Is innovation embedded into every thread of your company? Or is innovation still something that is truly yet to be realized?
Most companies have a huge untapped potential that they are not fully utilizing. Your employees, partners, customers and vendors have a plethora of ideas. However, ideas are not enough. You need to figure out how to cross the chasm from idea to reality. This requires a commitment and allocation of prioritized resources. Then, of course, you need to execute.
To get started, ask yourself some questions to determine where your company is with respect to establishing an innovation strategy and what commitment exists to executing your strategy.
• Do your idea/s address something that is in alignment with your business strategy? with your stakeholders?
• Is there an opportunity to create an additional revenue stream? Do you have the resources to pursue that?
• Do you truly have the desire to change the status quo at your company?
After ideas are in place, you need to focus on execution. If those are already in place, you need to take a look at what you are doing with your ideas today. For example:
• How are you building your roadmap to accommodate your new products or services?
• Does your budget allow for the introduction of new innovation?
• How have you operationalized innovation in a way that ‘crosses the chasm’ from idea to reality?
Indeed, there are several directions we can take with these lines of questioning.
A lot of organizations are already on their way toward driving more value for their themselves and their clients. But what if you are just getting started on this journey? What should you do first and how do you get there?
Indeed, there are a number of ways to get there. First, consider the people you have on your team and the initiatives you already have underway. Take a look at the platforms accessible to your employees to do innovation work. You should be able to leverage them while you determine what you truly need to move at desired speed and scale.
Another simple step is to ask all of your employees what things you should stop doing. That will let your employees know that you will be asking for their input on a regular basis as you move forward.
Build an innovation network by giving employees specific tasks to perform; this will help them build their collaboration muscles. While you may not be able to push for task completion without the ability to assign work, you will be surprised by the number of people that want to help the company even in their spare minutes between tasks. Plan your approach to ensure that each activity builds on previous activities; by connecting your activities together and sharing your results regularly, you will help your people see value in participating in these activities.
At the end of the day, you will come to realize, that there is no silver bullet.
One action will not get you where you want to go. Instead, in implementing your innovation strategy, it is critical that you work through a series of steps that puts in place the mechanisms that will enable and then sustain the behaviors you need to evolve your innovation capabilities. As you do more things, you will create a momentum that is sustainable, thus creating and implementing innovations that will carry your company into the next growth period. Your commitment to action and on-going follow up is what is required to make sure innovation happens.
Check back here regularly for other ideas to help you on your innovation journey.