Innovation is a modern buzz word, especially in the IT and marketing industry. Almost every market leader wants to be “innovative” and “perspective”. However, things get complicated when it comes to the implementation stage. All of a sudden, it turns out that our innovation can be not as profitable as we initially thought, or it could take more time than we assumed to see the first results. And, in many instances, that’s a reason why, eventually, many innovative concepts end up in the trash. The right approach is the key to success. It’s also applying some ground rules in the process. In this article, we are going to show you some of the greatest innovation management tips and tricks.
First of all, you have to acknowledge that an inseparable part of every innovation is risk. On the one hand, we all know that innovative companies can conquer the market more easily, gain more customers, attract investors, and increase sales in a very short time. However, as always, there’s also the other side of the coin. And that’s related to massive time, workforce, and money investments. And the truth is, not every company can afford it.
In such a situation, you have three options. You can:
- Throw in the towel and put your project aside.
- Do it with your in-house resources, and risk failure, hoping for success at the same time
- Find an external partner and utilize the outsourcing strategy
Each of these options has its pros and cons. Whichever option you choose, you still have to understand that the innovation management process is on your head. You have to control and supervise it if you want it to succeed. Thankfully, you are not in a no-win situation. There are some innovation management tips and tricks and principles that will help you conduct your project from A to Z. let’s take a closer look at them.
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The appropriate approach to the innovation management process
Before we start, you have to understand that there is no such thing as a model innovation management process. Naturally, there are many exemplary models of the innovation process, and they can be used as a guide. In practice, however, the strategy must be geared to the individual requirements of your company.
You should start by identifying your internal requirements and ultimate goal. Ask yourself a few questions:
- What do we want to achieve?
- What do we need to start working on our innovation? Whose consent is necessary?
- What are the decision-making structures that should be taken into account?
- Who should be the leader of this process?
With these questions answered, you are ready to start working on your future innovation.
Innovative leaders always proclaim the need for change.
“We need to be (or do it) better!” They believe that while trying new ideas is risky, standing still is even riskier. If you want to pursue your innovation and have the support of the entire team, you have to paint a picture that shows an appealing future that is worth taking this risk. Always concentrate on future benefits!
Innovation management tips and tricks
It’s all about the right approach and work organization. If you have everything organized and planned, pulling off such a complicated project can be successful! Here’s a list of ground rules and innovation management tips and tricks that will help you effectively conduct your project.
As Edward de Bono once said, “Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” And that’s true, especially when you’re thinking about innovations in your sector.
The next paragraphs will be divided into two major sections–your team and your project. The first part is almost solely devoted to the right approach, utilizing your internal resources, and motivating people. The second section is focused strictly on your project and the ways to enhance it.
Innovation management tips and tricks – your team
Innovation management tips and tricks: AWAKE CREATIVITY
For starters, you and your team should put thinking caps on. Without creativity, there’s no innovation. And bear in mind that creativity has its own ways. You can’t be creative on command. That’s why we advise you to follow one of Seth Godin’s crucial principles.
Ten years ago, he wrote on his blog that, “Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom.” These are things to avoid if you want to be creative. You should create an open space in your organization where employees exchange ideas, vote, collaborate, and contribute to various concepts. Let nothing hold your creative side back!
Is there anything you can do more? Get acquainted with various techniques designed to awake creativity. For instance, did you know that there are at least five different types of brainstorming? Or that the SCAMPER technique is extremely helpful when it comes to enhancing products and services? Do some research and adopt practices that can be helpful in your particular situation.
Innovation management tips and tricks: INVOLVE AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE…
It’s essential. Don’t limit yourself just to a small “creative team”. Your entire company should be such a team! After all, every employee brings their own unique perspectives, experience, and ideas. And finally, developing ideas together helps build brand loyalty and employee engagement, and that’s always a good thing! Make your employees feel like they’re a part of something great.
It’s true; employees have a tremendous potential to provide fantastic insights and ideas about organizational practices, services, products, customers, and, in general, long-term business goals.
…BUT ASSIGN A PROJECT LEADER
Every innovation project requires strong leadership. This means there should be one single project leader who will be responsible for the project’s development. They should be aware that innovation projects are highly interdisciplinary, involve dozens of functions and facets, and often take months or even years to finish them. This is why you need a leader–in order to keep this project on track. Their commitment and cooperation are critical to the success of the innovation project.
Innovation management tips and tricks: GIVE EACH MEMBER A TASK
Encourage your employees to ask themselves some questions (of course, these questions have to be strictly associated with your project):
- What is the essential purpose of my role?
- What is the outcome that I deliver that is of real value?
- Is there a better way to deliver that value or purpose?
Innovation management tips and tricks: RUN IDEA CAMPAIGNS
Idea campaigns are time-bound and directed at a specific problem or opportunity, allowing you to get the right ideas at the right time. Idea campaigns are a proven way to capture tons of ideas, improve productivity, cut costs, and drive improvements in a short period.
In fact, you don’t need much to run an idea campaign. In smaller organizations, even an Excel file will do. For a more complex project, you need a more specific tool. For example, Stormboard is a free (for max 5 participants) online whiteboard that provides you with a range of different colored sticky notes, allowing you to collaborate with other people, easily and efficiently.
Innovation management tips and tricks: BE TRANSPARENT
Your intent should be clear and understandable for every team member. Only then will you get their real engagement. Don’t hide your real goal. Help your colleagues understand what your company wants to achieve, and, more importantly, why. Sometimes, knowing the ultimate goal is the best way to find the perfect solution.
Moreover, your employees need to understand how their ideas can contribute to your project’s and company’s success. This means that they have to believe in this project, and they should be given the resources they need to participate in it.
Innovation management tips and tricks: BE FLEXIBLE
The innovation process has to be as flexible and adaptable as possible. Keep in mind that innovation is always unique. Therefore, every single time you try to invent something new, your strategy should be different.
Every idea has specific requirements. And the innovation process leading to it should also be unique and specifically tailored to your current project.
Innovation management tips and tricks: OFFER A REWARD PLAN
Nothing boosts creativity and motivation as good as rewards. However, keep in mind that these rewards should have real, practical value. You could even ask your employees what kind of rewards they would like to get? Maybe an extra day off? Or a bonus? Or perhaps a training that will improve their skills and raise competences?
Innovation management tips and tricks – your project
LOOK FOR EXTERNAL PARTNERS
In many instances, your internal resources are simply not sufficient to pull your project off. If that’s a case in your company, you should look for an external partner–a company or agency that has the resources, knowledge, or experience you lack. Outsourcing is almost always a great way to optimize and accelerate work.
UTILIZE THE MVP APPROACH
When it comes to designing a new product, especially digital, MVP is by far the best approach to use. The Minimum Viable Product is focused on creating an initial version of your project. This initial version should be as straightforward and cheap to produce as possible. The idea is to test your vision without investing large amounts of money in it. The MVP version can be presented to your customers, investors, partners, and other stakeholders. Thanks to the MVP version, you can verify if everything goes as planned and if the product displays all of the necessary features and functions.
GO RIGHT TO THE VERY END
Don’t be tempted to finish your project prematurely. Innovation, if it’s to be useful business-wise, should be conducted step by step up to the end. The project cannot be considered complete until everything in terms of production and distribution functions and runs. Besides the innovation itself, you ought to think about:
- Product management
- Customer service
- Possible flaws and complaints
In fact, innovation is a lot like a new company. It has to be planned, organized and well though-out if it’s to be successful.
We are 100% confident that your innovation project will be a great success with all of these principles in mind. If you’re working on an IT-related or AI-related project, drop us a line. Our team is always open to implementing new and innovative solutions in many sectors and industries. Let’s find out what we can do together!