Saturday, June 28, 2008

Copycat award: A step towards addressing NIH syndrome

Fourth India Innovation Summit: I attended Fourth India Innovation Summit at Leela, Bangalore last week organized by CII. Like the previous one I attended three years back in 2005, I enjoyed the conference where a number of innovation champions spoke on various themes like innovation in emerging markets, systematic innovation, innovation ecosystem, and innovation in rural India etc. In the next few articles, I will write about the themes which I found interesting.

Copycat Award: Madhabi Puri Buch, Executive Director, from ICICI Bank spoke about innovation management efforts at her organization. According to her, the topmost hurdle in keeping innovation going at ICICI is the “Not Invented Here (NIH)” syndrome. This mindset makes it difficult to implement an idea in one department when it has actually come from some other department. Well, this is what ICICI Bank has done. They have introduced a prestigious award called “Copycat award”. This award is given to the team which demonstrates successful implementation of an idea which has come from somewhere else.

Creativity and Execution: At the root of NIH mindset is the belief that “creativity” part of innovation is “cool” and “execution” is uncool. If I haven’t done the “cool” part, why should I do the “uncool” part? To quote Prof. Vijay Govindarajan from his book 10 Rules for Strategic Innovators: We think of organization’s capacity for innovation as the product of creativity and execution. Some quick math: which is more effective – lifting your creativity score from 6 to 7, or doubling your execution score from 1 to 2? Nonetheless, most companies, when hoping to improve innovation, focus on generating ideas. Managers obsess over the front end of the innovation. But the real leverage is in the backend – in execution. It is not the idea that counts; it is what you do with it.

Well, how about copying the “copycat award” process to begin with?

1 comment:

  1. This is a great step to take NIH head on

    but this is also copycat .. To use patent language this concept is not ‘new’, ‘unique’ or ‘non obvious’ :)

    --BT Global gives a bottle of champagne every month to the person who makes most of other people’s ideas.

    --Allied Domencq gives a similar award at its annual conferences.
    British Petroleum gives a “Thief of the Year” award

    --Texas Instruments gives “NIH here but I did it anyway award”

    Checkout HBS book Working Knowledge by Prusak, which will give more dough on this