As with any strategy, innovation strategy must start with a fundamental analysis of what it will take to win in the market – what will create customer value, is the proposed innovation cost effective, and will the innovation help maximizeize profits? Some of the things to consider and explore when determining the appropriate innovation strategy for the organization are as follows:
o What are the current and future needs of the marketplace?
o What industry rules or norms can we rewrite or transform?
o What are the critical driving forces for change affecting the marketplace?
o Who are the real competitors and what are they doing?
o What are the key technologies in the marketplace?
o Are the key technologies mature, developing, or in a state of transition?
o What constitutes the next possible window of opportunity?
o Where are the best global opportunities for our products and services?
o What resources are available to implement an innovation strategy? (People, facilities, funding, intellectual capital / property, strategic alliances?)
o What are the long and short-term objectives of the overall business strategy?
o Does our innovation strategy fit our business strategy?
o How will our technology be a differentiators in the marketplace?
o What new functionality could we / should we create for our industry?
o Does the innovation strategy create options that will both create value for the customer and position the enterprise for future growth?
Discovery is the journey and insight into possibilities is the mechanism, which produces new organizational wealth and sustained growth. Research shows that innovation that exploits change is generally the most effective. Strategic innovation is the continuous and purposeful organized search for changes. It is the systematic analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, finding which can be capitalize upon, and which offers the best potential for the creation of wealth and growth.
Innovation can address change in two ways: incrementally and by a transformational or major breakthrough. Both should be considered when deciding which approach can best satisfy the marketplace and the organizations business strategy. However, it should be realized that incremental thinking in a world of profound change is inadvertently to add much value or drive industry leadership.
A useful approach to evolve or create an innovation strategy is as follows:
o Understand the market trends, relevant technologies, the competitive environment, regulatory change and other forces of change.
o Observe users of existing product, yours and your competitors, looking for gaps, inefficiencies, and opportunities for increased performance or consider rewriting the rules of your particular industry.
o Visualize and predict "possible" and seemingly "impossible" innovation opportunities that could institute a major breakthrough in your industry.
o Test, try, evaluate and refine the product, service or process in the lab and with the end user to see if it really solves a problem or accomplishments performance.
o Obtain and implement feedback quickly from the end user.
o Before being asked, make changes to ensure the end user is more than satisfied with the finished product, service or process.
o Formally launch the production of the new product, start providing the new service, and implement the new process in a dramatic but honest manner.
o Market the new product, service or process, looking for possible spin-off or next generation possibilities.