The more an innovation disrupts your company, the harder it will be to complete. The ideal innovation provides maximum market success for minimal corporate disruption.
Try three common mind-sets when seeking insights. You can seek insights like a “detective,” observing “people in action” and depending on “external research.” You can be “an introspector,” looking first for new ideas within yourself and in the past. Later in the process, you can use external research to flesh out and “validate gut hunches.” Or you can be “an empathizer,” gathering insights by “putting yourself in other people’s shoes.”
The real alchemy of transformational innovation isn’t about the answers at all. The answers are the relatively easy part. The tough bit is what comes before: finding transformational questions.
Generating “business-to-business innovation” (B2B) is “far more complex” than innovating for the consumer market.
Source: How to Kill a Unicorn, Mark Payne
Many people misunderstand innovation. They think of it as coming up with “some clever new gadget.” Instead, think of innovation as delivering new value to your customers.
Discipline 1: Focus on “Important Needs”
The starting place for every new innovation, whether it is incremental or transformational, is to understand the overall ‘market space’.
Discipline 2: “Value Creation”
To have the biggest impact, it is not enough just to create the highest customer value; we must also eliminate the activities and unnecessary costs that get in the way.
Discipline 3: “Innovation Champions”
For an idea to bear fruit, it needs an innovation champion. Someone has to believe in the idea, explain it to others and persuade them to join in its creation. These champions need “at least one other person” to spark an innovation successfully.
Discipline 4: “Innovation Teams”
No matter how smart one person may be, a team working together always outperforms an individual. Well-run teams share collaboration processes, like focusing on ideas rather than roles and writing down all the ideas they generate. Their collaboration depends on three factors: a shared strategic vision, teammates having complementary skills and the team sharing rewards as a whole.
Discipline 5: “Organizational Alignment”
To succeed, innovations must align with an organization’s goals. Innovators need to remove barriers to innovation. Sometimes that means launching “an entirely new enterprise” dedicated to the innovation.
Source: Innovation - The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want, Curtis R. Carlson and William W. Wilmot
Definition of Innovation
Innovation is defined as "people creating value by implementing new ideas." Innovation is not the same as creativity. Innovation training enables organizations to identify and nurture the activities and policies that contribute to their success. Sometimes innovation involves merely tweaking a product or service for better results. Other times, innovation is radical, and can change an entire company or industry.
- Innovation requires a new way of approaching problems and opportunities.
- Your can teach innovation through a series of short workshops, in longer sessions or individually.
- Creativity is a teachable skill, though good workshop facilitators are crucial
Principles of Innovation
- Change happens for a reason - Motivation for change stems from being able to understand the impetus for innovation. Bigger challenges typically inspire greater commitment and vigor. Regardless of the nature of the changes, keep an eye on your main objective: to create value for your customer.
- Communication is the linchpin — Innovation depends on the free exchange of ideas and information. Your organizational structure, philosophies and policies should allow — in fact, encourage — open communication among employees, managers and people in different departments. Corporate cultures that reward individuality and discourage collaboration may be stifling innovation. Teamwork is essential to innovation, which also requires careful communication at every stage from implementation to follow-up.
- Leaders lead — Even organizations that promote communication and cooperation require charismatic leadership. Capable leaders envision possibilities and inspire others. Innovation is impossible without a unified effort from employees on every level, and that requires committed, visionary, capable leadership.
- Culture matters — You can't innovate in an organization that lacks the proper mindset and infrastructure. Corporate culture evolves over time as the byproduct of an organization's written and unwritten rules, beliefs, decisions and policies. Changing corporate culture is a huge undertaking that requires re-examining behaviors, attitudes and procedures. The first step is identifying the disparities between your current culture and the one you envision in the future.
- Everything in context — Companies usually initiate a drive for innovation in response to some event or circumstance. Maybe profits are down, the market is shifting, the company is undergoing a merger or a change in top management, the community is recovering from a natural disaster or there's a war. Recognize that forces outside your sphere will always affect your business and your decisions.
Innovation Training, Ruth Ann Hattori and Joyce Wycoff