Tag Archives: Business case

Kick start innovation in your company

Next trends in Innovation

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.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit http://www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

 

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Gaining executive commitment to interactive intranets

Are you finding it difficult to get the executives in your organisation to buy into the need to use social media tools in your Intranet? We find that the business case is a good way to achieve this.

In many of our clients’ organisations, the Intranet is little more than the place I go to, to see the lunch menu or get my leave forms.

It’s no wonder then that executives don’t realise how powerful it could be. The advent of social media is all too often seen to be time wasting and a waste of bandwidth.

Microsoft has just released SharePoint 2010 which contains the latest collaborative tools embedded into its content management and sharing tools. Social media is going to become the norm in large corporates. Companies are migrating to this platform or looking at other collaboration tools to enhance performance in the organisation. The challenge now is to get the full potential of social media on the executive agenda.

We have found the business case an effective way to get executive attention.

A business case clarifies the value of any opportunity. It is the single-most important document in gaining commitment to the strategic interactive intranet or any other opportunity.

A business case is part sales and part marketing. It represents the opportunity to present a compelling justification for funding an investment to achieve the organisations mission, goals and objectives. An effective business case generates the support, participation and leadership commitment required to transform an idea into reality. A business case identifies an opportunity. It provides context and content and describes the desired objectives and outcomes in terms of the business. It describes how and who will be affected. The how and who typically evolve around individual or organisation behavioural changes.

The business case will breakout specific alternatives and their associated impacts. A strong business case for an intranet investment puts that investment decision into the strategic context and provides the executives with the necessary information to make an educated decision.

Putting a business case together for the interactive intranet

Interaction between employees is not new, but for the first time, the ability to interact online through the Intranet is becoming a reality. This is going to have a significant effect on the way we do business. In the same way as eMail changed the speed at which business is conducted the Intranet is going to become he strategic backbone of the organisation and is going to significantly impact on our effectiveness efficiency and the way we do business. But we have very little historical evidence and case studies which have quantified the improvement brought about by this interactivity.

Traditionally, innovation occurs in products, processes or business models. The latest thinking has been well researched by Gary Hamel in his work The Future of Management. The modern Intranet is not only a new tool, but it also enables new ways to manage people. For this reason, we cannot use the past to forecast the future. Our best attempts to make a case for an interactive Intranet are going to have to be around describing the intangible business “steroids” on the Balanced Scorecard as defined by Kaplan and Norton , which lead to business improvements.

You need to put a business case together in order to justify the resources and capital investment necessary to create an Interactive Intranet.

The Business Case is usually primarily a financial document, however in the case of using SharePoint 2010 (or any other web 2.0 enabled CMS software) in order to create a robust Interactive Intranet, the software and concept is so new that there is very little evidence of what differences these new tools can make and there are so many hard and soft permutations that it is difficult to quantify the financial implications. We therefore have to modify our approach to developing the business case to looking at those variables which, if enhanced using SharePoint 2010’s capabilities, will deliver on the organisation’s business objectives.

We find that the best approach is to:

  • Understand the organisational objectives and identify where the interactive Intranet could support delivery;
  • Analyse the internal variables (culture, competence and processes) at a high level, which could influence the successful attainment for the business objectives;
  • Look at what is happening in the competitive landscape;
  • Identify relevant best practise which is enhanced by SharePoint 2010 and can significantly enhance competitive advantage, such as Collaboration , Crowdsourcing and Innovation etc;
  • See where else SharePoint 2010 has made a difference for other Microsoft clients (if our client is migrating to SharePoint 2010), alternatively look for case studies on interactive intranets; and
  • Make recommendations for the prioritisation and roll out of the Intranet optimisation strategy.

We document all the relevant facts and link them together into a cohesive story. This story tells the executives about the what, when, where, how and why.

  • Why is the project needed?
  • How it will solve the issues or opportunities facing the organisation;
  • How the solution addresses the issues or opportunities (benefits);
  • What will happen to the business if the project is not undertaken (the do nothing scenario)?
  • Priorities and timing;
  • An indication of how much money, people and time will be needed to deliver the solution and realise the benefits: and Suggested Metrics for quantifying success.

By documenting everything together in one story, it is easy to link the issues to the solution and the benefits and identify where the organisation would be without the project.

The development of the overall business case also identifies holes or problems with the solution. Moreover, the organisation will have a way to measure its success. This analysis is also be useful for the leadership team to prioritise this project against the many other initiatives that require capital investment.

The business case provides a consistent message to many different audiences. As a high level view of the entire project the business case manages the expectations of all the stakeholder divisions affected by the project (customers, management, operations, research & development, service, sales, accounting, finance, etc.).

The length of the business case should be kept to a minimum, ensuring it stays on topic, presents relevant information in a clear and concise manner and it be focused on supporting management in making decisions.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We write business cases, 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 and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and 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.

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.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Interactive Intranets, Web 2.0