Whether looking to disrupt your industry with a game-changing product or eliminate inefficiencies in your organization’s operations, serious innovation takes planning and commitment from more than a few motivated individuals.
With 70% of senior executives promoting innovation to drive growth over the next three to five years, companies are looking to up their game and push for improvement. Still, many have and continue to fall short for many simple reasons, often the isolation of the research and development process and an aversion of risk. Unfortunately for them, you can’t push innovation if you insist on secrecy and aren’t willing to take some chances.
If you’re really serious and committed to innovation, here’s how you get started –
Assess your Problems, and set short- and long-term Goals. How much innovation are you seeking? That question may seem tough to answer, but based on the problems you’ve identified, are you looking to shake up the marketplace or something that makes work a little easier? Both ends of the spectrum are powerful and come with their own challenges, but require you to set some preliminary goals to keep the project within its required scope. Find out what you’re really looking for and make it public.
Hypothesize and seek Input on potential Solutions. Set guidelines for your solution, and start coming up with innovation ideas to solve the problem or problems you’ve identified. Want to improve your chance of coming up with a both innovative and effective solution? Open up your problems to “outside” parties. Your fellow team members and employees are always looking to give input (90% believe management should seek their opinion before making a final decision), and your trusted partners and even customers might be sitting on a goldmine of new ideas. Be it innovative software solutions or other idea management strategies, just make sure you’ve got the infrastructure in place to organize, analyze, and discuss the ideas as they’re coming in.
READ MORE: Are you actually ready to Innovate?
Vet and Analyze your top Results. Since it would be impossible (and stupid) to try to implement every idea you hear (only 1 in 7 project ideas will yield a successful product), it’s a crucial to set up a repeatable, effective vetting process for your potential solutions. Assessing time for implementation, research and development costs, revenue potential, and more help you to decide not just if an idea is “good” but if it will actually improve the bottom-line in a way that benefits the company as a whole. This can serve as a rolling, staged process as well, giving you the opportunity to take concrete steps to move your idea forward, but giving you ample time to scrap the idea if it appears it won’t live up to the hype.
Create an Implementation Process. Meshing with the review and analysis stage is the actual implementation of your new, high-potential ideas. Similar to analysis, implementing your ideas is best done in stages, again giving you ample time to review those ideas throughout the process and kill development before it’s too late. Staging out implementation helps with overall organization of the development and roll-out, and gives you the chance to assign certain people to certain stages and roles, making it easier to hold them accountable to their unique responsibilities and track both stage progress and the progress of the project as a whole.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for new product ideas or ways to improve a particularly problematic department, innovation is all about collecting as many ideas as you can, funneling them as quickly as possible, and actually taking action. Your time and your people are valuable resources you can’t afford to waste, so make the most of both.
What does your innovation process look like? Let us know below!