Innovation Exploration: Importance, Definition, Management13 min read
Exploring innovation is crucial for discovering new methods of generating revenue, identifying untapped potential, and improving one’s position in the market.
But what does innovation exploration mean? And why is it important?
In this article, we will discuss the importance, definition, and management of exploring innovation.
What is innovation exploration?
Innovation exploration refers to searching and investigating to find and create new ideas, innovative projects, and profitable opportunities.
This can be achieved by identifying and exploiting new innovation resources and revenue streams such as novel products, services, and business models or expanding into untapped markets.
The main objective of this exploration is to discover and develop new ways of generating income and to stay ahead of the competition by constantly exploring new insights and possibilities.
Through innovation exploration, individuals and organizations can discover untapped potential, success, and technology— eventually leading them to proficiently enhance their market position and grow their business.
Difference between innovation exploration and exploitation
Exploitation refers to maximizing the benefits of your present earning models and technologies.
This typically involves focusing on incremental improvements that can be made to your existing processes, resources, and strategies.
This activity aims to optimize and streamline your operations to generate the highest possible returns from your current assets.
On the other hand, innovation exploration involves generating revenue by conducting continuous experimentation, refinement, and improvement of internal and external processes.
Doing this includes focusing on delivering value to customers and creating innovative products, services, and capabilities that can generate new sources of income.
The aim is to remain competitive and create sustainable long-term growth.
How to successfully perform innovation exploration?
Successful innovation exploration involves embracing change and taking calculated risks to create new opportunities for your business.
It requires an entrepreneurial mindset, an ability to identify market gaps and customer needs, and a willingness to invest in research and development.
This means identifying your company’s core values, strengths, unique selling points, and long-term goals and objectives.
You should also analyze market trends, customer needs, and emerging technologies to determine where your business can best add value and stay competitive.
Once you have defined your innovation strategy, it is essential to communicate it effectively to all stakeholders. This involves creating a clear, concise message outlining your company’s mission, values, and objectives.
You should also provide regular updates on progress and seek feedback from staff, customers, and suppliers to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals.
2. Securing leadership support
For businesses to successfully manage innovation, they must have a supportive organizational structure and culture.
This means creating an environment that encourages and rewards creativity, risk-taking, and experimentation and having processes and systems in place to facilitate innovation.
Organizational structure plays a crucial role in supporting innovation management. It creates a clear and defined process for generating and implementing new ideas and providing adequate resources, funding, and support for innovation initiatives.
As the innovation manager, you can set up dedicated innovation teams or departments, provide employee training and development programs, and establish clear channels for idea sharing and collaboration.
Hence, you have to provide opportunities for employees to showcase their ideas, contribute to the innovation process, and recognize or reward innovative thinking and behavior.
3. Establishing a clear and unified innovation perspective
Lack of proper perspective leads to redundancy. When you are unaware of your colleague is working on a similar task in a different location, the possibility of collaborating never crosses your mind, resulting in duplicated efforts, which is a total waste of resources.
Proper perspective refers to a comprehensive understanding of the tasks, projects, and challenges.
When someone in your team lacks this perspective, they may be unable to see the bigger picture, making them unable to contribute inefficiently to the innovation exploration process.
Collaboration is key to efficient and effective work but requires proper perspective. Cultivate this value in your team and allow them to coordinate efforts to avoid redundancies.
4. Implementing the right development approach
It is crucial to differentiate between conventional product development for low-risk projects and innovative product development for projects with higher uncertainties.
When you choose to explore and innovate, it is vital to identify both short-term and future risks involved in a project. Projects with lower levels of risk usually follow a well-established focus and development process that has been used for similar aspects in the past.
These processes are predictable as they usually have a set of predefined steps that the development team follows.
However, when a project involves higher levels of uncertainty, it requires an innovative approach to product development. To lead in this exploration and discovery means taking risks to form or explore new things and ideas that may not have been tried before.
Therefore, the development process for these types of projects is usually not as predictable as conventional product development.
In hindsight, it is crucial to differentiate between these two development processes because the approach and methodology that you will use upon product, service, or process creation will vary greatly.
Again, conventional product development focuses on meeting established standards and guidelines, while innovation requires more creativity, experimentation, and exploration.
Plus, by understanding the level of risk involved in a project, teams can choose the appropriate development process to ensure the best possible outcome.
This means they can select the most effective methodology, tools, and techniques for the specific project, leading to better project planning, management, and execution.
5. Choosing an ideation platform
Companies need to improve their organizational structure to acquire concepts from both internal and external sources. You have to continuously venture, innovate, test, accelerate, and generate new ideas.
However, coming up with innovative ideas can be a challenging task, which is why it is essential to have a process to acquire concepts from both internal and external sources.
Internal sources refer to employees within the company who may have innovative ideas or suggestions for improving the company’s processes, products, or services.
External sources, on the other hand, may include customers, suppliers, or partners who can provide valuable insights into the market, industry trends, and emerging technologies.
To successfully source ideas from internal and external sources, you must establish a robust organizational structure that encourages idea-sharing and collaboration.
You can outsource a platform for employees to share their ideas or create your own, provide incentives for innovation, and invest in research and development.
You can also leverage external networks, such as partnerships and collaborations with other companies or academic institutions, to gain access to new ideas and technologies.
That way, you can broaden your perspective, gain insights into different markets, and access expertise that may not be available internally.
6. Embrace diverse perspectives
To foster innovation, create diverse and multidisciplinary teams to avoid narrow-mindedness and promote varied perspectives.
Creating diverse and multidisciplinary teams is essential to promote organizational innovation and creativity.
When people with different backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives work together, they bring new ideas and approaches to the table, leading to more innovative solutions.
Moreover, multidisciplinary teams allow for a more comprehensive and holistic approach to problem-solving.
Instead of relying on a narrow view, team members can draw from their unique experiences and knowledge to consider broader possibilities and potential solutions.
This can result in more effective and innovative solutions that are better aligned with the needs and expectations of customers and stakeholders.
Diversity in teams can also help to prevent groupthink and tunnel vision. When everyone in the group has the same background or expertise, they may think similarly and overlook potential solutions or perspectives.
However, when team members come from different backgrounds and perspectives, they are more likely to approach problems from unconventional angles and experiment with new solutions, leading to more creative and innovative outcomes.
7. Applying continuous learning and adaptation
Companies should design processes that support and encourage individuals to learn, grow, and develop their skills.
Hence, as a business owner, you should create a learning model without fixed rules that restrict or restrain people. Instead, they should experience frameworks that enable and enhance their capabilities.
These processes should provide individuals with the tools and resources needed to excel in their roles while allowing experimentation, exploration, and innovation.
Use a powerful ideation platform in exploring innovation
Accept Mission is an excellent ideation platform for exploring innovation. It offers various features and capabilities to help individuals and teams generate and collaborate on new ideas, evaluate them based on key criteria, and ultimately drive innovation.
You can also customize the platform to meet your specific goals and needs, which means you can tailor the ideation process to your unique circumstances. It also has the ability to facilitate collaboration and communication.
The platform enables team members to share ideas, provide feedback, and engage in real-time discussion, fostering a collaborative environment that can enhance the ideation process.
It also provides a centralized location for storing and organizing ideas, making tracking progress easy and ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Lastly, you can use the platform to evaluate and prioritize ideas. With other team members, you can set the criteria for assessing ideas based on feasibility, impact, and alignment with strategic objectives.
And more importantly, we provide a dashboard for tracking progress and monitoring performance.