Are you tasked with Innovation in your company but don’t know where to begin? Do you find that you are battling to get support from senior management because their attention is absorbed in their day-to-day duties? Are the executives unwilling to invest in innovation because it has failed in the past or it is too intangible to measure?
If you are facing these challenges, you are not alone. In a recent survey we did on the state of innovation in South African companies, we found that these were some of the most common challenges. So how do you get something as fuzzy as innovation onto your EXCO’s agenda? We suggest that you look for some tangible opportunities which you can present to them and get their buy-in. You need a programme to kick start innovation.
The kick start programme for innovation identifies the opportunities for companies to innovate themselves into the future and takes a systemic approach to understanding the impact and investment required to make the innovation successful.
Most innovation programmes concentrate on one of two things:
- Equipping people to be more innovative by providing systems, designing innovation processes, creativity training, cultural interventions and defining measurement etc. or
- Driving specific innovation through campaigns designed to achieve general or specific objectives. Generally these campaigns are reward driven based on soliciting the greatest number of ideas. More sophisticated companies employ mechanisms to reward the quality of ideas.
The kick start programme is a hybrid of these two. We look for opportunities to realise value from innovation while providing insight into the innovation process which the participants can learn from and use in future planning.
Evidence suggests that companies which proactively and deliberately design their future are significantly superior performers in the long term. Superior performance is almost never about the amount of money spent. Booz Allen Hamilton found there is almost no relationship at all between spending on innovation and superior financial returns. What they did discover, was that those companies with a deliberate innovation process with links to corporate strategy and customer needs – achieved up to 40% higher growth in their operating income as a result. – James Gardner. Your kick start programme we will help you to identify deliberate innovation processes related to specific opportunities.
The approach is very practical aimed at realising early wins from innovation, whilst also raising the understanding the innovation landscape and identifying opportunities.
The main objective is to create strategic alignment, identify main points of impact and develop a portfolio for innovation that directs planning in the future.
In any innovation project, it is essential to create a shared mental model between all the stakeholders. This forms the background of any innovation strategy and unlocking opportunities. It consists of the rigorous examination of all parts of the company or division to see how they hang together.
Then we examine modern trends which are impacting on the organisation, the business’ objectives and opportunities arising from these trends, the stakeholders, skill sets, structures, markets, business structures, processes as well as the network of suppliers and partners and the customer environment. Then we examine at every point, what the opportunities are to innovate to:
- Increase productivity at lower costs;
- Increase competitiveness in a global market place; and
- Develop and improve on products and services
- Open up future markets.
The outcomes of a kick off programme should include:
- Defining the meaning of innovation for your company;
- Designing a basic innovation portfolio:
- Defining core innovation focus areas, incremental vs. radical innovation, risk management, innovation funding etc.
- Identify the key innovation objectives to be achieved;
- Developing basic next-steps plans to develop the ideas and take them to fruition;
- An indication of how innovation success will be measured; and
- Innovation recognition mechanisms and provide basic guidelines in this regard.
From this programme you should be in a position to present the business case for innovation including tangible outcomes of your innovation. This will help you to manage your executive’s expectation and get their commitment to innovation as a critical part of your company’s competitive advantage in the future.
About Digital Bridges
Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of innovation and technology. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.
Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the business environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like SharePoint 2010, social media and gamification and is focussed on this.
We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.
We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country. Spigit is an innovation platform built either in JAVA or native to SharePoint 2010. It uses social business and game mechanics to enable organisations to innovate at scale.
We offer Innovation services to grow organisations and equip them for change. This includes Innovation strategies, culture interventions, measurement tools and campaign development to release the power of Innovation.
Digital Bridges relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, innovation, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.
Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.