"1. A compelling case for innovation. Unless people understand why innovation is necessary, it always loses to core business or the performance engine in the battle for resources.2. An inspiring, shared vision of the future. Most companies anticipate the future based upon the past. For this process, it is best to take a 10-20-year perspective. It is not about predicting the future. It is about developing hypotheses about the future.3. A fully aligned strategic innovation agenda. Innovation is a journey into the unknown and there are many paths open to the innovator. Before starting it is essential to know things like: 1) What business are we in now and want to be in going forward? 2) What is our risk tolerance for pursuing big, game-changing ideas?4. Visible senior management involvement. Incremental innovation can be pushed down into the organization where the strategy is clear, decision metrics are understood, and management models like Stage-Gate create a level playing field. However, for game-changing innovation it's the opposite. 5. A decision-making model that fosters teamwork in support of passionate champions. Breakthroughs cannot survive without a decision-making model that is different from the one used for incremental innovation (my belief is that the decision making process can be the same but the criteria will be very different)6. A creatively resourced, multi-functional dedicated team. The best teams have three ingredients: project champions who can make decisions during working sessions and advocate for them with executive sponsors, relevant capabilities and expertise, and naïve, seemingly irrelevant diversity7. Open-minded exploration of the marketplace drivers of innovation. Organizational change is driven by marketplace factors: customers, competition, government regulation, and science and technology8. Willingness to take risk and see value in absurdity. Innovators understand that you have no choice; you must take risks, often big ones, by moving toward the absurd, the "seemingly" irrelevant, in order to create pre-emptive competitive advantage while competitors move in the "obvious" direction9. A well-defined yet flexible execution process. Companies that have been in business for a while are good at executing on small, incremental changes.(see all our postings on being an ambidextrous company on our blog site)"
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Innovation's Nine Critical Success Factors
Note: This post was written with Mark Sebell and Jay Terwilliger, managing partners at Creative Realities, Inc., a Boston-based innovation management collaborative.
Your organization won't innovate productively unless some underlying factors are in good shape. If "10" is outstanding and "1" is poor, how do you rate your organization on each of these?