Set the timing right for your innovation challenges

Now that you have identified your key innovation challenges and built them properly, remember to set the timings. Not only does the commitment to a deadline make participants focus, but this also helps you when defining goals with realistic deadlines.

Still, this does not mean one-time, finite initiatives or efforts. As one of our client says, ‘Innovation requires a lot of work, not only to describe ideas well but also to develop them.’ This is true from ideation through to collaborative idea improvement and implementation. For optimal results, you also have to roll-out an appropriate, ongoing communication plan, as described before, establishing medium- to long-term commitment to the project and implementing top ideas as you move forward.

Each cycle end further gives you the time you need to concentrate on implementation, evaluate the initiative, make improvement, tweak ideas and prepare to launch the next cycle of challenges.

THESE ACTIVATION QUESTIONS CAN HELP YOU:
  • How much time do we need to address this challenge?
  • Is a solution reachable within a two to three-month challenge? Or should we break down the challenge further?

Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO/ dnc@exago.com
Francisco Bernardes, Exago’s head of Innovation Services/ fmb@exago.com

READ MORE:
Five key dimensions for building your innovation challenges

FROM THE START:
Your ultimate innovation challenge – what works and what doesn’t

Are you building your innovation challenges right?

Having identified your key innovation challenges – aligned with your company’s higher purpose and strategic goals and made attainable, useful and targeted – it’s time to focus on describing them plainly and completely, to guarantee you’ll get meaningful content:

  • Make your innovation challenges as specific as you can: Break down the challenge’s macro theme into smaller challenges. We’ve learned that the narrower the scope of the challenge, the more imaginative the audience becomes, thus the more meaningful the ideas you’ll secure.
  • Clearly state and justify the need for a solution: Explain why exactly we can all benefit from this challenge.
  • Contextualise the problem and share the findings: Try to understand what has been done within that precise topic in the past, by your company and other competitors. Background checking can recall opportunities, dismiss dead ends and provide key ways to explain the innovation challenge in more detail to participants.
  • Promote ideation with related insights: These last are very useful tools to share the learning process and background details with participants.
  • Make sure also to respect grammar and orthography and send out clear messages:
    • Communications of challenges must use correct syntactic structures and clear sentences.
    • Vocabulary has to be familiar to participants. Business or technical jargon may seem obvious to you. Don’t assume it is to others.
    • Direct questions are a good option, when used in a positive way. This is true even for more driven exploration challenges.

If people do not understand the challenges they face, how can you expect them to participate? Unclear language will also compromise your audience’s future participation.

Here’s a client insight on the subject:

‘It’s very important to add insights and share them in ways we know will mean employees will check these insights.

Usually, our insights include descriptive information provided by the area that manages the subject, including some statistical data. We want to make sure our teams understand the challenges, particularly when these are more complex, and avoid the submission of ideas that we have already implemented or discussed.

Imagine the challenge “How to encourage SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] to set up online stores?”: In this case, we would present statistical information on SMEs in our country, explaining how many there are, what their types are and so on, so that employees understand the target better. Also, we would mention our company’s current offer for these customers, changes and improvements that have already been planned and possible tempting proposals that have been analysed but are not yet in the market (i.e. trying to ward off those apparently obvious ideas).’

Finally, try these activation questions:

  • Am I saying clearly how we can all benefit from this challenge?
  • Is this really one or more challenges? If so, which ones?
  • Are we asking the right questions?
  • What other approaches were attempted in the past?
  • Are we providing enough insights to power ideation?

 

READ MORE:
Set the timing right for your innovation challenges

FROM THE START:
Your ultimate innovation challenge – what works and what doesn’t

Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO / dnc@exago.com
Francisco Bernardes, Exago’s head of Innovation Services / fmb@exago.com

Our Innovation Gurus are the best

Fleury Group, Portugal Telecom and Liberty Seguros have been awarded the 2016 Exago Innovation Gurus Awards for their innovation, resilience and creativity. The winning teams of the initiative’s first edition have received and celebrated their trophies. Cheers to all winners!

THE RESILIENCE TO INNOVATE
Portugal Telecom is Exago’s 2016 Innovation Farmer. With a structured innovation programme that’s been evolving for almost a decade now, PT developed over 20 related communication initiatives in 2016, using both internal and external media, as well as offline communication, to involve the entire organisation.

According to Dalila Martins, Head of Organisational Communication at Portugal Telecom, “Innovation is a strategic pillar stone at PT and the OPEN programme makes it clear that, in our company, this is a process everyone can and must participate in. Launched in 2009, the programme has allowed us to spread a culture of innovation within the organisation, with important contributions to work processes’ improvement, new product development and customer relationships”. Dalila adds that “Exago has proved itself an excellence partner in this challenge, since moment one. Idea Market, Exago’s platform, is an indispensable tool in harnessing and implementing the ideas suggested by our employees to answer to our shared innovation challenges.”

To acknowledge this commitment to sustainable innovation, Exago has planted 100 trees in the name of Portugal Telecom via the Canopy Project – an initiative that strengthens communities worldwide through tree planting.

HUNTING FOR BEST PRACTICES IN INNOVATION
Liberty Seguros is our 2016 Innovation Hunter for its pledge to include all business units in the quest for new creative solutions – leading internal teams towards more innovative paths, with joint initiatives, strong leadership support and efficient and original incentives.

Rui Barata, Head of Planning and Management Information Systems, explains that “Liberty has believed in this project since the beginning and in its potential to value each employee’s ideas. We are learning together that ideas, innovation and gamification are three pillars that walk side by side and definitely work well. The process of idea transformation is happening at Liberty right now, becoming part of people’s mindset and our company’s DNA”.

Liberty’s innovation team was challenged – and scored highly – in an Escape Game challenge, further boosting its creativity and curiosity.

KEEPING THE FOCUS ON RESULTS

Last but not least, Innovation Bookkeeper 2016 was awarded to Fleury Group. Fleury demonstrated consistent focus in results measurement, achieving a remarkable return on investment of its innovation initiative. Over 90 implemented ideas directly contributed to an estimated 400% ROI. The group will receive a free Exago Innovation Service, during an ideation cycle, to explore more and new ways to optimise its results.

Amanda Ferri Curti, in charge of Strategy, Innovation and New Business at Fleury, recalls that “Group Fleury’s idea generation programme is reaching 10 years of experience in 2017, six of which counting with Exago to help us promote a culture of innovation within the organisation and capture employees’ and suppliers’ ideas for incremental innovations and opportunities to improve our processes. Throughout this period, we have gathered and assessed over 20 thousand ideas with a financial return on investment of over 2 million euros”, she says.

Exago’s Innovation Gurus Awards aim to thank and recognise clients for their focus and commitment to innovation. In addition, they allow us to celebrate the power of our idea management software in bringing people together to innovate and help organisations evolve.

How to really use your organisation’s collective intelligence

Studies show a direct, consistent correlation between the level of engagement of a company’s workforce and business growth. Fight for differentiation also remains on top of CEO’s agendas. But how can each organisation’s collective intelligence be harnessed and focused to continuously find new ideas and deliver sustainable results?

Invited to participate in KLIC – Knowledge Leadership in Innovation and Creativity conference at Pakistan, Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’co-founder, tells us more on the subject.

KPMG’s survey reveals how collaboration is central to success

Exago has partnered with KPMG in Portugal to promote the first global ‘Innovation Survey’ to companies operating in the country. Survey findings show how companies that systematically pursue collaboration opportunities have a significantly higher rate of commercially successful product launches and nearly twice as much revenue growth.

Three hundred participants at the European level took part in the survey, 39 of which were from Portugal. Overall, KPMG’s analysis concluded that good innovators in organisations with a budget allocated to innovation strategy and an idea management solution in place also have the largest share of revenue coming from successful new products launched in the last three years.

The data reveals as well that investing in product development and enhancement impacts positively on revenue growth. Yet it’s interesting to see how companies that focus on innovation to find new sales channels and on customer experience and satisfaction improvement have benefited from even higher revenue growth rates in the last three years (> 5%).

However, where innovation is concerned, the journey for companies is still a long one. There is a lack of well-structured innovation management processes to stimulate it and a lack of experience, as the battle to recruit talented innovators is growing.

The survey includes an in-depth analysis and insights from KPMG’s global experts and Exago’s CEO on subjects such as:

  • How is idea management structured?
  • Why is collaboration needed?
  • Where do companies focus their efforts, how do they finance innovation and what are the companies’ challenges?
  • How are corporates responding to the drivers of innovation and positioning their strategies?
  • What separates good from bad innovators?

You can check out Portugal’s results here. A short summary is also available below in English.

 


KPMG INNOVATION SURVEY 2016 – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

‘1. Collaboration is crucial to success
Companies that systemically search for collaboration opportunities secure a higher success rate for their products and almost double the increase in income.

2. The building of broader innovation skills demands a more complex transformation process
In spite of evidence that supports the focus on collaboration efforts, only a few companies enjoy effective collaboration, as it requires a complex transformation process at both a cultural and an operational level.

3. Business model innovation offers significant opportunities in a world dominated by innovative products
The main focus in all industries is product development and improved process development. However, the creation of new selling channels, alternative income models and the discovery of new or present needs might have the same level of impact as the innovation of the company’s main functions and the product itself.

4. The war for talented professionals is ongoing
Most of the time, the main challenge that companies face in terms of innovation is related to lack of people with the required competences and the necessary experience.

5. Fine innovators have an implemented innovation policy
Companies that have implemented process management and innovative governance models enjoy a high rate of success with their products and a significant share of their income comes from products launched in the past three years. However, only 16% of companies use this approach in the management of their innovation programmes.

6. In spite of the importance of commercial deadlines, the inability to meet deadlines is where most projects fail
Meeting deadlines in the project’s chronogram is the main challenge of ongoing projects, with about 30% of projects falling behind schedule. The speed of commercialisation is particularly important as it can generate a competitive advantage.

7. Collaboration is anchored to your comfort zone
Research and Development (R&D) collaborations are particularly important, even if companies often find themselves limited to only business partners. Collaboration with universities, start-ups and incubators is much less common. Different kinds of collaboration partners have different strong points and contribute with different skills and resources. For that reason, diversifying collaboration partners offers more opportunities than maintaining a single collaboration with only one type of partner’.