Friday, September 8, 2017

The Golden Circle of Innovation Management

Today, at the hyperconnected business ecosystem, innovation can happen anywhere, anytime, expands both horizontally and vertically.

The definition of innovation is simple, to gain benefit by doing something different. Innovation is most wanted changes. In order to survive and thrive in today’s digital environment with the fast pace of changes, innovation is “must have,” not “nice to have” differentiated business capability in running a business today.  Like Change Management, Innovation Management should follow the 'Golden Circle,' starting with the WHY - to clarify the vision and motivation of innovation management, then address the HOW? - the logical scenario and processes are taken to manage innovation, and then WHAT - the quantitative and qualitative business results achieved via innovation at the end.

WHY: Innovation is never for its sake, innovation is coming up with something of value by applying it to a product or process, to either delight customers or engage employees. In the pre-planning stage for innovation scenario, innovation leaders or managers have to keep asking themselves:  Are the innovations you are trying to promote actually relevant to the business now, or in the future, or at all?  Is it cost savings, efficiency, better go to market strategy, improved in supporting new business, etc. Is it an incremental innovation, evolutionary innovation, or breakthrough innovation? Is it a strategic imperative or could it be the distraction for the business to implement its strategy?  Innovation is a buzzword that can easily be misused unless you have a clear goal on what you want to get out of it, and the big WHY about innovation helps to clarify the noble business purpose behind innovation initiatives. Focusing on customer needs should be an easier path to bear the innovation fruit. For every innovation initiative, you should work closely with customers to articulate their important concerns; define the most compelling and unique approach to addressing their needs; analyze the benefits per costs of that approach, and quantify why the chosen approach is better than the competition and alternatives.

HOW: At the business level, innovation is a process and management discipline, and innovation is a critical component of the business strategy. The know-how part of innovation helps to clarify the significant detail about innovation management and the technical component of the innovation management mechanism. Applying discipline to innovation is to figure out how to manage innovation in a structural way. The problem is that many organizations do not set the right conditions for the innovation strategy to occur within, something along the lines of the right people with the right mindset in the right roles doing the right work with the right interdependence. Generally speaking, innovation actions, processes, and tools can be taught to employees, but creativity, originality, insight, ingenuity, etc., can't be taught, they need to be discovered by talented people on their own, with the personalized “know-how” approach.

WHAT: What value can be delivered via innovation initiatives and how to measure it is another great question to clarify innovation value in a quantitative way. All innovation initiatives, hopefully, are started to achieve some business result directly or indirectly. Normally organizations look for KPIs measuring business results generated by innovation efforts. You choose those KPIs by deciding which are seen as critical to making progress in order to deliver more innovations. The innovation indicators vary depending on who is doing the measuring, and how they are measuring, it is contextual. Some factors that could be used to measure innovation score within a company could be resources invested (human and financial), employees motivation, number of initiatives being launched, process KPIs, and organizational innovative culture readiness, or employees’ innovation index, etc.

Today, at the hyperconnected business ecosystem, innovation can happen anywhere, anytime, expands both horizontally and vertically. There are many ‘flavors’ of innovations. Innovation is a crucial component of your strategy and differentiated business advantage. It is always important to gain an in-depth understanding of the golden circle of innovation management, improve its success rate, and achieve high-performance business results.


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