In my previous post, I discussed five common obstacles that get in the way of innovation. A company that wants to be consistently innovative, needs to make the decision that it’s important, necessary, and a part of the strategic plan over the long term. For such a strategy to get off the ground and find success, certain factors need to be in place.
While there were five common ways that get in the way of innovation, there are just four requirements needed to be successful:
- Alignment among all stakeholders. As mentioned previously, lack of leadership and workforce support is a huge hurdle to overcome when it comes to innovation—but it absolutely necessary. Successful innovation requires support from all key stakeholders: the CEO, board of directors, leadership, staff, and family shareholders, etc. These parties need to be aligned on the value and priority placed on the innovation function within the company, including expectations regarding factors like budget and time horizon.
- Integration of innovation into overall business strategy. One way to foster buy-in from your stakeholders is to thoughtfully integrate innovative initiatives into a broader, well-formed business strategy based on an examination of the likely impact of longer-term cultural, demographic, and market trends. Remaining competitive requires having some sense of where the market is headed and trying to get out ahead of those developments. When innovation is a part of a structured approach to achieving company strategy, it becomes more than just an “interesting idea.” To truly achieve success, innovation can’t be a standalone function that generates ideas in a vacuum, nor can it be focused on merely solving local problems.
- A structured innovation process. Along with integrating initiatives into the overall business strategy, having a true innovation process is critical. Doing so will make sure the company doesn’t revert to a transactional, opportunistic, one-off approach. It’s a careful balance, however, as you don’t want a process so rigid or rigorous that it inhibits quick decision making and execution.
- An internal culture of innovation that celebrates small wins. An organization aiming to innovate needs to focus internally on small steps and small wins prior to engaging in any really disruptive or transformative changes. Generating examples of measurable success and advances on a small scale can visibly demonstrate and validate the importance and value of innovation, for leadership and employees alike. This both helps grow senior level support for the innovation process and sows the seeds of cultural change among the employees.
There are a lot of potential obstacles that get in the way of successful innovation; however, if a company commits to following these four requirements, innovation will be an effective part of a profitable business strategy. Learn more by visiting, barrybreede.com