Change presents endless opportunities for innovation. We are going through the largest change to our lives for a generation, and at an alarming pace. Both our professional and personal lives have been hugely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
So how do organizations deal effectively with the multitude of innovation opportunities which the new landscape is creating at a dramatically increased pace?
Organizations are facing enormous challenges
The current health crisis has brought about numerous changes to organizations’ ways of working, to demand (both increased and decreased) for particular products, and to the way in which they interact with their teams and customers. The crisis has brought about both opportunities to revolutionise their business model and to combat the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mantra.
Some organizations have needed to change completely the way they work. Large Professional Services firms, for example, have found their expensive offices in prominent city locations are not a necessity in order to service their clients effectively and that, with open and clear team communication, the same client outcomes can be achieved by teams working remotely. But will this new delivery model remain in place once restrictions are fully lifted?
The above example is just one of a multitude of anecdotes from across multiple sectors which presents organizations with the conundrum of how to decide what to do when you can do anything, but you cannot do everything.
What is needed?
We believe the answer is to have a strategic approach to innovation. It is when you are under most pressure that it is most valuable to have an overall approach (a strategy) which includes innovation. It is much easier to handle opportunities and necessities to innovate with tighter deadlines, in larger numbers, and of a wider range of types, when you have a clearer understanding of where to focus your attention and effort.
Underpinning this approach is a robust set of criteria for assessing innovation ideas and deciding which to take forward. The fundamental question the criteria should seek to answer is ‘How will this innovation help us to achieve our organization’s purpose?’ It is a great way of focussing attention and effort, and time and budget, on those opportunities which will have the biggest impact on the organization realising its objectives. If the champions of the innovation can’t answer that question, then, although this might seem harsh, it should not proceed at that point.
The benefits of a strategic approach
As mentioned earlier ‘you can do anything but you can’t do everything’.
It is for this reason that we advise an approach where the agreed criteria should be implemented through a triage system which enables those making decisions around innovation quickly to filter out those initiatives which will not contribute to the organization’s overall purpose. And communicating those decisions will be easier due to their objective nature. There will, of course, be a number of other considerations for taking forward those that remain in the running, but with strategy as the basis for taking these ideas forward, innovation leaders know they are operating on a sound footing.
Neat Strategy can help you to develop your innovation assessment criteria and to implement the system for prioritising opportunities. Contact us to learn more.