Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

Research Proves Why You Should Enable Your Organization To Innovate

Posted by Greg Lemmon on Sep 22, 2015, 10:00:00 AM

If you want to lead innovation, get prepared to give up some control and trust the system. innovation system trust

Organizational Centralization is the extent decisions are centralized and controlled by senior executives. Are you trying to control everything (high centralization) or are you enabling others in the organization (low centralization)?

How do you think this impacts your organizations ability to innovate?A study thought that a high level of centralization would lower the organizational absorptive capacity (ability to learn more than competition), and thus the lower the degree of organizational innovation. As well as lead to slower decision speeds, and again lower the degree of organizational innovation.


Basically hypothesizing that centralization is bad for innovation. 

The study measured 260 organizations. Their first hypothesis was supported by the data. When leadership controls everything, employees can’t learn.

The hypothesis that centralization slows speed was overturned by the data. Fast decision speed still had a positive effect on innovation, but the data couldn’t significantly show that centralization impacts speed. 

Based on my experience, I agree with that finding. When leaders insist on controlling innovation, they can still make decisions quickly and innovate innovation controlquickly. The downside isn’t their speed, it is the quantity of innovations the organization can actively have in their pipeline. Because only leadership can make decisions and move innovations forward, less innovations get created and developed. 

If you want to grow innovation, then enable your employees. Allow them to learn, test, and create. Remember that your job is to LEAD, NOT CONTROL.

Here is the name of the study from Contemporary Management Research that sparked this blog post:

The Effects of Absorptive Capacity and Decision Speed on Organizational Innovation: A Study of Organizational Structure as an Antecedent Variable 

Check out this tool we use to help lead innovation -- it will help you to set your organization's mission:

Free Strategy Tool

Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, leadership

Greg Lemmon

Written by Greg Lemmon

Greg joined the team in 2008 after graduating from Northern Kentucky University. Since then he conducted over 3,000 sales forecast for new innovations, innovated how we teach research as well as developed and programed an online system for rapid research. Greg is passionate about researching innovation and developing new to the world systems to make innovation easier for organizations.

Welcome to the first blog from the Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute team.  Here you will find a diverse group of innovators dedicated to changing the world by transforming innovation from a random gamble to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed and decreased risk.


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