What makes innovation occur naturally? Paul C. Light studied twenty–six nonprofit and government organizations in a wide variety of fields and discovered that innovating organizations have four broad characteristics: a commitment to controlling their environments (rather than the other way around); an internal structure that creates the freedom to imagine; leadership that prepares the organization to innovate; and management systems that serve the mission of the organization, not vice versa.
Filled with real success stories and practical lessons learned, Sustaining Innovation offers examples of how organizations can take the first step toward innovativeness, advice on how to survive the inevitable mistakes along the way, and tools for keeping the edge once the journey is complete. Light also provides a set of simple suggestions for fitting the lessons to the different management pressures facing the nonprofit sector and government. Unlike in the private sector, where innovation needs only to be profitable to be worth doing, nonprofit and government innovation must be about doing something worthwhile. It must challenge the prevailing wisdom and advance the public good. Sustaining Innovation gives nonprofit and government managers a coherent, easily understandable model for making this kind of innovation a natural reality.
2. Removing Barriers and Debunking Myths.
3. Harnessing the Environment as a Force for Change.
4. Structuring the Organization to Encourage Creativity.
5. Changing the Leader′s Work.
6. Using Management Systems that Accelerate Good Ideas.
7. Confronting Real Life in Nonprofit and Governmental Organizations.
8. The Core Values of Innovating Organizations.
"Many governments cannot tolerate innovation. Some can survive the occasional innovator, but don′t want to make it a habit. A very few try to institutionalize the process, to become innovating organizations. But it can be done, and no one is better qualified to show the way than Paul Light, one of the country′s best analysts of the dynamics of public organizations. He′s not only thoughtful and perceptive, but thankfully, he can write." ––?Peter A. Harkness, editor and publisher, GOVERNING Magazine
Paul Light has provided us, at last, with a deep understanding of the elements of success in sustaining ?what works.′ His systematic study of the characteristics of organizations that move beyond the sporadic innovation and the irreplaceable wizard will prove invaluable as both public and nonprofit organizations struggle to devise new strategies to serve shared social purposes." ––?Lisbeth B. Schorr, lecturer in Social Medicine and director, Project on Effective Interventions, Harvard Univeristy
"Sustaining Innovation is a dynamic guide for any organization that is prepared to make a leap to natural innovation. [Light′s] insight and support is useful for all leaders, regardless of the kind of zoo they run." ––Kathryn R. Roberts, director, Minnesota Zoo