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Joe SinkevichMay, 16 20245 min read

The Art of Sparking Innovation in Large Companies

Innovation is the lifeblood of any organization, driving growth, competitiveness, and adaptability in an ever-evolving business landscape. For large companies, the need to innovate is paramount, but it can also present unique challenges.  

With nearly a decade of experience leading the teams implementing and supporting Eze technology, I’ve witnessed firsthand the importance of fostering innovation in a large organization. In the fast-paced investment industry, it’s our sustained focus on innovation that allows my team to best enable technology users and helped us become the industry-leading service organization we are today. 

In this blog post, I'll explore some of the challenges leaders face sparking innovation in large organizations, the importance of doing so, and how to balance innovation with existing responsibilities.

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Innovation Gridlock: 4 Roadblocks Slowing Big Businesses  

Innovation in large companies has the potential to feel like steering an ocean liner—unwieldy and slow to change direction. Several factors can contribute to the challenges leaders face in sparking innovation within these corporate giants.

1.  Hierarchical Structures

Large organizations often have well-established hierarchical structures. These structures can make it difficult for new ideas to surface and gain traction. Decision-making processes can be slow, leading to a reluctance to embrace change.

2. Risk Aversion

The larger a company grows, the more risk-averse it tends to become. With a history of success, there's often a fear of jeopardizing what's already working well. This fear of failure can be a roadblock to innovation, as trying something new inherently involves risk.

3.  Complacency

Once a company reaches a certain level of success, it can breed complacency. Employees might become comfortable with the status quo and resist efforts to disrupt existing processes, even if trying something new has the potential to deliver significant benefits to teams and clients.

4.  Resource Allocation

Innovation requires resources—financial, human, and time. Large companies often allocate their resources to support existing business operations and strategic initiatives, leaving limited resources for innovation.  

Why Innovation Isn’t Optional: The Importance of Innovation in Large Organizations 

Despite these challenges, innovation is not a luxury; it's a necessity for large companies. And it’s up to leadership to cultivate that innovation. Here's why innovation should remain at the forefront of any leader's agenda:

1.  Competitive Advantage

Innovation is the key to maintaining a competitive edge in a fast-paced business environment. Companies that consistently innovate can outpace competitors and establish a reputation as a leader in their field.

2. Adaptation to Market Changes

The business landscape is not static; it evolves continuously. Innovating allows companies to stay ahead of market changes, pivot when needed, and seize new opportunities. This adaptability is vital for leaders who must align their strategies with ever-changing user needs.

3.  Attracting Talent

Innovative companies tend to attract and retain top talent. Top performers are drawn to organizations that encourage creativity and provide opportunities to work on exciting and challenging projects.

4.  Meeting (and Exceeding) User Expectations

User expectations are continually rising. They want more than just good; they want innovative solutions to their problems. Being able to offer users new, forward-thinking services or approaches can set your team apart. 

3 Powerful Strategies for Sparking Innovation Among Your Team 

As a client service leader, I’ve overseen the launch of countless service innovations aimed at better serving Eze technology users. Along the way, I've learned some valuable lessons on how to cultivate innovation in a large organization.  

Here are a few key takeaways:

1.  Embrace a Growth Mindset

Innovation thrives in environments where leaders and employees have a growth mindset. This mindset, grounded in the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed with effort and learning, encourages experimentation and resilience in the face of setbacks. Encourage your team to approach challenges with this mindset to foster innovation.

2. Leverage Cross-Functional Collaboration

Breaking down silos and fostering cross-functional collaboration is a powerful catalyst for innovation. Leaders can create opportunities for their teams to collaborate with colleagues from different departments, bringing diverse perspectives and expertise to the table.

3.  Encourage Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship, or entrepreneurial activities within a large organization, can be a key source of innovation. Empower your team members to take ownership of their ideas, develop them, and see them through to fruition. Provide them with the autonomy and resources they need to innovate within your department. 

How to Balance Innovation with Operational and Strategic Goals 

As a leader, it's vital to recognize that innovation cannot come at the cost of your day-to-day responsibilities and overarching goals. Balancing these elements requires finesse and strategic thinking. Here’s how you can strike this balance: 

1.  Set Aside Time for Creativity

While your days may be filled with meetings, operational duties, and strategic planning, carving out time for creativity is essential. Dedicate specific time slots to brainstorming, idea generation, and experimentation, and encourage your team to do the same.

2.  Align Innovation with Strategy

Ensure that your innovation efforts are aligned with your organization's broader strategic goals. When innovation complements your strategic vision, it becomes an integral part of the approach rather than a separate endeavor.

3.  Delegate and Empower

Empower your team members to take ownership of innovative projects. By delegating responsibility, you free up your own time and leverage the diverse talents within your team. Make sure to provide the necessary support, guidance, and resources to help them succeed.

4.  Measure and Communicate

To demonstrate the value of innovation within your department, establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress and outcomes. Communicate these successes to upper management and stakeholders, emphasizing how innovation contributes to overall company goals. Be cautious about not overdoing KPIs, as it can be easy to put in too many that do not effectuate change or truly measure actionable, impactful data points. 

In conclusion, innovation is a cornerstone of success for large companies, even in the face of obstacles. As a leader, your role in driving innovation is pivotal. By embracing a growth mindset, fostering cross-functional collaboration, encouraging intrapreneurship, and carefully balancing innovation with daily and strategic responsibilities, you can lead your team toward a more innovative and successful future. 



Joe Sinkevich

Joe Sinkevich currently serves as senior director of Eclipse client service at SS&C. In this role, Joe manages the global client experience team for the company’s Eze Eclipse platform, overseeing the delivery of daily client support and solutions, new client implementations, client projects, and account management. Throughout his 16+ year tenure working with Eze technology, Joe has held multiple roles, taking on progressively more responsibility with each new position. He first joined Eze as a member of the Eze OMS QA team before joining the Eze OMS consulting team. In 2016, Joe started the Eclipse client service team, building the team from scratch as the platform launched and brought its first clients live in 2017. The team has now grown to nearly 40 global team members focused on Eze Eclipse. Like all Eze client service teams, they provide expert support and employ a "follow the sun” service model, emphasizing localized precision and global collaboration. Joe is based in Boston but has worked across many locations, playing an early role in the launch of Eze’s Chicago office and frequenting Eze’s New York office. Additionally, Joe is an active participant – and previous winner – of the annual Innovation Challenge. Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Amherst College and earned an MBA from Boston College.