Over the past year, we have introduced you to the Nimble Hippo. He is our representation of what an agile, nimble, and innovative organization looks like. Nimble Hippos are big, they are smart, they are curious and they ask great questions. They partner where they can. And, finally, they are cool. The most innovative companies in the world express these five traits across their organization and tend to be very successful because of them.

The Nimble Hippo has taken you through the process of innovation in large organizations. He has talked about open innovation and how to engage with innovative ecosystems like Communitech. Recently he has begun to explore culture and how to build an innovative culture in traditional, non-innovative companies.

But there are many well-intentioned hippos that have yet to get to nimble. They implement policies and procedures that they believe will help their organization become nimble, but end up doing more harm than good. Let’s look at the top five ways large organizations can get themselves on Santa Hippo’s naughty list:

  1. Ask for lots of ideas from the employees, but do nothing with them.
  2. Jump on the ‘design thinking’ or ‘lean startup’ bandwagon, yet don’t change any of the structure or policies internally which enable them.
  3. Set unrealistic revenue targets for innovation teams.
  4. Give one executive the title of Chief Innovation Officer, but provide no support to deliver on the mandate of innovation.
  5. Talk about innovation and risk taking, but punish those employees who take risks and fail.

Innovation is a hot topic right now for most organizations. The reason is that large organizations which have typically been able to dictate the market trends are finding themselves behind and trying to play catch-up. Many executives will begin to implement ideas and small initiatives to spur innovation, but ultimately when the big changes are raised, the company isn’t ready for the required changes to create an innovative company. They want to talk about it, but aren’t willing to do the heavy lifting and install management that is required to deliver on it.

Getting on Santa Hippo’s naughty list is a trap that many organizations fall into. Thankfully there is a series of activities and changes that companies can make to help get them on the nice list. You can look back at a few of our most popular blog posts and see how get off that naughty list and onto the nice list.

Most popular blog posts

Getting started on a collaborative model of innovation

Dropping the curtain on innovation theatre

Full Speed Ahead

 

Most popular podcasts

Punit Soni on mobile strategy

Scott Bedbury on telling your story

Amanda Lang on big company fear

As we head into the holiday season, we are working on some exciting new initiatives and interviews for 2017. New podcast interviews with some world-class innovators and disruptors.  More stories from people in the trenches innovating in large organizations and creating new Nimble Hippos. And finally there will be some big developments for the Nimble Hippo as he continues to build his ‘crash’ (a group of hippos is called a crash!).

2017 will be very fun and exciting for our beloved Nimble Hippo. We hope you will continue to share and rate the content.

About The Author

Craig Haney
Director, Corporate Innovation, Communitech

Craig is leading the charge for corporate innovation in Canada. His work with Canadian Tire Innovations helped launch the LeanLab project at Communitech, helping large, non-tech companies become faster and more innovative by engaging with startups. As Director of Corporate Innovation at Communitech, his focus is to grow the ecosystem by exposing small companies to big problems they can solve for some of Canada’s largest players. Craig has an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario and a Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technonogy (MBET) from the University of Waterloo.