The 8 Pillars of a Successful Innovation Strategy

Developing and implementing a successful innovation strategy is a challenging process. There are various factors to consider including the need to onboard peers from across your organization. So it’s important to establish a structure that makes the innovation process as straightforward and rewarding as possible.

In this Whitepaper, we outline what we consider to be the 8 Key Pillars of a Successful Innovation Strategy. Using these pillars as the foundation for your own innovation strategy can propel your organization’s continued growth and excellence.

Click to read The 8 Pillars of Innovation

Missions, Visions, and Goals

The first of the Pillars of a Successful Innovation Strategy, you should never underestimate the importance of a mission statement and clear values. Often overlooked or brushed aside, they’re essential for supporting the overall culture and identity of a business. Providing clarity of objectives across an organization ensures that all employees are aligned to the same goals, and are therefore establishing a clear vision for the future. If everyone is working towards the same end goal then staff can work together more effectively and efficiently to reach it.

In addition, having clearly defined values can aid the decision-making process, helping managers and directors to prioritize and move forward. A mission statement provides the framework for developing an organization. It provides the necessary direction to help guide the decision-making process, keeping organizations on track and rocketing towards their primary business objectives. 

Your company values can also be used to educate clients and prospects about your organization and its culture. Accordingly, these values can be key to employee retention, as younger employees tend to pay more attention to the values at the heart of a company. With structured goals in place, a company is in a far better position to innovate. Knowing these values can help to shape the innovation process and make sure that it complements your key business objectives. Using innovation management software can significantly simplify this process of aligning ideas and challenges with your company values or mission statement.

How Idea Management software can help

Our software can ensure that your business goals are transparent throughout your organization and are properly integrated into the idea generation process. It’s all very well for the senior management team to know these values, but how much do your employees know? Ensure transparency to keep all stakeholders aware of your core values and involve employees in mid-to-long-term business objectives. Knowing who and what you’re innovating for is vital in establishing a successful innovation strategy.

Aligning ideas and Challenges with company values or a mission statement is easy when using idea management software. Wazoku allows transparency of goals across the organization where appropriate and facilitates integration of these goals into posted ideas and opportunity briefs.

Challenges and Opportunity Briefs

Crowdsourcing from within your organization is a cost-effective method of capturing new ideas and boosting business innovation internally. This bottom-up approach will empower employees as they see their ideas taken onboard and executed. Seeing their own idea come to fruition and the positive impact it has on the business will inspire confidence and further innovation.

A fantastic way of generating valuable ideas is by publishing a Challenge, encouraging employees to generate solutions to a specific need or problem. This approach makes idea generation more targeted and has the advantage of directly addressing a problem. Whichever way your innovation strategy works, posting Challenges should be made as easy and accessible as possible. It’s important to ensure that you’re able to reach a specific group of people, track responses, and measure successful inputs.

Publishing a Challenge in this way is about pushing boundaries. Consider sharing a Challenge with a group of people you may not usually approach, as this will generate varying perspectives, opening up the field for original ideas. Posting an innovation Challenge is an effective way of encouraging employees to get their creative juices flowing. Sometimes they just need a nudge in the right direction and Challenges can get people thinking, collaborating and, ultimately, solving problems for the business.

Open Innovation

Crowdsourcing from within is fantastic, but talented thinkers and ground-breaking ideas can be found both inside and outside your organization. In an increasingly digital world, it’s easier than ever to connect with these people, making Open Innovation a smart approach for a networked world. If your business needs a brilliant new product, service or technology, or requires a solution to a particularly challenging business issue, Open Innovation can really help by connecting you to the smartest innovators on the planet.

Open Innovation usually begins with a problem statement, with an organization publishing it as a Challenge or brief, and broadcasting it to their clients, suppliers, or other stakeholders.

The process involves posting an idea, aligning it to a Challenge or goal, and deciding where to source the best contributions. Once you have established partnerships, they can co-develop new ideas and innovations. Bring the most promising to market through collaborative business models like license deals, joint ventures, or acquisitions.

Capturing Ideas

The average employee contributes around six new ideas to their company over the year. However, according to 57% of workers, these aren’t being recorded (PwC, ‘Unleashing the power of innovation’). You’ll find that ideas are everywhere in your organization – that’s not the difficult bit. The challenge is finding these ideas, gathering them and, more importantly, implementing the best ones.

Many companies fail at innovation because they don’t have an effective system in place for turning these ideas into practical processes that generate real results. Innovation isn’t something that should be dipped in and out of when it suits you. To be really successful, it needs to be integrated into the very core of your organization, and communication is central to this. Make sure all employees know the internal processes for capturing ideas and incentivize their contributions.

Establishing a system for capturing ideas can be frustrating and time consuming. Idea management software can remove these barriers and provide a seamless method of curating creative input from your teams. An effective tool incorporates collaboration and social software, while enabling you to integrate your innovation process with other information systems to ensure that people can innovate wherever they are, whatever they’re doing.

When posting or sharing an idea, team members should frame it to align with overarching business goals, demonstrating its impact on the organization. Ideas should convey the essential information while remaining short and snappy.

Collaboration and Interaction

Once the ideas start rolling in, the next stage is for employees to ‘interact’ with the suggestions. Challenging ideas is one of the pillars of a successful innovation strategy. This ensures only the best ones are implemented. Sparking conversations around an idea is an effective way to reveal any potential pitfalls or problems, creating space for the renegotiation of goals. Sometimes an idea is nearly there, it just needs a little readjustment and a push in the right direction. Following this adjustment and renegotiation, you’re in a position to reassess the idea and make a decision on whether to pursue it.

Idea evaluation

Naturally, some ideas will get more engagement than others. Monitor the responses to assess their popularity. Gather both praise and criticism at this stage in order to establish the factors that will impact the idea. For example, how realistic is it? What is the likely speed of implementation? How will it benefit the stakeholders?

The Challenge process should be all-inclusive, with the option for all team members to get involved. It’s important that all employees are aware of how to frame any criticism. Welcome constructive criticism, however, condemnation is a dangerous approach as it can put people off contributing again.

Don’t be afraid to raise issues or bring a different perspective – some light conflict forces the team to seek and exchange more information around an idea. In turn, this encourages team members to explain their different perspectives, opening up new ways of seeing things. As a result, the team can effectively renegotiate goals and make better sense of any problems.

To learn more about all 8 Pillars of a Successful Innovation Strategy, including 4 that we haven’t discussed above, please download the whitepaper below:

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