacturing, and marketing. By utilizing appropriate innovation management tools, management can trigger and deploy the creative juices of the whole work force towards the continuous development of a company.

Literature Review

Previous studies suggest that organizations can indeed benefit from individual innovation. Campbell, Gasser and Oswald (1996) empirically demonstrated a positive link between innovation-specific behaviors and organizational performance. Miron, Erez and Naveh (2004) found that individual innovation does not diminish the quality and efficiency of normal work. Employees are well able to balance between being innovative and paying attention to their regular work. They conclude that personal and organizational characteristics necessary to promote innovation, quality and efficiency complement rather than compete with each other. In this context, Getz and Robinson (2003) posit an interesting rule of thumb: companies that track the source of improvement ideas find that 80% of improvement ideas come from their employees and only 20% come through planned innovation activities.

Previous work on individual innovation and organizational performance says that individual innovation is closely related to organizational performance. Thompson (1996) defines innovation as the generation, acceptance, and implementation of new ideas, processes, products, or services. According to Zaltman et al. and Rogers (1995), it is an idea, practice, or material artifact perceived as new by the relevant unit of adoption. Amabile et al. (1996) define innovation as the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization (1998). …

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