Innovation is Not One Size Fits All ( Part 1 of 3)

>>>Innovation is Not One Size Fits All ( Part 1 of 3)

innovationHow does your organization manage ideas?  Ideas come from inspiration of people and demand from the market.   Will all of these ideas create value for your organization or for your clients?  Probably not. However, how we harness ideas and champion the best will pave the way for creating the right value.

In this three part blog series, I will challenge you to think about:

  1. Why your organization needs to manage innovation
  2. How to approach the ‘accidental innovation’ problem
  3. How to align an innovation framework to your business

Now, let’s take a deeper dive into the importance of managing innovation:

Companies are failing to harness great ideas.  In a recent discussion with a client CIO, I asked “Out of all these great ideas for new mobile applications, how do you select the one to develop next?”  His response was that the CEO makes the decision.   You have to wonder if that CEO is reviewing every proposed idea or only a select few from varying departments.

I think it’s safe to say that most companies fail to realize that many brilliant ideas get lost in the transition from one level to the next. Innovation can be intentional and can be managed.  There are many great innovation frameworks in the market to drive the process, but they require investment to get setup.

Bringing ideas to fruition is a simple recipe. You can bake a cake 1,000 different ways, but they all have core ingredients. Ideas also have staple ingredients and should always:

  • Align with the core business strategy
  • Be driven by consumer needs
  • Be able to fill a gap in technology or process application

Seems very simple, but in my observation, companies aren’t investing in the right ideas in a methodical way.  Sometimes the ‘chance’ investments pay big returns, but having a structured approach to innovation does not stop the opportunity for ‘chance’ investments.  It allows you to quantify the risk profile of them.

As a Principal Consultant at SDLC Partners, I have had the opportunity to work with companies to approach ‘accidental innovation’ and develop tailored frameworks to help the organization better manage their innovation efforts.  Innovation is NOT one size fits all.  Frameworks are built with this in mind and act as a starting point or an approach to a problem. Each framework should be customized to a specific business for optimum strategic alignment. SDLC Partners uses our industry expertise and breadth of knowledge to help businesses identify and customize innovation frameworks.

So why does your business need an innovation framework?  Having a structured approach to innovation will give you an advantage over your competition.  This will be achieved by:
  • Providing senior management and decision makers insight into the innovation process
  • Better leveraging of consumer and industry foresight
  • Analyzing and measuring metrics aligned with business performance
  • Identifying gaps between consumer needs and capabilities
  • Faster speed to market
  • Making an informed decision on which ideas to champion to market

An innovation framework helps devise a strategic plan to funnel out ideas more strategically so that the decision maker can view all ideas but have a quick and efficient way to eliminate far-fetched concepts. This process, tailored to each business problem, creates an effective way to get to the best of the best, eliminating time and resources spent executing poor ideas.

I see a great deal of opportunity for businesses to revise their innovation strategies. As competition continues to increase from one industry to the next, I encourage you to assess your innovation strategy. Do you have one? What have you found to be successful?

Chris Miladinovich is a Principal Consultant at SDLC Partners, a leading provider of business and technology solutions. Please feel free to contact Chris at cmiladinovich@sdlcpartners.com with any questions on this blog post or to further discuss your innovation strategy.