- Flattening growth in core markets
- Most revenue from one customer group
- No one in your organisation responsible for growth beyond the next three years
- Too much emphasis on product innovation
- Sub-critical investment in R&D.
Businesses, therefore, need an inspiring plan B with new options for the future.
The difficulty in identifying (and managing) a portfolio of long-term opportunities is the sheer complexity of the task. Imagine how complicated it is to carve out new pathways for the future of a large business.
It takes time and specific skills to identify opportunities for the future of your business. These could be in markets that are new to your company, for example, or that fall outside of today’s core business. Companies aren’t used to the multiple dimensions of newness that come with exploring future terrain, coupled to a world of accelerating change.
Don’t wait for a crisis to occur.
The following eight questions are a useful checklist that can help managers figure out if they are investing enough to support innovation programmes that shape their future:
- What is your vision for markets where you are not majorly active, but where you hope to have a leadership position in 5–8 years?
- Why are these markets attractive to your business?
- What value chain role(s) will you occupy, and why?
- Can you articulate your future value propositions (at a high level) and the potential benefit for your business? Are there lead customers and suppliers you can start to work with?
- From a capability standpoint, what routes do you have into the market? Can current capabilities be redeployed? What new capabilities are required? What technology platforms will be necessary? Are acquisitions needed?
- What new considerations do you need to take into account? For example, how much R&D investment is needed to be competitive? How does it compare with your current levels? Is there a need for application knowledge? Are there regulatory costs? And so on.
- What potential risks (e.g., market, technical, legal, IP, regulatory) are associated with establishing the position?
- Have you set aside appropriate budgets and resources to support long-term targets?
I recommend setting aside time in your management meetings to discuss these eight questions. Treat them seriously, as though your life depended on it – the life of your business might.
A word of advice, though: Not all senior management meetings support the right atmosphere for discussing future growth opportunities, so try to involve someone from outside the management team to facilitate the discussion. Get in contact if you need help.
- What is the shape of your near and medium-term innovation portfolio?
- Does your innovation portfolio support the growth of your business in 8–10 years? Does it show the right level of ambition? Is it zestful?
- When are you next going to discuss strategic challenges beyond the three-year time frame?
For more innovation tips, please visit: http://www.3inno.com/our-articles
Do you want to be more successful at innovation? I recommend the book Innovation Unplugged – helping managers prepare today’s business for future growth.
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