Four things you can do to make innovation happen
April 27, 2017 by Amy Muller
In recent years the focus has been on creating highly efficient organizations that apply lean principles to both management and operations. We recognize it has become very hard for many companies to allocate time and resources to make innovation happen. But fortunately there are ways to make innovation more efficient. Here we describe 4 simple things you can implement.
- Develop a plan and schedule for your innovation project – and manage it as a project. Innovation should be a structured process; not a free-for-all. The sequential steps of insight development, idea generation, idea elaboration, and experiment design can be managed using a variety of tools. This means providing clear objectives, tools and instruction, and setting intermediate milestones.
- Recognize that innovation is a social process. Innovation is more likely to result from structured group discussions than from solitary independent work; try to schedule lots of face- time for generating, elaborating, and reviewing ideas. Some tasks, like insight research and interviews can be done independently, but bring the team together to synthesize and discuss the collected findings.
- Schedule “Events” to incorporate the ideas and expertise of a wider group of employees. Events can allow the Core Team to make rapid progress in many of the stages of innovation; especially in the idea generation phase and in elaborating business models.
- Provide a realistic way for your Core Team to dedicate some meaningful fraction of their time to innovation. Encourage the innovators to assess their priorities and workloads and to find ways to eliminate low priority tasks and to delegate other tasks to co-workers. Provide formal “performance review” recognition for the innovation work. Make it clear to employees that innovation is their work and they will be recognized for doing it.