First, ask what your innovation purpose is

Nike’s goal is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world’. Starbuck’s motto is ‘to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time’. What is your company’s mission? And how does your initiative take part in carrying it out?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to purpose. When launching your innovation initiative, you must first clearly identify what is your higher strategic purpose – the one that will bind together your leadership, management and employees.

From our experience, getting key players inside your organisation aligned is hard, requiring diplomatic and pragmatic skills. When launching your innovation effort, you must also find a way to communicate that the initiative is bigger than just a simple project with a set of processes and tools. Individual employees need a meaningful purpose to motivate them to dedicate their free time to activities that are not part of their official job description.

You thus need to follow up on, and build on, your organisation’s mission. Define a purpose for your innovation effort and identify ‘the jobs-to-be-done’ through innovation. Show your team that this is an opportunity to shape the company’s future, to out-differentiate the competition.

Whether you seek to apply innovation management to meeting very explicit business challenges or to creating a company-wide culture and capabilities, ask yourself, ‘What do we want to change?’ Understanding your ambitions helps you define a migration path, set your expectations, get the challenges right and allocate resources more rationally.

Your challenges thus have to be aligned with your company’s higher purpose and the strategic objectives you set. You should also define clearly what you want to accomplish and why, as well as the specific needs your chosen challenges address.

Try these ativation questions:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What do we want to change in our organisation?
  • What are our organisation’s specific needs that are addressed by this challenge, and how can people relate to them? (Focus on the problem, on defining its scope instead of jumping to a solution.)
  • What is the desired outcome? (Understand the perspectives of customers, stakeholders and other beneficiaries. This should be addressed qualitatively and quantitatively whenever possible.)
  • How does this connect with our company’s mission? And with more strategic goals?

We will next see the importance of picking useful and feasible fights, when launching your innovation challenges.

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

READ MORE:
How to pick useful and feasible ‘fights’ for innovation challenges

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

A step-by-step guide to defining your innovation challenges

Based on our experience with clients and an analysis of 164 challenges they implemented over the past years, we have identified some trends on how to pick a successful set of challenges. But how exactly can you establish and structure them? We give you a hand.

Having signaled some best practices and understanding what works and what doesnt’, we now share samples of our Idea System Launch – a step-by-step procedure to help you set up your own challenges and enhance overall initiative effectiveness.

At a strategic level, this system supports you in aligning initiative and company goals, an overall purpose that needs to be considered and clearly stated. At a more operational level, it helps you ensure usefulness and attainability, learn how to target the right audiences and then focus needs and determine specific challenges, within a time period.

This is its mainframe:

ultimate innovation challenge

We will next see it in more detail.

 

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

READ MORE:
First, ask what your innovation purpose is

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

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’.

Six common mistakes and one advice for innovation challenges

Operational efficiency is clearly ahead in idea implementation, while sales and marketing, sustainability and better customer experience count for more than half of all the ideas implemented. By dissecting the innovation challenges that performed the worst – and excluding extrinsic factors such as a weak system of incentives and feeble, meagre or uninteresting communication – we note that these challenges tend to be:

a. Unfamiliar or distant from people’s everyday work and needs;
b. Detached from current business strategic alignment: This may happen, for instance, if you launch a challenge focused on anticorruption, social inclusion or ecosystem protection, but your company has never, in your daily practices and initiatives, really shown interest in such themes;
c. Too technical for the target audience: Both technical and business jargon has the power to dismiss and demobilise larger parts of your audience;
d. Too abstract: Remember that, the wider the scope, the more people tend to submit ideas that are irrelevant for your business;
e. Too narrow: Yet, if you completely limit the scope, you may miss some relevant insights;
f. Ambiguous or difficult to understand: Linguistic complexity, such as unclear or complex sentences, may make you lose your audience’s focus and attention.

One of our clients suggests as well that “communication is important, but, if you find it is too important, then all the rest is poorly structured. You cannot feed a fire just with straw. . . Guidance on how to write a good idea must go well beyond mouseover suggestions.”

Also, remember that, even if you map the right tools and needs, other factors can still undermine the success and participation in your innovation programme. For instance, you should not expect highly engaging initiatives without first planning and rolling out an appropriate communication plan, as well as adequate awards, recognition and implementation mechanisms. In the next posts, we seek to give you a hand in establishing and structuring your innovation challenges.

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

READ MORE:
A step-by-step guide to defining your innovation challenges

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

What’s your ultimate innovation challenge?

How much time do you spend thinking about your company’s problems? Probably too much, you would say. Yet, when planning and developing your collaborative innovation initiatives, the way you identify, frame and share your organisation’s challenges with your targeted community is key to your initiatives’ success.

But what are your most relevant challenges? Which topics are more common or easily embraced by your employees? And what techniques can help you both choose and define your challenges?

At Exago, we’ve decided to revisit our clients’ challenges over past years, to understand what has and hasn’t worked in the field in different realities, as well as collecting wisdom from this experience. In our most recent videocast, Exago’s senior consultant Vânia Vargues, and Francisco Bernardes, our head of Innovation Services, tell you more on what we’ve learned. Check it out!

Are you also interested in?
– Main trends and industry best practices
– Real clients’ challenges data analysis
– Lessons learnt: What works best and what doesn’t work – six common mistakes
– A step-by-step guide to defining your challenges

We can share the related in-depth paper. Just reach us at enquiries@exago.com