Innovation is essential - Deepstash
Innovation is essential

Innovation is essential

Innovation is a discipline that can be learned and repeated. However, it is organised and operate differently from everyday business.

Many companies are aware that they need to create an innovation capability but don't know where to start. Working through five ideas can help understand what projects are essential to success, how to get projects into your portfolio, where innovation and growth are located, and how to start work with a few small projects.

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MORE IDEAS FROM 5 Questions to Build Your Company’s Capacity for Innovation

Executives are seldom set up to deliver performance and growth. Instead, they typically pay more attention to day-to-day performance.

One way to focus on growth is to ask your organisation to articulate how much new growth they expect to get and where it will be coming from. Then, you need to look at your portfolio of opportunities: the projects and programs you are currently working on. 

  • Assign spending to what is needed to keep your business going, 
  • decide on what to invest in the next generation of your core, and 
  • consider how to explore options for the future.

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There are seven different types of how to locate an innovation group within the company.

  1. Put the innovation group inside an existing business unit.
  2. Create a division within a current unit specifically for innovations.
  3. Add it to R&D.
  4. Have innovation report to a dedicated senior staff function in line with the top leadership.
  5. Create a whole new ventures division.
  6. Have the innovation group report directly to the CEO.
  7. Adopt "permissionless" structures.

If you are new to this, use one of the first four. The last three requires a larger organisational change.

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Use scorecards to allow people to see the logic behind your strategic choices and lay out what good looks like for your strategy.

  • In a meeting, have everyone identify two initiatives or ideas they were involved with developing recently (one which was a good strategic fit and the other that they'd have preferred not to be involved in.)
  • Identify and document up to five factors that made the difference between the two.
  • Identify common themes that emerge.
  • Score a few actual projects.

You should now have a set of statements that define what good and bad look like.

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The governance system in your organisation helps projects into the portfolio. It also establishes the scope of innovations and defines what is in the scope. Ideally, it is the growth board that sets up metrics for what opportunities deserves further development.

  • A good practice is for the funds the growth board manages to be separate from the funds that support the base business.
  • This fund should bear any losses incurred by a new business.
  • The leader may get all the benefits of any upsides and isn't penalised for any downsides.

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At first, do not start with a large team or a significant budget. Instead, pick a few small projects where success can be shown and use them for training people on how to plan uncertain projects with a discovery-driven approach.

  • It means planning via checkpoints,
  • people learning the approach to testing and learning,
  • discovering which assumptions are valid, and
  • experimentation.

Progress metrics for innovation is different from the established business. Relevant metrics include progress through checkpoints, the speed of experimentation, interactions with customers, ideas rejected.

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RELATED IDEA

Innovation

...comes with a relentless focus on experience and not being satisfied by “just getting it out.” You must take time to create a complete experience by taking your innovative idea and ruthlessly concentrating on how to reduce it to its essence. 

It’s not just about the cool new feature. It’s more about how you can simplify it to a compelling solution.

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Innovation in business

The idea of innovation is taking off just as fast as the businesses that embrace it.

But, not all companies are prepared to push innovation within their organizations. Changing workplace systems and procedures requires resilience and flexibility, and it’s an unfortunate reality that many people are afraid of or continue to resist change.

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Constraints vs Obstacles

Constraints are viewed as obstacles. The common wisdom regarding obstacles suggests that we have to remove all constraints.

We tend to believe that by getting rid of all rules and regulations, real creativity and innovation will start to emerge.

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