Operational barriers to business success can be costly. This paper will focus on such barriers and will identify three barriers that can stand on the way of an organization in its bid to adopt innovative practices. The paper will also zero on one organization that has been exposed to such barriers and the steps taken by the organization to overcome such barriers. The success of such an approach will be evaluated. Towards the end of the paper, alternative approaches that could have been deployed to overcome the barrier in the identified organization will be evaluated.
Tools to Help in the Identification of Barriers
Several tools are at the disposal of organizations to help identify barriers. Many companies will use such tools to identify barriers, and this is important since it helps in the planning process on how to work around such barriers as opined by Wirtz, Pistoia, Ullrich, and Göttel (2016). One important tool at the disposal of organizations in identifying barriers to success is the use of surveys. A survey offers an organization the opportunity to cross-examine its stakeholders including customers, suppliers, creditors, employees or the public among others and identify the existing problem. This tool is of particular importance, especially when customers are involved. It can be used to conduct a needs analysis, which can inform important customer needs or employee needs that can hinder the success of a company. Important feedback can be obtained from the stakeholders and the organization can utilize such feedback to identify barriers that may waylay it in the future.
The second tool is communication. The importance of communication as a tool to identify barriers cannot be underestimated, especially at all levels as expressed by Uhl and Gollenia (2016). When a team in a company is in good communication, it is easy to map out specific problems being encountered by a company and at the same breadth brainstorm possible solutions to the identified problems. This approach ensures that all team members feel involved and as such, are likely to be actively engaged in the process of identifying problems and finding potential solutions.
Barriers Impeding the Ability to Adopt Innovation
Organizations face different barriers that can impede their abilities to be innovative. To begin with, inadequate funding can be a critical impediment in the process of adopting innovation as expressed by Hueske and Guenther (2015). Having funds provided for at the right time in an innovation cycle is critical in ensuring that organizations are able to match their ambitions to be innovative. The inadequacy of funds means that the process stops at critical moments.
The second possible barrier is risk avoidance, a concept that has been explored by Laukkanen (2015). It is often not guaranteed that innovations will work or deliver the intended outcomes. Organizations that want to remain in their comfort zones will have very reduced impetus to innovate, as doing so will remove them from their zones. Failure to take risks gives room to competition and this further complicates issues, especially in the future. A company that is not willing to take risks automatically takes the risk to fail.
The third barrier is time constraints. Innovation is a costly affair, especially considering the time resource. Having a company commit significant time to innovation projects whose outcomes are not guaranteed might be a considerable barrier. The possible outcomes when compared to other activities that the organization can be engaged in must be higher to convince the company to take up the challenge.
Nokia and its Barriers
Nokia was an industry titan. The company was highly successful in the mobile telephony industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The company did not understand that the new future of mobile communication would be anchored on data and internet. The company remained fixated on the voice business, and was not doing much on the concept of software and instead, focused on hardware. The company failed to understand user needs and the result was a messy operating system, which according to Ciesielska (2018) was leveraging on a closed software system. It refused to jump ship to the smartphone industry with an open system and left the entire industry to Steve Jobs who brought in the iPhone in 2007. Other players such as Samsung entered the market and effectively edged out Nokia.
To handle the changing tides, Nokia tried to compete using the Android operating system. The strategy failed miserably since it was a late move. Apple and Samsung had gotten the first movers advantage and Nokia had to remain in the woods since it could not convince the market of its innovativeness. Should I have been an executive at Nokia, I would have kept tabs on any development taking place in the telephony world. The company should have engaged the market to understand whether software was preferred over hardware and approach the barrier with significant resources. Nokia ought to have engaged its customers on a higher level and experimented with ideas that were not in their current line of business. When Apple delivered the first iPhone, Nokia would have followed closely and delivered its version of smartphones.
Innovation is a concise activity that requires appreciation or risks and well-coordinated approach that considers the time and financial constraints. Organizations need to identify different tools that can be used to map out barriers to their innovation processes and act accordingly, and not mix up things like Nokia.
Ciesielska, M. (2018). Nokia on the slope: The failure of a hybrid open/closed source model. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 19(3), 218-225.
Gopalakrishnan, S., Kessler, E. H., & Scillitoe, J. L. (2010). Navigating the innovation landscape: Past research, present practice, and future trends. Organization Management Journal, 7(4), 262–277. doi:10.1057/omj.2010.36 (ProQuest Document ID: 820961459)
Hueske, A. K., & Guenther, E. (2015). What hampers innovation? External stakeholders, the organization, groups, and individuals: a systematic review of empirical barrier research. Management Review Quarterly, 65(2), 113-148.
Laukkanen, T. (2015, January). How uncertainty avoidance affects innovation resistance in mobile banking: The moderating role of age and gender. In System Sciences (HICSS), 2015 48th Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 3601-3610). IEEE.
Uhl, A., & Gollenia, L. A. (Eds.). (2016). Business transformation management methodology. Routledge.
Wirtz, B. W., Pistoia, A., Ullrich, S., & Göttel, V. (2016). Business models: Origin, development and future research perspectives. Long range planning, 49(1), 36-54.
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