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Ever feel like you’re spinning your innovation wheels? That the more your company does to generate growth, the more things stay the same?  How do you deliver the results your CEO is looking for?

‘Stuckness’  – and plateaus – are pretty common. This brief self-quiz (excerpted from Collective Disruption) lists some typical signs and causes.  See which ones are true for you – and then what you can do about them:

  1. You may be turning out the same number of new products every year, but that method of innovation is just keeping you at base level. It’s preventing a backward slide, but it’s not growing your margins, and it’s not growing your top line. There’s no point blaming the slow economy or some other outside force for this stasis you’re in.Lack of growth is often a sign you are stuck in incremental mode.
  2. You’re identifying needs to support today’s business but are missing the major shifts with your customers and new segments of customers that you could have captured.
  3. You’ve been surprised too often by disruptive solutions, sometimes introduced by your major competitors but increasingly by new players you’ve never even heard of.
  4. Funding is over-allocated to incremental ideas at the expense of breakout ideas. Others may argue that you have some truly breakthrough projects on the drawing boards. Look, for a moment, at which projects in your innovation portfolio really get the support to come to fruition. Do you find that incremental ideas get a lot of support quickly while the breakthrough ideas stall, stay in a zombie state with no real financial support, or get killed off outright?
  5. Management talks about innovation but doesn’t really want it to happen. This can be a problem as high up as the C-suite. If company leaders are talking about transformative innovation but making no change in process or policy to support the new behavior, then it’s just talk.

If any of these are true for your company, you’re not alone. Big companies are terrible at risk taking and disruptive innovation, and they need much more than theory on how to innovate in this new world. They need partners—partners who run toward risk with arms open wide, partners who haven’t been around long enough to develop a cannon of behavior that favors optimization over innovation. Big business needs to partner with entrepreneurs, and do it in new ways.  One of the best ways to get unstuck is having a strong young team to push your metaphorical car out of the snowbank.