This is a common question asked in companies as they struggle to develop innovation programs and drive growth. Assuming that growth within an existing business model is possible. If not, then the business model may need to updated and/or revamped. Of course, this is typically the last thing that gets “questioned” let alone modified. So, we’ll focus on the “easier” points first since these are pretty common challenges for most organizations.
Innovation is hampered by an ineffective process for identifying opportunities for actioning ideas. Most companies use a hierarchical process for reviewing ideas and approving them. Ideas need to be evaluated on their own merit and aligned with the strategic direction for where the company wants to create value in the market. The key for enabling sustainable innovation is to create a pipeline of opportunities based on precise measurement of value (less than 5% of companies have this capability). Once that is in place, the next goal is to create focused ideation on 2 levels:
- Level 1 – create ideas that address the value gaps for customers (these are value platforms)
- Level 2 – create ideas that address the value delivery gaps in your delivery processes, technology, and assets (this is where you define, architect, and assemble the technical platforms used to create value).
The steps are straightforward and they work very well. The challenge is changing the way folks think about measuring value and enabling/supporting collaboration horizontally & vertically across the organization. This requires an entrepreneurial mindset willing to question everything, which allows creative (but controlled) experiments in disruptive ideation to proceed forward. The key is to ensure the disruptive ideas are focused on addressing the precisely measured value gaps and not on the hope that customers will perceive the value once the concept is brought to the market.