Today, almost every organization wants to innovate.
We leave in a fast-evolving world were relative new companies like Airbnb or Uber disrupted established companies and business models in just a few couple of years.
As citizens and customers, our expectations regarding services and products are increasing every day, because organizations like Amazon or Apple have been very successful in providing innovative services and products.
What makes an organization innovative? There are several aspects to take in consideration, but in this post I will focus on employees, because I believe they are the key success factor for an organization be able to innovate.
To innovate it is needed to experiment lots of different ideas and most of these promising ideas will reveal to be a failure.
Most organizations are not ready to deal with failure and with experimentation. We are all supposed to know what to do, and do things right at the first time.
Having ideas rarely is a problem in an organization. Employees know their organization business, know their customers and know the organizational problems, so they are able to provide improvement ideas.
Employee ideas must be welcomed and incentivized as they are the base of any innovation management system. Focusing the ideas on specific initiatives and moving them from coffee conversations to working hypotheses is where the problems usually start.
Ideas must be collected and analysed, to decide the ones that should be pursued, taking in consideration organizational priorities and resources.
Collecting, analysing and prioritizing ideas is not an easy task. Limited resources don’t allow organizations to pursue all the ideas, disruptive ideas have a higher risk, some ideas can disrupt the organization business model and complex ideas will require more time to explore.
Independently of the method used to choose the ideas to pursue one thing is clear. Most of the ideas will not succeed, so the organization need to be able to explore different initiatives at the same time and have an experimentation culture that allows employees to experiment quickly and inexpensive. We need to be able to test ideas and concepts quickly and cheaply in order to fail fast and learn fast from those failures.
Between this failures will appear those new innovations that will have an impact on the business model. For impact in the business model, I mean that an innovation needs to improve revenues or reduce costs. Innovation is creating value, not having ideas.
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