Enabling Innovation the "No Excuses" Way

By Heilmeier, George H. | Research-Technology Management, May/June 2000 | Go to article overview

Enabling Innovation the "No Excuses" Way


Heilmeier, George H., Research-Technology Management


Focus on business success, implement the ten enables, and you might just get lucky.

If managers and leaders want to catalyze and foster innovation in the 21 st century, they must work to create what I like to call a "no excuses" environment. However, my definition of a "no excuses" environment is not what you may be thinking. It is not a "produce or else" environment but, rather, an environment in which as many barriers to innovation as possible are removed or mitigated so that success is not impeded and there are "no excuses" for not succeeding.

My definition of innovation is invention, or doing things differently, that leads to a business success. By this definition, without a business success, there is no innovation; hence, the enablers must focus on the end game-a business success. This is an output-oriented process in contrast to the input-oriented process that, in the past, characterized too many R&D activities.

Ten Enablers of Innovation

My "top ten" list of innovation enablers that technical innovators look for in a "home" include the following:

1. Stimulating, knowledgeable colleagues.

2. A "can do" environment.

3. Adequate resources and tools to do the job. …

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