How Do I Build an Innovation Strategy

      Having an effective innovation strategy is crucial for a profitable, effective business that grows with the current state of the market. Think of an innovation strategy as a ship’s rudder, without one your captain (CEO) has no way to control the ship and steer it towards future profit, new revenue streams or better internal processes. We’ve outlined some of the most important items to consider when developing an innovation strategy below. 

 

Think! 

     There are three ways that you think about innovating. If you use the business canvas model and think of your business as a canvas and your processes and visions like a brush, you can paint on either the right, left or straight down the middle. 

  1. You can change the focus of which customer segment you are going after or the which demand chain you are using to reach the customer (left side of the the canvas)
  2. You can change the way you develop or produce the product- changing the supply chain (right side of the canvas)
  3. Change the value proposition- how you expect to help customers solve a problem. You might do this in a number of ways. Aid at a different problem, modify the solution to be better ect… (Center of the canvas) 

You can learn more about the business model canvas HERE

 

Define your vision  and values

     Defining your vision is a crucial step in your innovation strategy. Without fully defining your vision you cannot explain what needs to happen to your team and expect them to pick up the baton and run. One way to start is by creating a vision statement as a baseline. A truly thought out vision statement makes a lasting impact, such as McDonald’s “To be the best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile” or Instagram’s “capture and share the world’s moments.” 

     Think big and then think bigger and then think even bigger. Most people have very limiting views of themselves and a limiting view of what they can accomplish. Typically people overestimate what they can accomplish in 90 days but then underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. You need a vision that makes your team shoot for the stars, if you fall short you’ll land on Mars.

 

Then you need to assemble the parts of an innovation strategy 

Create a business model – Studies show that one of the most important parts of a business model are the decisions that executives make about how the company operates. Some of these choices would be choices such as payment practices, how and where to buy materials and services ,the location of offices, how to market the company,and so much more. All of these decisions must be in line with the organization’s goals and must be followed to the very last letter.Successful business models will generate profitable quarters for the organization and will be continually improved upon. 

Put a breakthrough design process in place Developing a breakthrough design process is about bringing new knowledge to the world.  Having a design process allows you  to be more efficient and transparent with your team when working through your ideas. If you have a process in place that emphasizes learning instead of punishing failure and mistakes, it helps  keep all members of your innovation team on track, motivated and willing to collaborate. When you work this way, it helps your team find solutions for problems you might not even realize are there.

Approach your innovation holistically – In order to begin on your innovation you need to think about all of the aspects of your design or process. you need to take a step back, look at your customers, employees, products and services, procedures, policies, the whole business model as a whole and really work hard to understand where you have the best opportunity to innovate.  

Have the correct plan 

     The next step is to break the vision down into smaller more manageable projects and tasks. Outline the required tasks in a schedule, with agreed deadlines, milestones and responsibilities. Decide the role that each team member will play. Be sure to also consider other resources required in terms of time, materials, space, support and money.Phiquest recommends using the SMART Goals system  as a tool to create criteria to help improve the chances of succeeding in accomplishing a goal. The SMART goal steps are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant  and time bound. 

 

Take massive action 

You need to make sure that you put together the correct team. Teams that function at their highest capabilities are put together of diverse talents that all work together and towards a singular vision that you have defined. Putting together a balance of personality and skill types will allow the group to work together but also challenge each other when needed.

Your team needs to then learn to take massive action which means making your goal and the processes that accompany that goal their obligation and responsibility. The team should not be afraid to take full ownership of the problems that occur or mistakes that are made. The team also should not be punished for mistakes as making mistakes and learning from them is an important part to the innovation process. 

Evaluating your findings 

You’ve done it! Your project is humming along steadily and out in the hands of the end user. You can sit back and drink that mimosa that you’ve been dreaming about all of those sleepless nights you’ve put into this project. But the job isn’t done yet! Make sure to take a step back and evaluate what you have learned so you can plan it into your next development cycle. 

Lastly, It’s not IF you will pivot it’s WHEN.

    Innovation is an iterative process! You need to prepare yourself to recognise the fact that every strategy and plan is based on hypotheticals and guesswork . Once you’ve evaluated your last cycle and have taken a look at what did and didn’t work, you need to start planning your next steps. Do not be afraid to pivot from your original plan if you find out something may work in a different way than was originally intended. 

There you have it, your plan for developing your very own innovation strategy. Now you are faced with the hardest step and that is getting started. Get motivated, grab a notebook and dive in now, and if you need help join an upcoming Phiquest webinar to get professional guidance. Good luck!

Check out the latest Phiquest Webinar

Innovation Team As A Service: Jeremy Ramos & Jay DiNicola discuss how to build an in-house innovation team or bring in an external one to help design & create product solutions.

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