In the 1-3 year time-frame, senior managers pay close attention to the tactical side of growth. Innovation management in this context involves steady state maintenance of a fairly stable position. However, to succeed in the long-term, a business needs to be able to renew itself by innovating in response to changes in market drivers, customer needs and technological developments i.e. it needs a Plan B and maybe even a Plan C!
Large established organisations often deal with this by undertaking a strategic program to identify new growth directions - the “wheres” and “whens” of future growth, followed by an exercise to translate the strategy into reality - the “whats” and “hows” e.g. the business propositions. The challenge here is that translating future growth directions into tangible business propositions requires specialist innovation skills. Without them, mistakes can be made.
This blog examines four common pitfalls when undertaking an innovation programme.
- Unclear objectives and plan: It is surprising how many innovation programmes kick-off without a clear definition of the scope, objectives, deliverable and plan of action. For example, it’s not uncommon for the scope to be so broad that the team struggles to conduct an appropriate depth of investigation within the given time frame. For more information on how to scope an innovation-growth project, click here to see our blog. Remember: "Good order is the foundation of all things" - Edmund Burke
- Applying a one-size-fits-all approach to innovation: Some organisations apply the same process they use for managing short-term product roadmaps, to their longer term business growth challenges. The wrong innovation process will deliver the wrong results.
- Spending too much time looking inside instead of outside: There’s no doubt about it, engaging directly with people in the markets of interest is essential for getting under the skin of the customer and understanding their situation and needs. However, companies can get the balance wrong and spend too much time looking internally towards R&D to solve their growth challenge. They also underestimate the time it takes to properly engage with the market and make sense of the findings, especially for growth initiatives in new product-market areas. This can cause delays and deliver unusable insight.
- Using the wrong innovation tools: Many organisations have a strong bias towards convergent problem-solving which is essential for managing their business in current markets. However, finding new growth requires us to look beyond core products and markets, and involves different skills and innovation tools. A skills gap leads to difficulties in executing some tasks efficiently and effectively.
Avoid these four pitfalls as they will cause major problems for you.
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