This post was inspired by a Paul Sloane post titled "The Innovation Disconnect." Sloane notes that many leaders commit to "innovation" and collect ideas. He cites the lack of implementation. His post contains several suggestions.
I prefer a different approach.
Innovation is a Result
Innovation is a result. When the discussion is framed this way, the organization can shape their efforts in better ways.
I agree that "The innovation disconnect occurs when corporate statements and employee experiences are inconsistent." Some of the disconnect is perpetuated because of ambiguity in the presumed meaning of the word "innovation."
Components of innovation include "new" and "valuable.
More than Ideas
Too many organizations don't progress beyond collecting ideas and congratulating those those that present 'good' ideas. In such organizations, the system is gamed easily.
Innovation is not a Forecast
Innovation is not a forecast. It requires implementation and assessment.
An idea is valuable just because it received the approval of the leadership team.
A project isn't valuable just because it was implemented. Assessments regarding on-budget and on-time compliance can be meaningless, vanity metrics.
An abundant number of customers is a better way to assess value. Ideas that are not implemented are not likely to produce abundant value.
Risks and Objectives
Leaders can convey that "innovation and risk-taking are desirable and rewarded" but more context should be conveyed.
When pursuing innovation, risk is not the objective. Fast failure is not the objective. Learning is recommended. Faster learning is desirable. Abundant value is the objective.
Therefore, hypotheses (ideas) should be tested with well-crafted experiments. It requires that prototypes be built and tested. Results are analyzed with regard to the desired outcome. This requires the efforts of proficient individual contributors that have the appropriate training and have performed the due diligence.
Risk-taking may be OK but, better yet, is an organization that runs well-crafted experiments that contribute to the creation of value. The experiments contribute to a cohesive effort that results in innovation.
To reduce the "Innovation Disconnect," leaders can start by evolving the discussions regarding the components of innovation.