Innovation Best Practices

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The discovery of better more efficient ways to operate is an intentional process and repeated innovations can not be left to chance. The following four best practices will help to plan for the identification and implementation of transformative innovations.

  • Identify white space
  • Minimize expenditure and embed in existing budgets
  • Invest in stakeholder alignment
  • Validate scenarios with data

Identify white space . Aim to deliver differentiated products and services in underdeveloped segments of the market. A goal will empower people to test novel solutions to problems, and in some situations, generate compiling arguments for the development of products or services. The better these gaps are defined and articulated, the more likely that novel solutions will be found.

Minimize expenditure and embed in existing budgets . Since innovation is uncertain, you should prepare for failure, and along with failure, criticism. One way to avoid problems is to spend the least amount of money to learn the most possible. Another way to protect research and development programs is to embed them inside existing office budgets. You do not want to open the organization to charges of waste.

Invest in stakeholder alignment . Once an innovative, new way of operating becomes apparent the next step is implementation. Certain people will be invested in the old routines and these people require a transition plan. Nothing breaks down barriers better than making sure that the people affected by a change are aware and agree.

Validate scenarios with data . Prepare arguments for change with clear communication and data. The best case against the status quo is one backed by data. When the benefits of new services are speculative, it is easy for stakeholders to resist change. I like to present scenario models so that people can understand the operating environment under various conditions: status quo, changes in the market, and threats to the organization. These scenarios depend on data for realistic portrays of options.

These practices enable organizations to anticipate problems associated with innovation, and by addressing the scope, expenses, stakeholders, and communication, one can develop a system where new ideas can be regularly generated and more importantly implemented.

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