Are the management style of Indian CEO’s stifling innovation?

At least, that’s the premise of this article published in the Harvard Business School press.

http://discussionleader.hbsp.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1365

While I agree that management culture can certainly stifle the growth of innovation from the bottom up, i disagree with his conclusion about the solution being the use of technology, namely social networking tools.

Forrester (disclaimer – I used to work at AMR Research, a competitor) is primarily a technology advisory company and as such, the recommendations are from a technology biased perspective.  That’s why Navi’s recommendation to

To facilitate innovation in this new fluid and dynamic organizational context, Indian CEOs must invest in Web 2.0-enabled employee motivation technologies like prediction marketplaces, idea management apps, and employee blogs.

falls a bit flat and sounds more like an attempt to drum up business for their advisory service. Any serious talk about innovation cannot happen through the perspective of technology alone. During my internship at Target’s Innovation Group, I was lucky to see their efforts at bringing the idea of innovation throughout the organization. They used none of the technology Navi is talking about, but they were extremely focused on making sure that their employees recognized that innovation was not just the responsibility of the single group, but rather that the group would act as facilitators in making sure all ideas were heard.

The idea is not to lead with technology when change can happen with people instead. If employees don’t feel the desire to innovate, no amount of Web 2.0 apps could help.

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