Thursday, May 03, 2007

Innovation – the way it works

This is not the definitive guide to innovation. It is just one way, and it works. The process outlined below is for a single innovation project, not continuous innovation. That is a step too far for a newsletter.

To start with there will be some sort of startup event in which key stakeholders are seen to give approval. The traditional rallying call to troops is not appropriate here. Next you are likely to take stock of where you are in terms of skills and capabilities. Our Innovation Toolkit can help you to do this. The ‘end of the beginning’ is to set up the necessary infrastructure, define objectives etc.

If there are any skills or capability gaps then these need to be covered with appropriate training before entering a research phase. This includes market research, feasibility, trend spotting, reviewing legislation etc.

Next comes the idea generation phase. Although it sounds like chaos, the aim is to produce a number of options for products, services or processes but to then filter them down to a manageable number.

There will then be a period where ideas are prototyped, tested and refined. At this point (and not before) you can produce a plan for your new business venture and work with production and operations people to implement and roll out your idea.

Although you will be sitting down pleased with yourself at this point you need to do one more thing, ensure that the lessons learned (from success as well as failure) are captured for future use.

The pleasing thing about all this is that it is possible to successfully plan your innovation project. Good luck with yours.

1 comment:

dm said...

"Although it sounds like chaos, the aim is to produce a number of options for products, services or processes but to then filter them down to a manageable number."

Hopefully it is a bit chaotic since creativity comes from the edge of chaos. But you highlight a very important point -- you've got to get things down to a manageable number and endless generation of ideas, enjoyable though it may be can rapidly become a paper chase rather than something constructive. Yes, creativity is needed although it must be harnessed if something meaningful is to result.

David