Here is some food for radical thinkers…
OK, everyone knows that today more than ever, corporations need to innovate for growth and adapt to competition or die. Beyond that most organizations relegate innovation to the R&D departments because it is their innovations that drive the subsequent years profit engine. R&D departments are generally organized such that their processes for innovation can run unencumbered by other corporate processes that are seen to strangle Innovation. The concept of ‘managing innovation’ is often debated in the expert circles, but lets not go there yet.
As to be expected, the majority of the corporate innovation focus is on product or service innovation, both incremental and breakthrough, but what about the other types of innovation that propel businesses today? Every area of the business can benefit from an innovation approach. There are many, but to list a few you have innovation in the business model, service delivery, packaging, marketing, supply chain, manufacturing etc. How do organizations tackle and manage innovation in any of these different areas in an effective way without disruption while keeping focus on quarterly execution?
This leads me to ask you to evaluate how your organization performs when it comes to putting in place the enablers for effective innovation. Innovation enablers? Is there any such thing? I strongly believe there are a number of aspects of corporate organization that can promote or detract from an innovation centric organization. Organizations are structured for execution, and without real effort, will continuously be in a conflicting relationship with innovation efforts outside of the R&D protected space. If you look at the Innovation Management Framework blog by Marco Cigaina, you will find reference to a framework (described in a book and iPad application) that really helps organizations understand the elements they need to focus on to make innovation and more importantly, business innovation core to the corporation. This touches on that thorny subject of introducing some management into Innovation.
innovation a business imperative and part of the corporate DNA might just be that step to set your organization apart from the crowd. As more organizations embrace ‘digital as a business imperative’ as well as explore innovating business models, introducing elements of Innovation Management into the corporation will drive increasing value in being able to innovate effectively both in the short and long term. Reducing the friction between innovating business and corporate execution, connecting innovation strategy to corporate strategy using innovation management approaches could be a win-win-win for your employees, your customers and your organization.
Feel free to reflect on these questions in your comments.
In your organization, line of business, department, is there a focus on innovation?
Is there an innovation driver in your group?
Is innovation promoted top down – with direction or supported bottom up with welcoming new ideas?