Innovation: not a single recipe but multiple needed ingredients
Innovation initiatives often fail because of ambiguous goals and inconsistent support from the entire organization. Only a strong sponsorship of innovation by CEO can drive support and consensus for the innovation effort, starting from executives.
A centralized Innovation Portfolio Management is needed to define clear purpose, scope and success measures of the innovation effort. A “Head of Innovation” must be end-to-end responsible to create the Innovation Plan and have relevant stakeholders respect it. Without clear end-to-end responsibility, Innovation initiatives risk failures, since success criteria and process monitoring are not in place.
There is not a single recipe for success in Innovation, but we can define a list of mandatory ingredients, that we can group in 4 categories:
1. Strategy Alignment
- CEO’s sponsorship and proper level of investments
- “Venture Capitalist” mindset and approach
- Aligned and shared Business-Innovation goals to get management buy-in
- Steering Committees
- Centralized Innovation Board and PMO
2. Cross-Company & Cross-process collaboration
- Communication and Collaboration
- Common standards, methodology (e.g. Sprint, Design Thinking) and criteria for success
- Shared Innovation Pipeline where all the employees may/must contribute
3. “Innovation Culture” and Digital Change Mgt
- Cross-functional workshops and projects
- An Innovation Hub, where MVPs, developments and deployments may run
- Teams rotation for innovators
- Incentives and bonus for innovators
- Assessments for identifying gaps and/or resistances
- Corrective actions, including recruitment, re-skilling and up-skilling
- Environment where disruptive ideas may circulate
4. Open Innovation / Ecosystem Management
- Ecosystem creation
- Relationships mgt (including: Partners, Start-ups, Universities, Customers, Providers)
I do believe that people’s involvement, at every level in the organization, is the most important success factor, and the ingredients listed above are just tools to get people’s buy-in and Innovation initiatives often fail because of ambiguous goals and inconsistent support from the entire organization proactive contribution to create and embrace Innovation.
About the Author
This article was written by Antonio Mosca. Innovation manager certified by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and the National Body for Digital Transformation. For over 20 years at the helm of digital innovation and business transformation initiatives, both in multinationals (Korber, Ericsson, Microsoft, EIT Digital) and consulting firm (Accenture, Ernst & Young). He recently founded New Digital Solutions, which offers consulting and solutions for Innovation and Digital Transformation.