If you want to be an Innovative Organization your strategy must not just address market place needs but address and embrace issues of culture and organization structure. Your plan must be flexible and able to change as the market and your organization both change.
Companies with the fastest profit growth have twice as much emphasis on Innovation as do their competition. An Innovation Strategy is how to beat the Competition and to beat the competition means you must provide radically better value in both your products and services. That means finding new ideas.
A Strategy for Future Success
First, your strategy will need to be ‘agile’. As Sun Tzu said in ‘The Art of War’; “No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.” You will be in a discovery mode, especially in the creative phase of Innovation. You do not know what you will discover and you must be ready to change. Your Innovation Strategy must include change management process as well as Innovation Management.
The perfect business strategy is to find a market place where there is no competition and this means creating an offering that is unique and no one can copy it. That means Innovating and Innovation is driven by Customer Need not by Technology. However, the Customer thinks of today's needs not tomorrow's so you have a challenge. You need an Innovation Strategy!
Innovation Culture - your people are your strength
Breakthroughs are not from the "Genius" but are from "Collective Knowledge"
Your own people are your most valuable source of knowledge for new ideas. Have them assess how they will make their best contribution to the Innovation Process. Do this by using the ‘Self Assessment’ Link. Find your Creators, Connectors, Developers and Doers. Develop an Innovation Culture with new Behaviours that release new Knowledge. These behaviors are Exploration, Collaboration and Experimentation!
A second aspect of Innovation Strategy that is often overlooked is the issue of culture. Chance is you will also need culture change. In the early stages of your strategy you will need to allow time and space for creativity and this may mean ‘behaving differently’ from the way your organization does at present. The further challenge is these ‘creative’ behaviors must live alongside the ‘execution’ behaviors the deliver the solution. (See the page ‘Innovation and Creativity’ for more on this)
The Innovation Process
Innovation is not magic and a Process is essential. The Innovation Process uses the knowledge of your People and your people make the process work. In the Creative phase you find opportunities and conceptual solutions. In the Execution phase you develop and deliver working solutions.
Innovation is a Risky Business. The best way to get a good idea is to get lots of ideas and you must then evaluate your ideas to decide where to focus. How quickly can you deliver the solution, what will it cost and what is the probability of success? You evaluate Time, Cost and Risk and you ideally select your preferred solution at the Tipping Point from Creativity to Execution. As you move from Creativity to Execution you move from a ‘Loose' to a ‘Tight' mode of operation. For 3000 ideas only one makes it – With a good process yours can be “The One'.
View also the Video to hear the Innovation Process described.
What will I gain?
The most Innovative companies are the most profitable. Giving people the opportunity to be more creative engages them and you beat the competition!!
Pilot with an Innovation Project
Finally your strategy may well require organizational change. Innovative organizations are flatter and use self managed teams. This may well be quite different from your present structure. Experience shows that if your organization needs significant change it is usually best to pilot with an Innovation Project.