Continuous innovation is needed to survive in the businesses of all types, beginning with the startup, and also increasing in importance along with the business matures. Sometimes, technologists insist that new technology cannot be invented according to a schedule, but many successful companies try to make themselves able to do the same regularly.
Many people try to define the word “Innovation”, but they are too abstract. There is an easy to remember approach discussed in “Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10 Step Program for Corporate Survival”, written by Robert F. Brands. It looks like more concrete contains several decades of experience to define the principles which spell and define INNOVATION.
- Inspire: This is the first and top most important step is identifying a leader who is able to inspire and drive the processes. In the case of a startup, that should be a CEO or founder, and the person holding the responsibility should be personally and regularly involved. This is really imperative.
- No Risk – No Innovation: It is not necessary that every idea can or will win. Without taking risks, Innovation is difficult or impossible. The innovation team performs their best when they believe that failure will never ever result in disciplinary measures. Fear of being failed kills innovation skills.
- No Product Development Process: A process that is formalized with milestones and timelines is a must. This should have important key elements of prioritization, idea generation, commercialization, measurement, and prototyping.
- Ownership: Innovation always needs ownership, a team, and a leader within any organization. The champion must possess the skills to convince others for taking the risks and go beyond their comfort zone to work hard.
- Value Creation: Innovation converts ideas into money, to enhance their customer value, and also shareholder value. Long-term enhancements and product values beget company’s value via your organization’s portfolio and intellectual property.
- Accountability: This is the most critical component of the trust, even when the process is just like “herding cats”. All the team members must be responsible for on time delivery.
- Training & Coaching: Hiring people with some natural curiosity, ability to see big things, and open-mindedness is a way to create and improve your right mindset. Ongoing coaching is very important to maintain the spirit and attitude.
- Idea Management: Building and managing a pipeline of many ideas. As time passes, include sales members and customers in ideation sessions. Also, make sure that your team members have interaction with the product and they are used to it.
- Observe & Measure: keeping track of the results is very important for optimal ROI. The product life cycle decreases with time, which mandates accelerated product cycles. When a new product is launched, a metric is a ratio between product sales and overall sales.
- Net Result & Reward: According to ROI, rewards and incentives should be developed for all participants. Try to reward your people. The key motivator is usually less financial than the recognition for a job. Those people are the best resources for innovation.
Innovation is the only sustainable and competitive advantage. But it is also hard because some people resist change.