Innovation is the lifeblood of a company – it drives business growth, can increase market share, and also drive your company to find new fields of expertise. But to enter new markets and continuously grow with new and competitively differentiated products, companies can no longer rely on ad hoc innovation processes and accidental innovation. To fuel the kind of innovation that will bolster the business over a time scale, organizations must encourage sustainable innovation.
Sustainable innovation can be defined as generating and validating ideas in a repeatable and more predictable way. As a process, innovation can be systematized to bring unprecedented efficiencies and return on investment to idea generation, research, specific problem solving, market and technology landscaping and more.
To drive sustainable innovation, organizations need to:
- Empower innovation workers with knowledge.
On a daily basis, your innovation workers must tackle complex development challenges and barriers. With access to internal knowledge like lessons learned, best practices or guides, innovators can avoid reinventing the wheel or repeating costly mistakes. Access to external knowledge such as online publications or third-party thought leadership material provides fresh perspectives, spurs creative thinking and provides insights outside of your domain or industry. Decreasing barriers of knowledge, engagement and creative freedom can go a long way towards realising the potential of a workforce.
- Provide a framework for collaboration.
Much of critical institutional knowledge is not well documented, but instead resides in the minds of individual employees, reducing the potential spread of valuable knowledge to your workforce. As innovators tackle new innovation challenges, they struggle with identifying and leveraging the right subject matter experts, and the right people to allow the idea to press forward. With a dedicated collaboration framework, innovators can connect – actively and passively – with subject matter experts based on what they know and in the context of the innovation challenges at hand, allowing the creation of a shared community space, where idea creators can mix with project initiators, and project initiators can mix with decision-makers to really set in motion powerful ideas. In keeping with this, Idea Spotlight, our flagship product, provides the structural framework for long-term innovation. The open platform is ideal for sharing and collaborating, introducing social elements to let communities decide on popular ideas, in order to bring the best ideas straight to the decision makers. It also supports innovation over a timescale you see fit, with fully-customisable challenges to create any business solution.
- Give innovation workers the tools they need to perform innovation activities.
Companies need to invest in providing their workers with the right innovation software, tools and skills for innovation success. By arming your innovators with tools to help them focus their problem solving skills– all the while leveraging internal and external knowledge and sharing and exchanging this knowledge with their peers – innovation and product delivery are accelerated and worker productivity is enhanced.