DEEP Insight

Innovation in Motion: Staying on Top Premium

Business innovation is a delicate balancing act. This dossier will help you stay on the ball.

This executive dossier includes the following articles:

Speaking the Lingua Franca of Innovation Premium

Learning to Walk Before You Can Run

Rao, Jay

Innovation is a discipline, a body of knowledge like any other. Unfortunately, our understanding and practice of innovation today is roughly where our understanding of the “quality” discipline was two or three decades ago. Consequently, we see a lot of executives stumbling in their initiatives. The good news is that, like all disciplines, innovation can be learned, practiced and mastered. As all innovation happens in a community, and the fundamental basis for the superior performance of any community is having a common language, then managers need to learn the lingua franca of innovation – its structures, principles and concepts, methodologies and processes, frameworks and tools. As such, the first step to create a community of innovators is to teach them the lingua franca of innovation. Only then will the community be able to practice and master the discipline of innovation.

Overcoming the Hidden Barriers to Innovation Premium

Adopting a Market Mind-Set

García Pont, Carlos; Rocha e Oliveira, Paulo

New research by the authors on the information-sharing processes at 20 multinational firms shows how companies are insufficiently attuned to the ebb and flow of their respective markets. With the market information they do have, they often fail to process it effectively. These problems represent major barriers to innovation. The authors discuss these barriers in depth, grouped according to the firm'’s ability to know, understand and use market information. Overcoming these barriers is possible, they say, if you have the right organizational attitude or mind-set. This depends on internal openness and horizontal relationships among the people who work in the firm, which enables the free flow of contextual information. That information, in turn, needs to be used to make decisions, because there'’s no use having market information if no one uses it later. The more that firms adopt this market orientation, the more effective they will be in customer satisfaction and innovation.

Creating Bold Innovation in Mature Markets Premium

Five Vectors for Success

Cooper, Robert G.

For many firms operating in mature markets, there are only so many sources of growth open to them, which is why launching unique, superior products with a compelling value proposition is so vital. Yet company surveys show that bold innovation is down, while improvements and modifications to existing products are up. This only serves to maintain existing market share, rather than grow it. To succeed in bigger, bolder innovation, five vectors need to be in place: (I) having an innovation strategy that focuses your development efforts on opportunity-rich strategic arenas, much like Corning and Apple had; (II) fostering the right climate and culture for innovation, driven by senior executives, as found at Grundfos and 3M; (III) setting up a proactive idea generation, capture and handling system, as at Swarovski; (IV) having a next generation, idea-to-launch process designed to handle large, complex and bold development initiatives, as at HP; and finally, (V) using the right project selection methods, as at BASF and Procter & Gamble. Bold innovation is not easy, but it’s not out of reach either. The examples and illustrations provided in this article model the way.

Normalize Innovation to Transform Your Firm Premium

A Customized Road Map

Vilà, Joaquim

Companies that organize their innovation efforts in systematic, well-managed ways are those whose efforts will be rewarded. So says Joaquim Vilà, based on the best practices of the world’s most innovative firms, as well as on his own extensive experience of innovation management. In this article, Vilà presents a systematic model of innovation management, which links strategy, problem solving and cultural change, and which is custom-tailored to the needs of each firm. Implementing this model in phases allows for progressive development of an innovation culture. The goal is to change the way in which innovation is led and managed at all levels of the organization, so that the company can establish a set of values, principles and practices that will strengthen and nurture the innovation process on an ongoing basis. In short, it’s about transforming the entire company through innovation.

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