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Extending innovations value- appreciating the whole system. For me, innovation needs to be treated more like a complete interlinked value chain. We must step back and see the whole value chain system for innovation. It constantly loops back and feeds back-in to add increasing value and experience.
It has many connected parts that need to work together to deliver effectively and efficiently the new ideas and concepts being discovered through to final commercialization.
The innovation value chain needs the following, seemingly obvious often missed:
- An established system that is clearly repeatable to ‘push’ innovation through constantly
- It needs to be able to scale, scope and quickly adjust according to the concepts being pushed or even pulled through, often by spotting unmet customer needs.
- It needs flexibility, resilience, and adaptability that constantly adjusts and shaped accordingly and cannot be ‘fixed’, rigid and overly managed or controlled as many seem to try.
- It needs to have breakpoints for considering the innovation options- carry on, kill off, spin out, send back to rethink, to allow to grow at a different pace, to accelerate more.
- It needs to ‘capture’ the collective learning and experiences constantly gained from the past and build those into improving the process for future activities
- The people who have ‘oversight’ need to have some form of option resolution built-in for deciding resources, directions, allocations and investments. They need that responsibility.
- All innovation ideas and concepts entering the extended tunnel need to align to the strategic direction, compliment or extend onto the platforms you are providing (core, adjacent or new) and feed the portfolios that drive the businesses’ growth aspirations.
- They must have a clear ‘fit’ within the strategy needs and be resourced well.
Designing the innovation pathway
To achieve increasing value in this, there is an innovation pathway you have to design and be ready to travel. It is highly dynamic, and you, as the leader of the innovation activities, are required to constantly add the active innovation yeast by promoting the ‘fermentation’ needed for innovation to succeed, including:
- Establishing and encouraging a robust set of innovation processes and technologies to support that constantly adapts and adjusts to the needs of the innovation concept, not the other way around.
- The ability, energy, and commitment to drive maturing ideas and concepts to realization as the overriding passion and need.
- Create a powerful desire and motivation to innovate by encouraging the environment of what you do makes a contribution to our future.
- As ideas and concepts mature, you constantly build and restate the business case, again and again, so it remains clear why this concept remains important.
- You actively seek out the different and often diverse points of connectivity with all the stakeholders so they can engage, contribute, and lend their support and commitment.
- Constantly look for ways to empower individuals and groups to explore, challenge and improve constantly on what they know with what they need to find out and discover.
- You have to work actively (hard) at clarifying constantly the links of the idea and concepts across the innovation process for all involved to stay committed to the ‘long run’ between idea to commercialization in times of uncertainty and flux.
- Ensure you are actively working those networking, encouraging collaborating and building on the collective wisdom of many so that you are constantly exploring all the (emerging) options and expanding on the alternatives to extract maximum value.
- Seek ways always to measure, evaluate, and see return through progress and impact so everyone involved or viewing the efforts can constantly ‘see’ the value and where their contribution is helping. This is not simply once a year in those organized ways and events that fit the calendar or bean counter needs.
- Strive for execution that builds from the best of the past by knowing what that is; remain open to what is all around you today in the wider world beyond your often more narrow confines and imagine what is really possible with that extra touch of imagination to ‘push’ by seeing beyond the known’s and traditionally accepted.
The concept-to-customer approach is an innovation pathway that constantly narrows down.
So if we work through these two lists, we begin to build that whole system needed for innovation.
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