Innovation, Communication and Stakeholder Involvement
Effective communication is focused on creating openness between the senior and the junior staff. It results in enhanced employee involvement and a rise in productivity. It also makes employees feel like a part of the process rather than as means of something. The latter one can largely limit the performance of employees in all areas of the operation while the earlier one provides a bridge to an understanding amongst stakeholders and hence better performance in any endeavor. Communication is generally important in every communication aspect (Lim, Ahn, & Lee, 2005).
Communication is no doubt fundamental throughout the process of innovation. Just like it is important at the initial stages of innovation, so it is during innovation termination. Despite the changes in the communication landscape, many groups/entities still find themselves communicating in a manner similar to the ancient bricklaying supervisors who tell the bricklayers nothing as to why they are laying the bricks (Lim, Ahn, & Lee, 2005). Today, it is important to let the team involved in the process of innovation know why it is terminated and whether it is a success or a failure. If it is successful, project members want to know how successful it is, the shortcomings encountered during the project, and the future of the innovation (Savage, Nix, Whitehead, & Blair, 1991). Sharing such information helps the project members feel that their contribution is appreciated. Everybody wants to feel appreciated, and the bricklayers are no exception.
Moreover, it is important to let the project members know how the innovation will be handled in the future. This is like feedback for their contribution and goes a long way in building the project member’s morale to come up with more innovation in the future. It is also important to acknowledge that communicating with project members during innovation termination gives them an opportunity to contribute further ideas with respect to the future of the innovation.
A participatory approach in innovation is very crucial to its success. Innovation is about ideas and various stakeholders are likely to have different ideas which are beneficial to the process of innovation. A number of levels of participation are necessary to ensure that lower-level stakeholders participate constructively in the process of innovation. The level-based participation approach acknowledges that stakeholder participation is a continuous process or a continuum that ranges from the participation of low-level stakeholders to high-level stakeholder participation (Lim, Ahn, & Lee, 2005). The first level is constituted of information that provides balanced and objective information to all stakeholders ensuring that the problem is well understood as per the level of contribution required.
The second level is consultation. It allows obtaining feedback on stakeholder input. It acknowledges the concerns raised and also provides feedback on how the input of stakeholders has influenced the final decision (Savage, Nix, Whitehead, & Blair, 1991). Consultation paves way for collaboration where stakeholders partner on every decision-making element including coming up with alternatives and hence identification of the preferential solutions. Lastly, it is important to empower and capacitate stakeholders by involving them in decision-making and hence making them feel responsible for the ultimate decisions.
Lim. G, Ahn, H., & Lee, H. (2005). Formulating strategies for stakeholder management: a case-based reasoning approach. Expert Systems with Applications, 28:831-840
Savage, G.T, Nix, T.W., Whitehead, C.J., & Blair, J. D. (1991). Strategies for assessing and managing organizational stakeholders. Academy of Management Executive, 5(2):61–75.