Most innovation teams inside large companies are set up to operate like well-oiled machines. They move in a specified direction at a predictable speed. Since the early 1900s, this model has been the prevailing paradigm for how organizations are designed and run.
The problem is that while this approach enables large-scale production, it doesn’t seem to work for innovation. Over the past several years, we have compared successful and unsuccessful innovation teams in a dozen global organizations. One of our key findings was that teams functioning more like machines - blindly following highly defined processes and execution plans - were the least effective at achieving their goals and coming up with innovations.