Decisions, decisions…

Be it through team idea contests or widespread programmes, we are enthusiasts of innovation’s number one rule: Give your teams a voice. Gather suggestions and insights and build on that knowledge together, as innovation becomes simply your way to do business.

One way or another, true employee engagement is more complicated than it seems, and it needs so much more than a carrot and stick philosophy. Millennial engagement? That raises the stakes even further. So, why not make participation more appealing, with fun challenges?

These days, we’re testing it for you!

TIP: The checklist for your innovation programme success

Photo: Will 66@Pixabay

Below is a checklist that, in our experience, will increase your odds of successfully implementing innovation initiatives. You will learn that there is never an ideal moment to get started and that you will never have all the necessary components aligned at the same time.

So, recapping the tips we’ve been sharing, make sure you have these in place before getting started:

What then?

(To be continued…)

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder / pcc@exago.com

FROM THE START: Innovation looks easy – it’s not

Back to basics: Define appropriate goals

Photo: by earl53

In previous posts, we’ve made the case for purpose-led innovation. However, it’s also true that, in some cases, the ‘job to be done’ can entail ‘softer’ ambitions, namely, creating an innovation culture and embedding an innovation capability.

These are ambitious goals and definitely deliver high returns to organisations when implemented successfully. The trick, in our experience, is to tie these objectives with more tangible, shorter-term business challenges. Call it an ‘insurance’ – it prevents your initiative from being shut down by results-starved executives looking for short-term, return-on-investment measures.

The opposite approach is also surprisingly common. When launching an innovation initiative with specific business aims, make sure you track some of the side benefits of your efforts. Many of them are difficult to measure but have to be accounted for, especially increased collaboration and organisational learning levels and a stronger two-way communication channel between top management and the rest of the organisation.

When kicking off any effort, at Exago, we advise our clients to track very simple metrics:

– Number of individuals that participated in the effort
– Number of individuals prepared by any sort of training event
– Number of ideas and insights generated
– Innovation and challenge perception (through a company questionnaire/survey)

As your initiatives move forward, track your progress: Communicate and claim the appetisers, while the main courses are still being prepared.

In the end, it’s about results
Today, innovation is under fire as a ‘fad’ to be replaced by pragmatism. Budgets are shrinking and ‘soft’ outcomes no longer claim the attention of the boardroom. In other words, innovation without results is useless.

This being said, always remember to align your innovation efforts with your company’s specific business functional or operational challenges, engaging your people in the process. Addressing leadership’s agenda through innovation – while reaping some side benefits – is more and more often the recipe for successul and sustained innovation initiatives.

FROM THE START:
1. Back to basics: Why are we doing this, really?

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder
pcc@exago.com

Going on an innovation journey? Pack your bags with the 7 must-haves

Every day, Earth´s rotation speed only changes slightly, by up to milliseconds. Yet the business world just keeps spinning faster and faster.

In this interconnected age, organisations have long realized that innovation is the way, the only way, to stay ahead in the race. It’s the ongoing attitude that makes it possible. A source of opportunities, to create differentiated business models, products and cost structure that can ensure resilience and growth, at a global scale.

But where to start? And how can I make sure my innovation management initiatives do thrive?

In our “Short Guide for a Successful Take-off”, we go straight to the point, to share with you the seven must-haves you’ll need to guarantee your innovation management quest succeeds.

Request download here.

The inevitability of incremental innovation

In the last post we focused on the difficulties of investing in innovation during crisis times and outlined why it is important to think about the long run.

Typically transformative results come from radical innovation which tends to take time to bring benefits due to its inherit complexity. Nevertheless there are many small innovations that can, when summed up, bring effective results for an organization.

According to Innovation Zen, “There are two dimensions we can use to separate an incremental from a radical innovation:

  • The first is an internal dimension, based on the knowledge and resources involved. An incremental innovation will build upon existing knowledge and resources within a certain company, meaning it will be competence-enhancing. A radical innovation, on the other hand, will require completely new knowledge and/or resources and will be, therefore, competence-destroying.
  • The second dimension, the external one, differentiates the innovation based on the technological changes and on the impact upon the market competitiveness. An incremental innovation will involve modest technological changes and the existing products on the market will remain competitive. A radical innovation will instead involve large technological advancements, rendering the existing products non-competitive and obsolete.”

Therefore, internal and external dimensions allow companies to quickly start cashing in on incremental innovation. Simple efficiency improvement ideas or slight product/service face-lifts or upgrades can help increase revenues and/or reduce costs.

By engaging a large community of people and harnessing the wisdom of the crowd incremental innovation results come quickly and people feel listened to. With a transparent, efficient and interactive process, leadership gets a bidirectional communication tool to improve management-employee relationships and bolster participation.

Our clients experience the approval and implementation of many ideas for a constant flow of improvements with results that make an impact on the bottom-line.