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Innovate! - How?

Many corporate marketing messages depict their company as 'Innovative'. Most don't live up to this marketing hype! Innovation for most companies is the key ingredient required to survive and grow and deliver more value to stakeholders.   And yet most enterprises are less innovative than they need to be.  Why? It is not easy to create and maintain a culture of innovation in large organisation.  This short article provides suggestions on how your organisation could become more innovative.  Innovation = Profitability & Growth Not surprisingly studies show a direct relationship between innovation, as measured by the introduction of new products and processes, and healthy financial performance. Innovation, when compared to invention, is a low risk way to achieve increased profitability and company growth. The challenge many companies face is that of finding an effective process that acts as an enabler and stimulates innovation throughout their organisation.

How can your organisation become more innovative?

Some say it's leadership, some say it's training, some say you need to deploy a process for innovation, or conduct a cultural change program.  In fact it takes some of each of these. 
This diagram  depicts a change model that has worked for some enterprises - it might for you.
Innovate Change Model


Firstly we suggest that you formally assess and benchmark your organisation for innovativeness. Part of the assessment should be to identify the current barriers to successful innovation that are unique to your organisation.  There are a number of tools and services available that you could use to assist you to complete your assessment.


Once you have assessed your 'Innovativeness' then design and implement a change plan in response to what you have learnt.  This plan should state your innovation vision or goal with simple clarity. It will then explain your strategy to break down the 'barriers to innovation'. Part of this strategy will explain how you plan to encourage a culture of innovation that is uniquely yours. Finally set some measurable (SMART) innovation objectives that you can use to measure your progress. A key part of your change plan should include an Innovation Journey Map (see step 3) plus training for your executives and the staff on topics like 'Leading for Innovation' and 'Managing Innovation'. A number of Custell partners can assist you to assess your innovativeness, help you develop and implement your plan and conduct innovation training. Contact Custell for recommendations.


We suggest you design or adopt an 'Innovation Journey Plan' (or process) that will provide a common map for your people to follow. Then support it with tools,  training and an executive review process. A consistently applied Innovation Journey Plan is essential to ensure that it is easy for your staff to facilitate and manage innovation and to collaborate effectively on each innovative idea. There are a number of tried and proven Innovation Processes that you could select from. The important thing is good structure that is flexible, supportive and collaborative. A good example is the Barnes and Conti Innovation Journey Map. Their training program titled 'Managing Innovation' will help you to adopt a powerful and consistent model. Contact Custell for details.


Implement a system to manage innovation through your 'Journey Plan'. Innovation should be systemised to support your people on their journey and to enable you to measure and managed all innovation activity. This ensures your innovation program is focussed and the desired outcomes are achieved.  It is important to monitor the progress of each innovation as it travels through your Journey Plan (innovation pipeline) and to prioritise those innovations that will deliver the greatest return to the enterprise. To ensure that high return innovations progress through the pipeline and get appropriate commitment and resources, we need to have clearly defined criteria in place for key stages of the journey. These criteria must be met by each innovation before it can progress through of the pipeline. An innovation system such as Custell 'Innovate' enables effective innovation management with measurable outcomes.


In line with the SMART objectives we discussed earlier establish KPI's for innovation and measure and review them regularly. By setting KPI's for innovation for each business unit, group and team and in some cases individuals - and then measuring and reviewing progress - you will help change behaviour of the organisation to be more innovative. Custell 'Innovate' will provide you the means to measure and review your progress. Each year or two we suggest you reassess your innovativeness and adjust your plan according to the outcome. This ensures that you are always striving for the ultimate culture of innovation that will ensure your competitiveness and the survival and growth of your enterprise. Why is it important? Innovation is the lifeblood for sustaining both the enterprise and its key relationships.                                                               ****** Custell (and partners) provide software and services that can assist enterprises to facilitate, manage and measure innovation.  These programs can be applied both within the enterprise or to assist two partnering enterprises to work effectively together to generate more value through their relationship.  Please Contact Custell

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