What can a nonprofit do to encourage innovation? Peter Drucker in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, identified four rules that “constitute the specific policies and practices the public-service institution requires if it is to make itself entrepreneurial and capable of innovation.”
First, the public-service institution needs a clear definition of its mission. What is it trying to do? Why does it exist? It needs to focus on objectives rather then on programs and projects. Programs and projects are means to an end. They should always be considered as temporary and, in fact, short-lived.
Second, the public-service institution needs a realistic statement of goals….It needs something that is genuinely attainable and therefore a commitment to a realistic goal, so that it can say eventually, “Our job is finished.”
Third, failure to achieve objectives should be considered an indication that the objective is wrong, or at least defined wrongly…Thus, failure to attain objectives is a prima facie reason to question the validity of the objective–the exact opposite of what most public-service institutions believe.
Finally, public-service institutions need to build into their policies and practices the constant search for innovative opportunity. They need to view change as an opportunity rather than a threat.
How can you take the changing trends in your area of concern and turn them into opportunities for your organization to start making a difference again? (You were making a difference, weren’t you?) And, when will you start?