The development of the Covid-19 vaccines provides a great example of the conditions necessary for effective innovation. One key lesson is that while having an ‘innovation culture’ is important, it is insufficient to deliver genuine innovation.

In addition to ‘innovation culture’ you also need an ‘innovation system’, a clear and structured approach that drives systematic innovation. Using the vaccine development as a guide, you can identify 5 critical elements to this system:

  1. The world needed a vaccine to combat the virus and minimise deaths, and this goal created the zest for action. What are the goals that you’ve set to drive innovation for your business?
  2. Over 150 vaccine projects were started, around 60 are still live and 10 vaccines have been approved for use somewhere in the world. Competition created speed and results. How are you establishing healthy competition within and across your organisation to accelerate the speed and effectiveness of innovation delivery?
  3. Healthcare products have to undergo structured lab tests and field trials before they can be authorized. What system do you have for the rapid testing of your best ideas?
  4. It’s not enough just to test, you must also study results and react to them. Each of the pharma companies, for example, must publish the results of their trials for review by the health and scientific community. The review is objective and, if the vaccine is ineffective, such has happened with the initial Sanofi trials, it is either dropped or fundamentally redeveloped. How are you ensuring fact-based, objective reviews of your new ideas?
  5. Companies producing vaccines that have been approved are already working on updated versions to address new Covid variants. Similarly, you must improve any successful innovation so that it can withstand future competition and meet the ongoing evolution of customer demands. How do you ensure that new product launches are followed up with second and third-phase improvements on a timely basis?

How well does your innovation system compare to these five elements? And what elements do you need to work on to produce better, faster and more profitable new solutions?

Off The Record: Saturday’s Kids by The Jam

These are the real creatures that time has forgot

Not given a thought

It’s ‘the system’, Hate ‘the system’

What’s ‘the system’?

The Time for Bold Moves

Growing through and beyond the pandemic requires bold actions, not timid plans. These 5 steps can help you to accelerate growth and transform your market position.

© Stuart Cross 2021. All rights reserved.