Innovation Programs – Victims Of Their Own Success?


Innovation Programs – Victims Of Their Own Success?



If your organisation has embraced the need to become more innovative and has committed resources (like budget!), along with leadership attention to making this happen, then consider yourself fortunate. Getting to this point is a major achievement on the road to driving growth through innovation. But just because the commitment is there and resources are available, there are absolutely no guarantees that the innovation program will bear fruit.

One of the major pitfalls to be on the lookout for, as your innovation effort builds momentum, is that instead of innovation being a means to an end, it starts to become an end in itself. The way to identify whether your innovation program is beginning to suffer from this common ailment is to consider whether some of the associated symptoms are starting to emerge:

  • The commitment to innovation is so widespread that every initiative within the organisation is being labelled as an “innovation” as a means of garnering leadership support and resource allocation
  • There are no clear innovation goals that are explicitly linked to the strategic growth goals of the business – innovation seems to exist as a goal in and of itself
  • There is no strategy for how innovation should be managed and consequently, there are different (sometimes incompatible) approaches being adopted across the organisation
  • There are no clear success measures for the various innovation initiatives and hence, there is minimal clarity on whether the innovation budget is actually helping the organisation achieve its growth goals

If any of this sounds familiar, then it may be time to take a time out and carry out a quick health check on the status of your innovation program. The remedy involves the following:

  1. Identify the key growth goals of your organisation. These can be anything from increasing revenue to reducing costs in specific areas or something more specific or obscure – remember, the goals do not need to be financial in nature.
  2. Define the role of innovation in achieving these goals and set specific innovation goals that can be managed and measured – we call these BHAIGs (Big Hairy Audacious Innovation Goals).
  3. Define the scope of each BHAIG (deal with questions like, how radical are you prepared to be?) and develop the leadership approach to managing each BHAIG.
  4. Ensure that budget, resources and leadership attention are only committed to initiatives that are clearly aligned to a BHAIG.

Most importantly, don’t lose heart. If your organisation has picked up the innovation baton, then you’re in a good place. The symptoms we’ve described above are very typical of emerging innovation programs and they’re very solvable.

So if you’re keen to conduct an innovation health check on your organisation and you’d like to consult with an ‘innovation GP’, then feel free to contact either myself or Mark  – we love this stuff and we are passionate about ensuring that innovation programs are set up for success!

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