You say your organization is innovative. It’s in your marketing/advertising and on your website. I’ve seen it in your mission, vision and annual statements and your CEO and sales personnel talk it up a lot.
So show me your innovation system, program, plan, strategy, initiative or whatever you call it. What does it look like, how does it fit into your organization, how is it financed, are there policies and processes, how do you measure it, is it real, do your employees understand it, who is responsible for it, who else is involved and is it effective?
I don’t want to see your ideation and stage gate software, white board and posted notes scribble, we all know these are merely tools and a few tools and techniques just doesn’t cut it. Show me some real evidence.
This is where the conversation stops!
All organization’s that market themselves as being innovative should be able to provide evidence to back-up their talk and marketing, especially publicly traded companies, companies involved in M&A activities and governments at all levels. And why do governments give away so much tax payer money to spur innovation to companies that can’t show evidence of a capability to innovation?
Innovation evidence has two parts, CAPABILITY and PERFORMANCE. If you haven’t established a capability to innovation don’t worry about performance.
Show me evidence of;
• Management commitment and leadership – auditable mission/vision statements, measurable innovation objectives, documented strategies, proof of communications, allocation of resources (human and financial) and participation in innovation activities.
• Who manages innovation, are there teams, who else is involved with innovation, is it reflected in their job descriptions, are they competent and who has been trained.
• Processes established and being used for direct and indirect innovation activities covering both tangible and intangible aspects of innovation.
• How does innovation fit into your overall business operations and is it budgeted, monitored, measured and reported like your other core functions etc.
We can go deeper, can you?
Show me evidence of;
• Knowing and incorporating stakeholder needs, expectations and future requirements.
• Knowledge acquisition, continual learning, customer and market research, innovation ideas, concepts and opportunities obtained, evaluated and selected.
• Project and portfolio management, experimentation, prototyping, testing and lessons learned.
• Planning and deployment of the developed ideas, concepts and opportunities. – Monitoring and measuring of all the innovation activities (individually and as a whole).
• Maturity, effectiveness and actions implemented for improvement, etc.
We can go deeper, can you?
Innovation studies and reports have been out there for a few years suggesting organizations that innovate tend to do better than the ones that don’t and organizations that practice structured, and systematic innovation do much better. Now apparently there is a new report that suggests otherwise, which I’ll gladly challenge.
I’m not a big fan of these surveys and reports mainly due to their self serving purpose, criteria used and lack of definition. Common sense wins every time, you just can’t make it up as you go along all the time and expect effective and sustained results.
How many times do we have to hear CEO’s say innovation is very important to them, they are not happy with their organization’s performance and it’s at the top of their agenda. How many more times will we hear this excuse for doing nothing of any substance and future long term thinking.
Hiring a Chief Innovation Officer or Manager with no means and authority to get the job done and wasting more money on useless innovation related training that has no solid base that can be rooted in the organization just doesn’t make sense . Would it not be smarter to develop an innovation capability and train your employees to your system?
Innovation in business and government worldwide is currently very liquid mainly due to a general lack of comprehension of what innovation is, what it should look like and how it works, and it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s hard to be patient and not to be critical of all the innovation rhetoric and fiction out there, however I do believe in time wisdom will prevail.
The wisdom is simple, ad-hoc innovation practices have no value to your organization and will provide little or nothing meaningful both short term and long term. (there is always the one in a million lucky idea that works, but is that sustainable?)
Structured and managed innovation practices that produce capability and performance evidence has value to your organization. The calculated market value of Innovation Management Systems and Managed Innovation Projects will be discussed soon in a future blog.
Time to stop playing and deal with reality and get real with innovation, build a capability. Stop the offsite annual brainstorming, Lego games, collaborative and open innovation you can’t deliver on, and don’t say you are innovative unless you can prove it.
Unfortunately a lot of time, money and resources will be wasted, employees will be frustrated, other stakeholders will be disappointed until the wisdom sinks in.
If an organization boasts about their product or service quality, it can be assessed, measured and therefore challenged. Now the same can be said about innovation.
The TIM Innovation Maturity Model provides the solid criteria and guidance you need to develop, assess and measure your innovation capability and performance.
Its time to get wise and meet the innovation challenge head on!