A Hands-Off Approach to Open Innovation Doesn’t Work


As the topic suggests, we are here to discuss the failure of the hands-off approach to open innovation. A hands-off approach to management is when the managers don’t directly involve themselves in day-to-day activities and instead leave it up to the team leaders. In this case, though, the leaders must be very well trained to as to be able to command the respect of the team and be able to spark inspiration.

The hands-on approach, on the other hand, is when the manager is highly involved with all activities of his team. It is also synonymous with the term micro-management. In the hands-on approach, the team does not have enough space to go out there and  explore various options.

Then why is it that it is the hands-on approach that is working for open innovation when the opposite is expected?

The internal workings of both approaches are way more complicated than what it seems. The hand-off approach is plagued with certain problems. People at the senior level are not directly involved in the process of innovation. The consequence? The members lack direction, focus and support. They do not align with the goals of the organisation and are therefore not 100% productive or innovative. The senior level members must provide their employees with proper training and must interact with them regularly. At the same time, they must not do all the work. It would hinder the growth of employees. They won’t learn unless they face challenges. It all comes down to the approach taken by the manager.

A message for all managers would be: Be there for your members, know what is happening at all levels,  and what needs to be fixed, but give your employees a chance to fix it themselves first.

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