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In our first post in this series, we explained the Innovation Management Framework (IMF), as well as what drove Marco Cigaina to write the book Innovation Management Framework: Enabling and Fostering Innovation in Your Company. We also shared how one company – a global leader in the consumer goods industry– saw an opportunity to take advantage of both IMF and Cigaina’s book in its pursuit of sustainable innovation. Let’s take a deeper look into how this company applied the framework to achieve its goals./wp-content/uploads/2014/09/plant_seed_538927.jpg


Evolving the IT Team to Be an Innovation Engine

Creativity and innovation are essential to all of this global leader’s activities. As part of constantly challenging the company to improve what it is doing, the company’s chief information officer identified a need to pursue cultural transformation within the business. To start, he wanted to position his own department as an internal innovation partner across the company.

It’s a common goal of many CIOs within enterprises to evolve their teams so they can support the company’s innovation projects. But there’s often a disconnect when the skills and experience of team members fall short of fulfilling the vision. This company’s CIO faced this very challenge head-on. His first step was to solicit ideas from technology partners on how he could improve his team’s ability to be an innovation engine or change agent. To that end, he read Cigaina’s book to understand his team’s role in innovation management. He also gained valuable insights into the basic components of idea management, including a typical process for idea management, the difference between campaigns and ideas, and more.

Boosting Idea Generation with Design Thinking

After reading the book and gaining deeper insights into IMF, the CIO realized that while it was important to have an overall view into innovation practices, it was best to focus on certain ones. So he chose to prioritize design thinking and idea management. By taking advantage of training on design thinking through service innovation, the CIO and his team came up with three ideation campaigns:

  • What is the best usage of Google Glass within their company?
  • How can the company’s factory/laboratory take advantage of enterprise mobility to gain productivity?
  • How can we allow users to install their own software?

Though a member of the CIO’s team had proposed one of these ideas previously, the company didn’t have a systematic approach to collecting ideas from those not bold enough to suggest them. The CIO’s goal was to solicit ideas from a larger group of employees. Within a few months of implementing a new process for collecting ideas, the company had collected more than 45 new ideas from 140 employees. This was a 30X increase in the number of people generating ideas and the number of suggestions made.

Designing a Solid Process for Idea Management

Once employees submitted ideas, the company struggled to continue engagement specifically around the essential step of rating and prioritizing the ideas. The global leader had found a third-party tool to help with this, but it was in desperate need of a process to underpin the tool. Hand in hand with the service innovation team from SAP, the company developed a process to support idea management.

Though the idea management project started in the global leader’s IT group, the goal is to expand its use throughout the company. For example, other parts of the business could apply it to better address consumer preferences for certain offerings. Going forward, the company can envision using IMF as a road map for additional practices.

Check out this post, where we covered best practices for taking advantage of the Innovation Management Framework. In the meantime, let us know in the comments what has worked and not worked when gathering and tracking ideas within your organization.

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