Four Key Factors To Innovation Success
Terry Braverman and Company

Four Key Factors To Innovation Success

Product Innovation Strategy

 

It all starts at the top. If there is not a clear and crisp product innovation strategy that supports the business strategy, problems begin. Some key challenges are: Do we have one? Is it clear? Is it the right strategy? Is everyone aligned? Are people walking the talk? Are there realistic expectations on new product revenues?

 

Lack of a product innovation strategy tailored to support the strategy of the business is often cited as a most common problem.

 

Portfolio Management

 

This is the strategic allocation of resources that ensures innovation efforts advance the product innovation strategy.  This is also the prioritization of projects in the pipeline to ensure that resources are being tactically deployed on the right projects for the right reasons.

 

Some key challenges are: too many projects and not enough resources to get everything done, difficulty in deciding which projects to select (when evaluating multiple projects that are competing for the same resources), difficulty in optimizing the portfolio of projects (i.e. short-term versus long-term, high-risk versus low-risk), poor alignment on priorities, and resources that are simply stretched too thinly.

 

Idea-to-Launch Process

 

This is the road map or playbook that takes each project from idea to launch including all of the activities and decisions that must occur in order to be successful.

 

Some key challenges are: not enough high-quality ideas; not having a standard playbook that can be used repeatedly for projects; leadership that cannot articulate the importance of their idea-to-launch process; employees who have not received training or have not developed a knowledge foundational base on and around innovation best practices; not tailoring the development process to support the business strategy and project needs; being unable to say no to projects and/or the need to be realistic with actual time and resource expectations that otherwise lead to unrealistic speed-to-market pressures; expectations for resource commitments to work on projects that are not in the official process; too many minor projects that negatively impact the resources available for innovation projects; and the inability to yield effective decisions in a timely manner (i.e. everything is a high priority thus creating ‘gridlock’ which in turn results in significant delays).

 

It is no wonder given the above why achieving and then sustaining success is so difficult for many companies.

 

Climate and Culture

 

This is the way the organization works: the typical behavior, norms, values and leadership style that enables or hinders product innovation performance. Some key challenges: difficulty in striking a healthy balance between ‘discipline and focus’ and ‘flexibility and judgment’, driving projects to successful completion while managing cross-functional teams (i.e. shortage of trained project leaders, staff turnover, gaps in necessary skills, lack of training and/or experience), management of failure, and poor support from other parts of the organization. In other words, creating and supporting a climate and culture that supports innovation company-wide.

 

How is your organization performing at product innovation and how does it compare to other companies? Without clear metrics and a way to compare them it can be difficult to know whether you are doing good or bad at product innovation; whether your investment in R&D is producing the desired results, and what areas of your performance might need to be improved or strengthened. The good news is, organizations can change, the question is do they want to?

 

Reprinted from article by Dr. Scott Edgett and Michael Phillips

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

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