Continuous success rests largely on your ability to innovate: to continuously bring inventive, value-added new products and services to market. A small group of rapidly growing firms are doing what most others haven’t – they’ve moved beyond “seat-of-the-pants” innovation and are creating processes for driving innovation achievement.
Robert Tucker, president of The Innovation Resource in California, says these “vanguard” firms are successfully moving innovation forward by
Robert Tucker, president of The Innovation Resource, is an author, consultant, speaker, and internationally recognized leader in the field of innovation. Formerly an adjunct professor at the UCLA, Robert has studied innovators and innovative companies since l981. He has continued to publish widely on the subject and has recently published Driving Growth Through Innovation. Robert is a frequent contributor to publications such as the Journal of Business Strategy, Strategy & Leadership, and Harvard Management Update. He has appeared on CNBC, CBS News, and was a featured guest on the PBS series, Taking the Lead.
Driving Growth Through Innovation
As a leader, you’re either inventing the future or managing the past. Innovation-adept companies are constantly looking for product, process, and strategy innovations that will grow revenues, enhance profitability, and create competitive advantage.
Through my research, I’ve identified 23 vanguard companies that are doing something most other companies aren’t: they’re creating a systematic process (a lá TQM) and literally innovating the thinking behind innovation. As a result, their organizations are pacesetters, bringing smart new products and services to market and generating impressive success for customers and shareholders alike.
It’s helpful to know how innovation-adept companies are driving their futures and what you can do to drive innovation through your own:
1. Be Open to Opportunity: Innovation-adept firms continuously think opportunity. Think about where your new ideas will come from to grow your business in the future. What opportunities exist to innovate products, processes or strategies in your company?
2. Assault Your Assumptions: Too often, firms are stymied by rigid assumptions about how fast they can grow, what markets they might serve, and what existing customers will expect tomorrow. Innovation-adept companies have assumption-assaulting cultures and leadership.
3. Mine the Future: Mining the future is an organized, systematic, and continual process to spot opportunities in change.
4. Fortify Your Idea Factory: Innovation vanguard firms make a concerted effort to “ideate” – that is, to follow a systematic process for generating, harvesting, culling through, and implementing the best ideas. Most important, they’re involving everyone from employees to customers to suppliers in the ideation process.
5. Cultivate the Culture Culture encompasses the values, beliefs, and behaviors of your organization. To cultivate a culture of innovation, I have six suggestions:
6. Build the Buy-in: Behind every innovation lies a person and a team with the passion to persuade others that it will work. Successful innovators learn what it’ll take to gain trust and persuade others, from the boss to the board to colleagues, customers, and other stakeholders or key players. Buy-in is what moves the innovation process forward and leads to market success and profit.
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne (ISBN: 1591396190)
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant contends that future leading companies will succeed with “value innovation” strategic moves that will propel them to “blue oceans” of market space where competition is rendered obsolete and new market demands are created.
Innovation Success Factors
Rob Weber, Antiphony email@example.com
You can think of innovation (and the subsequent success or failure of your innovation efforts) as a three-legged stool. The “legs” of your innovation efforts are ideation, strategy, and organization. Without all three, the initiative will fall flat.
The organization must move beyond simple idea generation to “ideation,” a systematic, disciplined approach to innovation that is purposeful and organized and includes tools and processes.
It’s essential to have a strategy for innovation that includes clear goals, objectives, and metrics for success that go beyond just volume of new ideas.
It's the organization that provides the underpinnings of success for innovation. Key to this is developing a culture that embraces and celebrates innovation, and embraces effective processes and structures designed to move ideas through to successful implementation.
To learn more about bringing ideation to your organization, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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