Your innovation process doesn’t have to be anything extreme, but it needs structure.
Separate from the goals and governance of a formal innovation strategy, the process of completing projects to hit corporate objectives on an individual basis presents a new set of challenges for the innovation leader. And even with a repeatable process, a lack of new ideas or approaches often dooms innovation efforts before projects can kick off.
While each project is unique, Accenture finds that 74% of top-performing companies have an established, formal innovation process that is followed when approaching a new challenge. From problem identification and brainstorming to development and testing, they follow a set road-map to make the most of their improvement efforts. The process is clear and repeatable, and makes it possible for these organizations to measure their progress and efforts.
“Innovation measurement is most crucial at the front end, and the should continue end to end.”
Dean Spitzer – Author of “Transforming Performance Measurement”
If no such process exists within an organization, the innovation leader is responsible with preparing a complete execution and communication plan for every project, wasting precious time and resources. They’re re-inventing the wheel with every new project, and potentially “contaminating” their results and metrics by leveraging different processes. To avoid these potential issues, formalization is a must.
Streamlining Crowd-powered Projects
To streamline (and simplify) their innovation process, as many as 85% of the largest US organizations are managing their innovation efforts digitally. Often by leveraging an idea management system, they can create a roadmap for their innovation process to follow that’s structured, transparent, and easily measured. Starting with problem identification and prioritization, they can determine their approach to the project.
“Platforms…are a pretty good way of asking a company to formalize what it does in innovation.”
Haydn Shaughnessy – Innovation Expert, Author, Co-Founder of the Disruption House
With the rise of open innovation and crowdsourcing, many are looking inwards to discover new ideas and approaches to problems the organization is facing, and engaging their employees and customers for insights. Instead of relying on ideas from top management, consultants, or research, the practice opens up the organization to a seemingly endless wealth of knowledge and diverse experiences from those at the front-lines of their operations.
With a fresh supply of ideas, the process must quickly move through a review, prioritization, and an implementation plan. Most idea management systems manage this entire process from one platform (just one factor driving their popularity), keeping everything organized and accessible – step by step. Leveraging groups of employees to review new ideas removes bias and brings fresh perspective to which ideas should move forward.
A formalized innovation process is a must for an organization in pursuit of continuous improvement and market share. Needed are clear, transparent, and repeatable steps to follow, time, resources, and commitment from management, and also a steady and reliable flow of ideas. When combined, these factors create a more collaborate environment inside the organization, and when held together with idea management software, lead to an affordable, effective, and engaging innovation process.