Proper innovation management keeps the engine running. The fuel for its engine is ideas while its power is on the execution of projects that deliver business value.
If you want to get started with innovation management, here are some tips that you can incorporate with your innovation process:
1. Have a clear definition of your innovation strategy
When it comes to innovation management, it’s vital that you have a clear and goal-oriented innovation strategy.
As with any strategy, you need to set clear and smart goals for your innovation process. When setting these goals, you need to take into account the strategic problems that you want to solve and the opportunities that come your way.
In addition, you also need to connect your innovation management strategy with your company’s BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).
For example, our BHAG is to execute one million innovation missions by 2025. To achieve that, we continue to innovate and help more organizations find success with innovation through our various services including innovation consultancy, innovation software, and innovation training.
2. Connect your innovation strategy to the business strategy
There many companies that are innovating well, though many of them are not as famous as Tesla.
As you may know already, Tesla is one of the hottest innovative companies this day. They released their first electric sports car in 2008 and after nine years, they’re already one of the most valuable automakers in the United States.
Be that as it may, you will probably find it a bit absurd if one day they announce their newest, touch-screen, cutting edge, dishwasher and dryer (unless it’s inside one of their Tesla car models).
That was clearly an exaggerated example — but the point here is that before you start an innovation project, check first if it fits with your company’s business goals and strategies. A good innovation management strategy has to be aligned with your company’s business strategy.
It definitely helps if your organization has internal innovation sprint masters who guide the innovation process from start to finish. These are the people who validate the ideas and whether or not they should be elaborated and further investigated upon.
3. Establish your innovation metrics to determine outcomes
Before starting out, make sure to establish innovation metrics in which you will be measuring how successful your projects will be. Although metrics are usually numbers, you also have to look beyond and see the important information behind those digits.
When finding out the key metrics for your own organization, ensure that these indicators are the ones that will help you move closer to your goals. Don’t focus on the metrics that are “easy to measure”. Instead, find those that are important.
Note that having the right metrics will help you ensure that you’re moving in the right direction. It will also help in making sure that you’re allocating the right resources to the right projects. Furthermore, they will let you see how effective your innovation activities are.
4. Make use of innovation management software
An innovation management platform like Accept Mission will help you handle the whole innovation process painlessly. Basically, it’s a business application that delivers business value and will help you measure and optimize the performance of your innovation projects.
Under the hood, you will find features that will help you with:
Optimizing the innovation process and business value
For example, Accept Mission has an innovation dashboard that will tell you how your organization’s innovation projects are doing, along with other relevant information.
The bottom line is that using an innovation management platform will definitely help you in overseeing the whole innovation process of your company.
5. Enhance your ideation strategy and organization
Ideas are the lifeblood of innovation. Without new ideas, no innovation can happen. That’s why ideation fuels innovation.
However, the ideation strategy must also be satisfactory. If the ideation is poorly executed, bad ideas are born. Bad ideas are the perfect recipe for failed innovation projects. What you should be after are good ideas.
On the other hand, good ideas may not always be that obvious. That’s why you need to dig deeper than the first “good” or “profitable” idea that you can think of. For that, idea management tools and solutions can help.
For instance, it’s intuitive for people to know to avoid bad ideas. This leads to some contributors fearing the judgment of others as their ideas may be considered “bad”. In this case, enabling contributors to pitch in their ideas “anonymously” is a good success factor to consider.
That is why one of Accept Mission’s key gamification features is enabling anyone to go “undercover” on an innovation campaign (internally called “missions”). Aside from that, users can work with timers and goals, and earn experience points for their contribution.
As for organizing ideas, Accept Mission has an inbox feature that will enable you to categorize ideas easily using subjects. It’s like a traditional inbox with the sole purpose of collecting as many ideas as possible and allowing you to arrange them however you please.
6. Focus on building an innovation engine
As with any other type of project, it’s tempting to simply settle down with innovation projects once or twice a year. Many people think that it’s already enough as innovation projects can take months.
The good news is that there’s always a better way. After all, that’s what innovation is about. The key here is for your organization to focus on building an innovation engine that’s always running.
Here at Accept Mission, we call it an “innovation management framework”. It’s a sustainable innovation system that’s fueled by ideas and problems that go through a filter (which helps determine the best ones to execute).
Through this method, you will be able to build a way of working through your innovation projects. This helps you avoid running around doing a lot of things that will make you look busy with work that doesn’t have enough concrete value.
7. Build a culture of innovation
The problem with most organizations is that many of them don’t take innovation seriously. The biggest struggle relates to how hierarchically-oriented some of the managers and leaders are. Many of them believe that innovation is only reserved for top-level executives.
It may not be that big of a problem for small companies and startups. But larger organizations have more people where many of them don’t even know each other. In addition, there will be a need for an ever-increasing number of systems and tools to help the company grow faster.
The key here is that all members and employees of the organization should be aware of how important innovationis and how it benefits the company in general. That’s why those at the top should prioritize building this kind of innovation culture.
Another thing that can help is building a culture where problems and ideas, even radical ones, are embraced and accepted. Employees and members may think of better ideas when they’re facing a problem. These ideas may prove to be keys for successful innovation in the future.
8. Combine reactive and proactive innovation
When organizations only get new ideas from their engagement with customers and suppliers, that is called “reactive innovation”. For many, this is already more than enough. Well, at least there’s still some innovation that happens.
But if you want your organization to become truly successful, you need to focus on both proactive and reactive innovations. Proactive is the opposite of reactive. You’re not merely waiting for some ideas to come down from the mouths of those you engage with.
When you’re practicing proactive innovation, that means you ask the right questions to the target groups that you want to include. This is when you ask your customers to think with you on generating new ideas for new products.
When possible, put more focus on proactive innovations as they will be the ones that will create more business value in the long run. Usually, when you receive inspiration through reactive innovation, it usually comes in the form of feedback.
Innovation management and technology
Fortunately, many of the tips you have read earlier can be integrated with technology. For example, once you have established your innovation metrics and key indicators, good innovation software will help you track those down and let you know how you are doing.
This can be in the form of a dashboard, like what Accept Mission has. The dashboard within the platform is capable of showing you the most important metrics that you have as well as a live data connector for dashboard tools like Power BI.
Another example is how having a platform will enable you to save time from collecting ideas and organizing them. With technology, you will have to collect the ideas yourself from different channels. Organizing them is another work of its own. Combine this and you will run out of time.
Next steps: The end result that everyone hopes to achieve with innovation is to contribute to the company’s success and continuity. Innovation management platforms like Accept Mission play a big role at that.
If you want to level up the way you manage your innovation, book a demo here to see how much easier and more fun your work gets with the use of your platform.