Strategy is a difficult to define concept and innovation even more so. We have been talking a lot about how difficult it can be for team members to know where innovation is supposed to fit into their workday:
Our research revealed that more than half (53%) of British business managers believe innovation to be a buzzword which holds little meaning to their day-to-day job. And only 51% completely understand their organisation’s definition of innovation and innovation strategy and how it fits into wider corporate goals. Among non-managers this number fell to just 30%.
(Data from our Everyday Innovation report)
We’ve also been talking about how to make innovation part of your winning strategy, but in the end, what is the importance of aligning both strategy and innovation? The focus of strategy is mostly on creating value, by satisfying client’s needs and wants. If you include innovation into the mix, you will then have to focus on innovations that will improve that value and ultimately, generate more client satisfaction. This means that innovation and strategy will have to be closely tied together: every organisation should create an innovation strategy with the same attention and rigour that they attempt to create their organisational strategy with. The reason is very simple, organisations that don’t innovate will have a hard time surviving in the current economic climate.
It is hard to know when one ends and the other one starts, so what really matters here is that the strategy development and the processes for uncovering opportunities are combined systematically. This will necessarily mean that opportunities for those who deal with clients on a daily basis to be heard in an organisation and this feedback taken into consideration by those at the top who will ultimately be making the big decisions on organisational strategy.
Innovation isn’t just about creating new products or coming up with new ideas for the sake of doing it, it needs to have purpose. Idea management is a process that can help narrow the distance between these two aspects and reinforce the link between all members of an organisation, helping everyone understand the ultimate organisational goals and effectively listen to feedback from everyone. Only when strategy and innovation are married, will organisations be able to innovate effectively and with true intent.