Drucker saw innovation as being one of the reasons for an organization to be in existence. He saw innovation being fed by his principle of abandonment. The freeing of resources to be allocated to something new.
Drucker was adamant that leaders nurture innovation and not try and force it through to production without adequate testing. His often quoted “Babies don’t belong in the living room, they belong in the nursery” indicated his belief of pilot testing at three separate sites before mass production.
Jack Welch was the champion of innovation. He lead the introduction of six sigma and ecommerce into GE, he was also responsible for being the catalyst of the massive IT software industry in India by being the first multinational company to contract Indian companies to develop software for them. He saw six sigma as improving the customer’s experiences, lowering costs and at the same time building better leaders.
Hamel, Welch, Collins and Peters & Waterman are preaching the need to innovate and not spend too much time trying to second guess whether it will work or not. All the ‘built to last’ companies featured by Jim Collins came up with their big ideas through a bit of serendipity. Jim Collins refers to it as very much like Darwin’s survival of the fittest. Try a lot of things and only let the strong ideas survive. In the Motorola example he points out that Motorola see innovation very much like a growing tree, you let it branch out but you are also constantly pruning.
You may wish also to read an extract from my Winning Leadership Whitepaper, this paper can be purchased from my website.