Innovation Tip: Refine Your Goals, Rethink Your Strategy

23 September 10

As an innovation leader, you need to help your team understand the role of innovation in executing specific corporate goals and strategies. Employees can become distracted by irrelevant ideas when there is no guidance on the strategic outcomes that your organization values.

To help your team better focus its efforts, pick apart your organization’s larger corporate strategy. Find out what’s important to your organization? Is it customer service? New product development? Organic growth? After selecting what’s important, define the particular outcomes and goals your organization strives toward. Now work backwards and outline how innovation can help you attain those goals. Customer service excellence, for example, can be attained by coming up with new ways that your organization can communicate with its customers.

As you work backwards, keep narrowing your focus until you arrive at a set of tasks and ideas that your innovation team can work on. Keep asking “how?” By the end of this exercise, you’ll end up with an innovation project list that is directly linked to your corporate strategy, which is something senior managers throughout your organization can get behind.


Building Innovation One Block at a Time

24 March 10

Perhaps one of the most common pitfalls of would-be innovators is that they try to build an innovation program in one fell swoop. Innovation, like any other business competency, has many discrete parts that must ultimately be successful in order for an innovation program to really take off.

As the global economy shows signs of recovery, managers are beginning to turn their attention back to innovation and rebuilding their businesses in an entirely new and different marketplace. In doing so, it’s critical to evaluate your organization’s innovation program not as a whole—but as a series of steps and functions. Does your organization struggle with generating ideas or executing them? Are employees in your organization isolated from one another or are they easily able to collaborate across departments and functions? Does your organization have a clear innovation strategy given the vast changes that have occurred over the last year? Read the rest of this entry »

Blind Innovation: Don’t Let it Happen to You

30 October 08

We’ve just wrapped up the publication of our latest white paper, Ready, Fire! Aim? Why a fear of commitment is killing innovation. It’s the third installment of our annual “Innovation Tracker,” which examines the results of our 20-question online innovation diagnostic from innovators across a variety of organizations.

What did we find this year? Simply put, organizations are approaching innovation efforts without first taking the time to lay down the proper foundation. They’re blindly engaging in innovation activities such as idea-generation and culture-building while avoiding discussions around innovation strategy and processes. The problems with this are many. Read the rest of this entry »