Almost every business innovates, but only a handful of organizations know how to do it in an orderly and consistent manner.
In effect, some ideas do not see fruition, and some initiatives end up unsuccessful.
Without a proper innovation engine, a company will find it difficult to consistently deliver innovative products.
Hence, companies should create an innovation engine that corresponds to their needs.
What is an innovation engine?
An innovation engine is a collection of tools and procedures that capture ideas and transform them into effective innovations.
These new ideas, from both internal and external forces, are placed in the innovation inbox and are evaluated to create a thorough innovation roadmap.
Without a systematic innovation engine in place, ideas cannot be utilized well, remaining unusable for your organization.
In other words, your innovation engine is also your entire innovation management framework.
This framework is composed of three major parts:
The goal of your innovation strategy should be to construct an engine that will continually acquire ideas, pick the best ones, then turn and implement them into key initiatives that produce company value.
This innovation strategy must be created with the purpose of keeping you focused on your reasons for innovating, including the things and processes that you should focus on, and how you can successfully execute innovation.
Furthermore, this innovation strategy should determine where the organization should focus its resources and innovation efforts.
The act of developing, evaluating, structuring, and collaborating on ideas is known as idea management.
It is a critical component of innovation management with the ultimate objective of executing the finest ideas conceivable.
Organizing ideas in a structured fashion improves their business worth. This also ensures a steady flow of ideas that can be turned into potential projects.
To ensure sustained growth, idea management must be carried out on a constant basis, and it works best when supported by software that allows the entire process to be quicker and more efficient, such as an idea management software like Accept Mission.
Deciding which concepts to execute into innovation projects is tricky. At first glance, it may not appear to be an issue. But when you are presented with thousands of good ideas, choosing which ones to pursue becomes tough.
Choosing the greatest ideas to develop into projects is one strategy to reduce the risk of innovation.
Because not all innovation initiatives are guaranteed to generate a favorable return on investment, it is critical to pick the best ones and maximize the likelihood of success.
So when these ideas are at the project funnel, they become ready for implementation. Then, they are monitored for progress.
How to assemble your own innovation engine
Here’s how you can create your own innovation engine:
1. Build the blueprint of your innovation engine
Any innovation endeavor must be incorporated with your company’s plans and strategies in order to thrive.
Establishing a solid link between business and innovation activities help in determining your purpose.
Without it, you will be depriving innovation of its tremendous potential, ridding your organization of a well-defined avenue for accomplishing specific business goals.
Hence, when you build the blueprint of your innovation engine with your business plan in mind, you get to:
- Identify places where innovation can lead to significant improvements.
- Generate new solutions to various concerns and challenges inside the business, resulting in increased productivity, effectiveness, and profit.
- Create a broad team of specialists to improve idea appraisal with respect to company needs.
- Estimate how much income and profit the company will produce from its existing goods over time.
- Determine how much value the company will produce in a certain period with all the projects that are present in the development pipeline.
- Create strategies for pursuing and sustaining growth opportunities in order to increase revenue and profit in the future.
Every organization’s approach will be different, but here are three things to keep in mind while trying to align your business and innovation initiatives, no matter what field you’re in or how big your company is:
Examine your overall innovation and business culture.
You can’t make transformative changes without taking a thorough look at your innovation performance. Make sure that you have a culture of innovation, and that an innovative mindset is established as an attitude rather than a one-time thing.
Define the kind of innovation you want to accomplish.
As there are different types of innovation, pursue what you think you need most. Start by identifying the kind of growth you would like to achieve and how you can possibly get there.
Consider every aspect of your business when doing this, particularly the market that you’re in as well as your customers.
Collaborate with related businesses and technologies.
Partner up and collaborate with relevant companies and organizations to widen and maximize innovation efforts.
Find those with related technologies depending upon your needs to decrease innovation time and secure the tools and resources that your innovation requires to push through.
2. Fuel your engine with problems and potential solutions
Successful innovations have always solved existing problems. Very few businesses struggle in coming up with new concepts, but most have problems with identifying real issues to address.
Without a real problem or scenario to improve, your project will most likely end up with no value.
In business, the most successful businesses understand that identifying real problems and providing potential solutions means finding strategic opportunities, which are then critical to their success.
Most ideas fail because they did not go deep enough in the beginning, especially in the first stage (problem finding, solution finding). Typically, this leads to significant alterations later on.
To fuel your engine with problems and potential solutions, you can:
- Ask your customers. What problems do they have with your products and services?
- Consult your employees. What areas can the organization improve on? How can the company help them enhance the quality of their outputs?
- Observe your market. What improvements can you make in your current products and services to capture the market?
- Think about the competition. What does the competition lack? In what way can you make your offerings better than theirs?
- Do your research. What issues have very few solutions? Are there any alternatives you can make? Be sensitive to disruption opportunities.
In relation to the things mentioned above, you can collect ideas through different sources.
You can set up idea boxes for your employees and your partners, or you can create other submission frameworks for ideas and suggestions even from your customers.
To gain the best insights possible and get the most varied ideas, involve as many people as possible.
3. Filter the fuel through idea management and execute the best ones
It’s one thing to have a brilliant concept, and quite another to make it a reality. For innovation to flourish, a system that can translate an idea into something valuable is required.
You can try collecting ideas, but you have to make sure that the information and suggestions that are given to you are relevant to the business.
Furthermore, without a defined procedure, even the finest ideas are prone to get lost. This is why you need idea management.
To manage your ideas well, you can use an idea management software like Accept Mission to:
- Gather, save, and keep track of ideas
- Collaborate with other members of the organization
- Conduct keyword analysis on submissions
- Backtrack and audit the ideation process
- Connect the ideation process to additional tools
- Engage a large number of individuals in the ideation process
- Manage the whole ideation process from one location
Employing idea management software can significantly improve your organization’s innovation process.
You will not only save a lot of time by handling several ideas, but you will also have a simple means of storing all of them for future use.
There are various idea management tools in the market today, but the most essential factor to consider is software that coincides with your objectives, priorities, and workflow.
Moreover, consider how your employees perform their tasks. Ensure that the software you select is intuitive and beneficial for them.
4. Keep the engine running
You may have put up a formidable innovation engine, but will it function consistently for a long time?
The steps done following a successful innovation are essential in determining the possibility of another.
In order to achieve that, you need to keep your innovation engine up and running.
Some of the best ways to do this are the following:
- Ensure accountability to maintain the engine you’ve built. Maintain the rhythm of your innovation by getting innovation leaders, managers, and other related officers.
- Promote a decentralized approach that allows for disruption and swift decision-making. Keep your engine open to suggestions and ideas from different sources. Moreover, secure your idea management software for a quick, easy, and quality filtering of ideas.
- Create joint innovation ventures with relevant businesses. You can do this for different purposes — either securing additional resources for your innovation endeavors, reaching other market segments, and many more.
- Celebrate your success publicly. Increasing awareness about your innovation efforts can attract customers, investors, and other parties that can be of use to you. Share what you’ve learned or achieved with the public.
Strengthen your innovation framework
We see that the most important pillar of building an innovation engine is taking innovation seriously.
Define the system that you want and need as an organization to determine what framework works best for you.
Remember that a strong innovation framework helps in keeping innovation continuous.
Creating a clear innovation engine does help in generating ideas. But more importantly, it helps in executing these ideas to life.
Download our innovation ebook today and learn more about innovation.