New Year’s euphoria is here. The end of the year is a busy time for a number of reasons, yet it is the time of the year when we have to look back, evaluate the goals from last year and plan ahead for the upcoming year.
When it comes to innovation within your organization, you should take advantage of New Year’s euphoria and check with your employees how involved were they in the innovation process. Gather your team and discuss how to formulate an executable innovation strategy for 2018 by answering these 8 questions:
1. INSPIRE CREATIVE THINKING
How good are your employees in identifying new opportunities for innovation?
Organizations today struggle to bring creativity in daily operation activities. For innovation to bloom, organizations must create an environment that foster creative thinking by encouraging each person to express their opinion and come up with great ideas for business improvement. Answer to this question will provide foundation for creating an innovation culture where all employees are actively encouraged and inspired to create new ideas that can help your organization innovate. On the other hand, your employees will be more motivated to express their ideas when they know that their ideas are welcomed and will be acknowledged.
2. SUPPORT COLLABORATION
How supportive is your workforce environment when it comes to collaboration and innovative activities?
When developing your innovation strategy, you need to think about how you can create conditions and environment that will allow innovation to become a part of your daily operations. Communication and cooperation networks in your organization will determinate your innovation effectiveness so you have to make sure that your employees are connected in order to support close collaboration. This way you will facilitate exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise that can help push good ideas forward. Since the collaboration means to work together towards a common goal, it is always positively associated with innovation strategy and promoting teamwork.
3. INCLUDE EXTERNAL EXPERTS
Do you include all relevant people in your innovation process?
Today, organizations are well aware that collaboration with external experts is an important factor for generating new knowledge and delivering better products and services to the market. External collaboration provides many advantages such as access to new knowledge, new approaches, decrease in costs of generating new ideas and creating innovations as well as reducing R&D and innovation costs. So, go beyond your organizational boundaries and include external experts as well as with your customers in your innovation efforts in order to discover new opportunities that can be the key for your future growth.
4. MANAGE INNOVATION ACTIVITIES
Do you have tools and processes in place to assist initiating, prioritizing and implementing key innovation activities?
We all know that innovation is a complex process. Modern technology solutions like innovation management platforms can help an organization to structure innovation process and its key activities and tasks, making it more efficient and streamlined. A well-architected innovation management platform supports both internal and external collaboration, integration with your existing business ecosystem and customization, making it able to match and support your innovation strategy. These technology solutions provide clear metrics of your innovation process enabling you to keep track of every important aspect of your complete innovation strategy.
5. MOTIVATE ONGOING IDEATION
Are your employees motivated, rewarded and organized to innovate repeatedly?
Motivating your employees to take part in innovation can be challenging. With each passing year organizations are trying to create a positive environment and atmosphere that will result in happier, productive and more efficient employees. Employees whose opinions and ideas matter to their employers have higher level of engagement and satisfaction at work. There are different ways to motivate your employees. You can use innovation challenges and reward the best ideas, acknowledge the best contributors and organize crowdsourcing campaigns. Motivation definitely sparks innovation, so it is a very important element of your innovation strategy.
6. ACCELERATE YOUR INNOVATIONS
Do you beat the competition by developing and launching innovations quickly and effectively?
Today it’s not unusual for several organizations to work on the same innovation at the same time. To beat competition in this race, organizations must have a structured and efficient innovation process in place. Innovation must be treated like every other business discipline – as a combination of tools and tasks that are designed with the purpose to accomplish specific objective in a fast and effective manner. When creating your innovation strategy, rethink your current innovation processes and activities and delegate strong management team that will guide the initiatives and keep track of the key performance indicators.
7. CLEAR AND TRANSPARENT VISION
Are your employees familiar and on board with all of your innovation activities and planning?
Organizations always innovate with a purpose. Innovation vision is a starting point in defining your innovation strategy and goals. Your vision answers the question: what innovation will do and mean to your organization? But, if your vision is not transparent and clear to all your employees you cannot expect that they will participate and come up with valuable ideas. Your vision is the part of your innovation strategy that identifies your most critical challenges and empowers people to be more creative and contribute with more ideas as they all share a common goal.
8. IF I AM THE BOSS...
If you are in charge of innovation process within your company, how would you do it? Would you change something?
This question will help your employees understand the complexity of innovation process and what needs to be done in order to implement one idea. It will help them think differently about their role, responsibilities and tasks within innovation process and what they can change and how. With a question like this one, you will challenge their creative thinking and spontaneously challenge their ideas, making this one of the most important questions to start your innovation strategy with.
The year ahead holds many exciting challenges and opportunities. Once you are finished with your fiscal year, you will have a clear understanding of the current state of your business, and at that point you will be ready to start defining your innovation strategy. According to PwC, almost 80% of the world’s most innovative companies have a well-defined and thought-through innovation strategy.” Start taking actions right now and develop your innovation strategy that will produce a constant stream of new ideas both internally and externally, launch new and competitive products quickly and position your company as the market leader.
Wishing you an innovative 2018!
Your friends at Innovation Cloud