Innovation as a repeatable process
With this presentation, I’d like to: • Talk about opportunities and challenges for innovation in most firms • Describe the challenges to innovation within most organizations • Define why we believe an innovation process is so important • Examine the steps or phases within an innovation process • Have some fun at the same time
• OVO is a consulting firm focused on improving innovation and idea management
– – – – We provide ideation and brainstorming facilitation We define and implement innovation processes We define and train innovation teams We build idea management software
• Jeffrey Phillips
– One of the lead consultants from OVO – Active in a number of innovation projects for Fortune 500 firms – Author of the just published book – Make us more Innovative – Author of the Innovate on Purpose blog and numerous magazine articles and white papers on innovation
• Every other critical business goal is supported by a defined process – why not innovation? • Like any key business outcome, innovation should be repeatable and sustainable – That requires a standard process • Processes will enable increased idea flow, idea generation and will detail the commercialization of ideas
The Case for Innovation
• Innovation ranks as one of the top three corporate initiatives in over 70% of the Fortune 500 today • As global markets open up and competition grows, innovation remains one of the few options for organic growth • As product life cycles shorten and new products and substitutes enter the market, innovation is even more important as a way to generate new products and services quickly
Beating a Dead Horse
We’re all busy innovating
• Like any good team, we do what we’re instructed to do. And so do all of the other teams in the business • Right now, in most businesses, there are four or five or six innovation initiatives underway
Perhaps there’s a better way
While excitement is good and innovation is clearly a corporate intent, is this the best way to make it happen?
Organizing for Success
Why is process important?
• Myth 1:
– Most inventions and innovations are created by, well, guys with bad haircuts in lab jackets who work by themselves with no discernable process
• Myth 2:
– Great ideas come from the ether – creativity can’t be organized or managed
• Myth 3:
– Process? We don’t need no stinking process! That will just gum up the works
Examples of the Myths
Slaying the Myths
• Everyone follows a process – well defined or poorly defined. Creating a concrete innovation process or flow will enable ideas to move more quickly • Creativity is hard to organize, but creativity represents only 5% or less of the innovation work. Everything else is about validating and commercializing the idea • Everything else in a business is organized around processes – if innovation is important, shouldn’t it have the same methods and tools?
• • • • Innovation requires a cross-functional team Innovation needs management support Innovation needs a defined process Innovation requires cultural acceptance of risk and failure
Preaching to the Choir
• Innovation is important • For successful innovation, you’ve got to have more than just serendipity and luck • Perhaps we can do this better than we are doing it today • So, what does organized innovation look like?
Who owns the innovation process?
• When we talk about an innovation process, we mean an end to end process from trend spotting and understanding customer needs to commercializing an idea and launching it as a new product or service.
Reality in most firms
• Marketing or product management “own” trend spotting and competitive intelligence • Product management owns product roadmaps • Finance decides what business plans get funded • Manufacturing decides whether or not to add a product to the production cycle
Beyond the lack of an organized team focused on innovation, most firms lack an innovation process
• No clearly defined innovation process • Multiple owners who don’t coordinate well • Poor transition from idea to pilot or prototype to product or service • Poor decision making and funding mechanisms
• Identify Trends/Opportunities/Blue Oceans • Generate ideas • Evaluate ideas • Develop, test and prototype ideas • Fund the ideas • Convert into viable products or services • Launch and monitor
• Simple exercise rarely done
– no one team or individual owns the responsibility – quarterly pressures are too high to invest in looking “down the road”
– Quarterly, or at least every six months, have a crossfunctional team collect, synthesize and report key trends and their likely impacts to your business – Use outsiders, experts and industry watchers who can provide an “outside in” perspective
• Idea generation happens all the time in your business
– Most brainstorms are poorly planned and managed, with little context or alignment to strategy
• Open suggestion boxes rapidly become complaint systems • Recommendation:
– Organize define innovation programs or campaigns around strategically important topics and allow your team to submit ideas in line with these topics. Organize one or two campaigns a quarter.
• Most firms do not have consistent evaluation frameworks or criteria to use to evaluate and select ideas • Recommendation
– Establish a standard set of criteria to use to evaluate any idea – market size, growth opportunities, ability of the firm to enter the space, etc – Define opportunity-specific criteria when necessary and document them – Train a cross functional team to evaluate the ideas and present their changes or recommendations – Define a presentation format or business case template for standardization
Pilot or Prototype
• Prototype the ideas quickly using simple materials (for physical products) and mockups or simulations (for processes) • Recommendation:
– Set aside funds to develop prototypes and to test the prototypes with prospects – Don’t over-engineer the prototypes – Establish criteria to determine when ideas should be prototyped or piloted
• The most significant barrier to innovation – “Good” ideas fail to be recognized and “adopted” by product or service teams • Most often these teams had no visibility to the ideas or feel no ownership • Recommendation
– Provide visibility to ideas in the innovation pipeline early – Seek sponsors or likely adopters to ideas – Have the resources necessary to commercialize an idea outside of the existing product lines or service teams
• Implement the steps necessary to launch a new product or service into the market • New products and services may require a completely different marketing launch than existing products • Recommendation
– Bring the teams necessary for a successful launch into the discussions about new products or services as early as possible
Alternatives to a process
• Idea champion
– Has an idea, works to mature the idea outside of a defined process – Invents a path or process for each idea – Squeaky wheels get the grease
Benefits of a defined process
• Create a clear purpose and “flow” of ideas • Ideas are considered and evaluated on a consistent basis • Many different perspectives confront and challenge the idea • Improved management of innovation • Aligns to the best practices in most businesses
Making the process work
• Reinforce the process – ideas must be worked within the process • Define an end to end process and educate people on the process • Define and staff roles to support the process • Develop systems and databases to enable the process and workflow
• We all recognize that innovation is important • Like any other business function, innovation works best when it is organized and follows a process • Every other important function in your business follows a process – why not innovation?
• For more information on OVO:
– www.ovoinnovation.com – (919) 844-5644 x789 – firstname.lastname@example.org