Innovation is no longer a strategic option; it is a strategic imperative. It is impossible to be a market leader without a deep and systematic commitment to innovation.
But what practical organisational tools and approaches can you put in place to give your teams the confidence and desire to deliver faster, bigger and better innovation? Here are 10 innovation accelerators that you can introduce to your organisation.
- Establish a clear innovation ambition. For example, set a target to become the #1 for innovation for your target customers. Once your customers view you as truly innovative, your corporate brand and reputation will be enhanced. What’s more, the simple step of setting a meaningful innovation goal will align and engage your entire organisation.
- Embed a simple, organisation-wide innovation process. Far from inhibiting the scale and pace of innovation, a simple process, led by your CEO, will enable your entire organisation to get involved and drive real change.
- Allow time each week for innovation projects – for everyone! Many of the most innovative businesses, such as 3M and Google, let their colleagues spend a proportion of their working week on projects that are of interest to a small group.
- Invest in the development of your innovation capabilities. Innovation requires a certain set of skills. There is no magic to this and the skills can be learned and developed, both at an individual and organisational level.
- Become the market leader at innovation partnerships. Partnerships have often been used in the tech sector, but they are being increasingly used in many other sectors. A partnership can help you reduce the risk of innovation and maximise its impact, as well as increasing the speed of delivery.
- Reward behaviours, not just results. The nature of innovation is that not everything will work. In fact, the best way to innovate is to find a way of failing as cheaply and quickly as possible, as a route to finding a better answer. As a result, your people should not fear failure – in fact, a great failure can be just as valuable as an apparent success!
- Kill more ideas. Too many businesses let too many projects linger, even when they are going nowhere. Finding a positive way to kill ideas and projects, while still demonstrating your commitment to innovation, will free up resource and energy for the initiatives that will make the difference.
- Ensure the same person runs the R&D and sales teams. This may be an extreme approach, but innovation in new product and service development only works when the sales team fully understand, believe in and feel part of the new concept. It is, after all, exactly how the best, most entrepreneurial businesses operate.
Which of these eight accelerators already exist in your business? And which should you now work on to deliver faster, bigger and better innovation for your teams, investors and customers?
© Stuart Cross 2020. All rights reserved.