Five challenges that stop your team from innovating

Implementing and fostering innovation can sometimes be easier said than done. 

Being somewhat subjective, and doing things that appear to be ‘outside of the box’, innovation can create many conflicting opinions on a team, and be quite challenging for some, especially when there is an existing culture of resistance to change in your business. 

Fearing change is common. Innovation can create risk, expose a business to potential ‘failure’ and a fear that ‘the old way was actually better’.

In fact, according to McKinsey & Company, only 6% of executives are actually satisfied with their performance when it comes to innovation. 

“What if innovation is just a distraction for my team?”

“I’ve tried and failed dismally. We didn’t have any new ideas or creative concepts that resulted in being financially viable, or make an impact on our business in any way.”

“It’s too much of a risk to place nothing but ‘faith’ in an idea and hope it works out.”

These are just some of the things we hear every day. However, there are many ways to overcome these things and aren’t necessarily at the crux of the challenge of innovating. 

Here are five major challenges that could stop your team from innovating.

1. Employees aren’t given the freedom to come up with new ideas.

Managers feel that innovation will only take away work time for employees. 

Employees are not empowered to take risks or express their ideas and suggestions without fear of some kind of repercussion. 

Innovation starts with support, feedback, and leadership. It’s your responsibility to help them grow and take your business to the next level.

2. Employees are not inspired or resourced to innovate

If you give your employees the freedom to share their ideas, you must also motivate them to build it. 

Innovation is born through action. Your team may have some great ideas, but no contingency plan or framework to apply them. 

Without a solid action plan or breakdown of steps to implement an idea, it will remain just that — an idea. 

Provide a good incentive or reward for your team to roll out their idea and ensure you are supporting them both in success and learning moments. 

This may include providing resources, such as a budget to work with, coaching or upskilling and memberships to software programs. 

3. You put innovation in one siloed, concentrated group

Some organisations put the task of innovating for the business in one centralised group like a product or project development team. 

You have to consider that every department or team may have a completely different approach to solving problems and be capable of sharing new ideas. 

Be open to transparency and uniqueness. Every department may have a different take on their work, and think differently based on their experience, which is critical to driving innovation.

4. Lack of teamwork and collaboration

For innovation to thrive, a one-person team is not enough. 

For innovation to be born, a collection of diverse and unique views are needed to spark new thinking. 

Diversity and inclusion within your team are fundamental for drawing a broad range of ideas, life experiences, skills, and backgrounds. 

Although teamwork is often a daily mantra and common value within every organisation, it can be a theoretical exercise, instead of being actively practiced. 

External collaboration with potential partners, customers, and other key stakeholders can be just as important in bringing in fresh thinking. 

5. You don’t have an innovation plan that supports strategic outcomes

Innovation isn’t valuable if it isn’t connected to your greater purpose, vision, and outcomes for the business.

Innovation and new idea generation is fantastic for team morale and keeping things exciting and inspirational, but if it isn’t driving strategic outcomes for the business, then it can be a fruitless exercise. 

Being clear on your direction and what threats could be on the horizon for your business (new competition, competitors doing something unique and different, saturated markets, etc) can keep you aligned in how your business needs to innovate. 


Do you want to learn how to be more innovative, grow your business, and take responsibility for your outcomes and success? The 90 Day Culture Accelerator guides you through a 12 step process to define your vision, attract rockstar talent, manage and lead with confidence, and grow your business profitably. Visit to find out more.