Ohanian: Are We Innovative Enough?

Armenian socio-political organizations, especially the ones operating in the diaspora, should consistently adapt to their ever-changing environments in order to maintain a high degree of relevance to their stakeholders. In today’s world, adaptability requires continuous effort to define and implement innovative ideas and processes at various levels of an organizational hierarchy, in order to find solutions to the challenges of today and tomorrow. The lack of innovative methodologies, processes, or ideas in such organizations not only results in a deeply rooted intellectual bankruptcy, but also makes their ideological, philosophical, and operational existence obsolete, out of touch with reality, ineffective, and inefficient.

No one disputes that the frequency, quality, and quantity of innovative ideas generated among most Armenian organizations should improve; the question is how to do so.

Innovative ideas are usually disruptive and game changers, promising a rewarding upside of achievements and payoffs for an organization. On the other hand, the prevailing power structure and (in)formal hierarchy in most organizations resist the process of generating and implementing innovative ideas since such ideas are usually perceived as threats to the status quo or require fundamental changes to the organizational value system, mode of operations, (in)formal power centers, and/or hierarchy and loyalty chains.

A systemic inability to promote, generate, incubate, and implement innovative ideas results in an inevitable irrelevancy to the environment and eventual extinction of an organization. Some of the factors affecting such a scenario include but are not limited to the following:

•   various degree of intellectual bankruptcy of an organization that is unable to “think”;

•  an organizational hierarchy that prohibits innovation idea generation and implementation;

•  short-term thinking (as opposed to long-term/strategic thinking);

•  lack of discourse among intellectuals/academicians and executive/leadership circles or “Valley of Death”;

•  lack of empowering/rewarding mechanisms and processes to encourage idea generation;

•  limited competition offered by newborn organizations (established organizations do not the encourage birth of new organizations and torpedo their birth implicitly or explicitly);

•  an intolerant culture that labels alternative, new, and out of the box thinking as threatening to the status quo;

•  a prevailing ignorance towards modern/scientific methodologies of research and analysis among the rank and file especially the leadership of a given organization;

•  traditionalism;

•  naysayers

In order to generate and implement innovative ideas, organizations walk through the following algorithm/processes, more or less: idea stimulation >> idea collection >> first stage of filtering down >> incubating a collection of new ideas >> second stage of filtering down >> initiating and implementing a handful of new ideas >> scaling up >> optimizing >> marketing and public relations >> feedback.

To be continued…

Richard Ohanian

Richard Ohanian

Richard Ohanian

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1 Comment

  1. A professional itemized analysis has bee provided following and supporting your previous articles.
    To deed CHANGES in Armenian organizations in Diaspora, the main and foremost endeavor must be applied, is to dethrone the feudality and restricted system of the power centers in organizations comprising Executives and Leadership.
    Actually, there are tons of novel, modern and INNOVATIVE ideas created and developed by young intellectuals which are the raw starting material of the mentioned algorithm. To such an extent, we are INNOVATIVE ENOUGH, but the point is the defective system of idea screening in the 3rd step of algorithm (first stage of filtering down), on account of IMPAIRED and PURPOSEFULLY filtering carried out by organization power centers, e.g. Executives and Leaders. Therefore, the process is disrupted in its initial steps and no result is harvested.
    Hope in the upcoming articles, directions to overcome deficiencies and avoid imperfect filtration of ideas would be discussed in detail with all specifics.

    Yours Truly
    Dr. Ch. Hartoonian

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