Managing innovation in a business requires not only a culture of openness and exploration, but also a company that can actively manage the process of innovation to reduce fruitless activities, says enterprise information management company Intervate MD Lionel Moyal.
However, driving innovation is only the first step. Businesses must actively focus on and drive adoption to ensure businesses gain value from their innovations. A key aspect of that is conscious focus on corporate social networks to sustain interest in innovations, which also leads to these innovations being further developed and eventually adopted.
“A culture of innovation is fundamental, but must be underpinned by appropriate incentives to support business decisions about the direction of innovations and projects.
“In larger more complex environments, the successful implementation of innovations is often the greatest challenge. Driving successful innovations requires a more structured process with defined milestones, at which points projects are evaluated to assess their viability,” he says.
However, companies must not overmanage innovation processes, as this can stifle projects. Companies can encourage sharing across corporate networks to drive innovation projects, as this will enable new ideas to be considered for projects and provide non-monetary incentives to share and build an innovative culture, says Moyal.
“A key consideration is how much time and effort should be spent on innovation, which necessitates good control of the innovation process to favour early or smart failures rather than extensive projects that do not see the light of day,” he explains.
Moyal supports a lean innovation model that does not overdictate to the employees involved because it could ruin their passion for the project, but which rather incorporates an iterative validation process to develop initial ideas before embarking on full-scale development or implementation.
“Simplifying the approach to innovation is key and concepts should also be implemented iteratively to enable agile development, fast deployment and continuous refinement,” he says.
Further, aligning projects and innovation structures to provide purpose and, hence, direction to innovation, leads to a culture of innovation and provides a sense of achievement. This also provides natural motivation besides the personal interest of participating employees.
“Drivers for innovation are increased productivity and motivation of employees, increased efficiencies and potential opportunities for expanding the business,” says Moyal.
He points to Asia as an example where innovation and discipline led to a significant change in productivity over the past few decades, boosting development levels and technical skills in the region, which currently support the production of high-technology goods.
Intervate provides consulting services and innovation process management solutions for companies that want to establish research, development and innovation programmes, he concludes.