“Successful innovation is turning ideas into money,” as Innovation expert Nic Hunt so distinctly and accurately describes. Innovation is the ability to convert ideas into value for your company, customers and shareholders. Successful innovation is not a one time deal, but a process that delivers sustained, long term profitability. Any company can develop one or two innovations over the course of time, but having a focused vision will deliver sustainable innovation – producing profitable results for your company time and time again.
Implementing innovation depends on a disciplined strategy customized to the needs, size and culture of an organization. First determine what type of innovation you hope to achieve with your organization. Innovation can be incremental, which features a new process or way of doing business, or it can be transformative, which debuts an entirely new way to deliver value. Transformative innovations are few and far in between. These true game changers open up new businesses and markets. Organizations tend to use 80% of their resources on incremental enhancements, according to a 2003 study by the London School of Business. However, be warned that companies that focus entirely on incremental innovations have difficulty keeping up with new competitors that enter the field.
Understanding what your organization needs is very important in the New Product Development process. Know your innovation status and areas for improvement by completing a short audit at www.innovationcoach.com/solutions/short-audit based on Robert’s Rules of Innovations.
Once you solidify the goals of your organization, it’s time to assemble your NPD team and begin the innovation process. Be sure to complete a few relatively easy wins with your team earlier on in the process. This will not only build equity for your program, but also gain attention from the high-ups in the organization right away.
Each organization must create their own clearly defined stages and steps of the NPD process. Here are some tips and insights for best practices.
- Do we go/no go? Set specific criteria for ideas that should be continued or dropped. Stick to the agreed upon criteria so poor projects can be sent back to the idea-hopper early on.
- Lean, mean and scalable. During the NPD process, keep the system nimble and use flexible discretion over which activities are executed. You may want to develop multiple versions of your road map scaled to suit different types and risk levels of projects.
- The rear-view mirror review. Organizations are doing launch post-mortems, with performance metrics in place, to measure project performance, establish team accountability, and build in improvements for the future. An examination of your last innovation process can gain some valuable key learnings. Foster a culture of continuous improvement in the innovation process.
For more tips and guidelines on developing the right implementation strategy, see Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival.
Robert Brands is the founder of InnovationCoach.com, and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival”, with Martin Kleinman – published Spring 2010 by Wiley (www.robertsrulesofinnovation.com).