go back

Innovation Management: From Idea to Execution

Should we expect innovation to come from large enterprises, or is it a phenomenon which should be left to start-ups? Is it a process that requires management, or would that limit its creativity?

The business world is changing faster than ever before. Globalization is everywhere, open markets and new ways of thinking emerge constantly. There’s new groundbreaking research every day, delivering products which impact our lifestyles.

We are also experiencing many changes in the way companies survive in this competitive environment and which don’t. Companies which once held a firm position inside the Fortune 500 list, are no longer among the Fortune 2000. That’s a simple cold fact. We know business pundits have many answers as to what are the factors for success, and what are those which bring down a company. I wonder what they say about the importance of innovation in a company’s survival.

I am not alone in the belief that innovation is critical and having a strategy around innovation is imperative. However, I’m not planning on discussing why or how innovation plays a role, but rather I take it as a given, and I’ll offer a few points around how to manage the process of innovation. 

The path of innovation management: from a seed to a plan

Therefore, how to do you translate innovation from a stage of an idea to a plan, and further down the line, execution. How is possible to harness the power of innovation management to your advantage? And why is so difficult to advance our ideas throughout a large organization to the point of execution?

Here is a checklist to make sure you can make an idea come to life:

  • Goal Setting – Innovation in large company should play a role in advancing the strategic goals of a company. For each innovative idea, the linkage to a specific objective within the strategic plan should be clear and mapped out.  
  • Innovation Platform – Create a platform to hear all of ideas. Every employee should feel she/he has the opportunity to express an idea. If you are not familiar with the idea of “Open Innovation”, it’s about time you do.
  • Bottom up Vs Top Down – Make sure you are able to receive the ideas emerging from the “bottom” of the company, and don’t forget to monitor the innovative ideas and thoughts and weigh each one for its value to the company. There should be a uniform method for measuring each innovative proposal.
  • Scoring of ideas – Everyone has ideas. But you want to make sure you are paying attention to only the ones that are in your scope, budget, priorities, and most of all, are in sync with the company’s strategic goals. Remember this rule – great thoughts which are simply unattainable are a waste of time. That’s why you have to come up with an evaluating scoring system that will be able to discard bad or irrelevant innovation and focus on good ideas.
  • Evaluations of ideas streamline – Now that you gathered all of the ideas racing both up and down inside the organization, and you scored each one by the properties you set, it is time to evaluate and choose. The entire evaluation process should be based on the on the criteria of scoring, and aligned with the corporate strategy plan. And more importantly connected to your Strategy plan budget alignment.
  • Execution – Remember the goals we’ve set up in the beginning? Now it’s time to make sure these ideas are suitable and obtainable. Once you decided have based on previous prioritization, it is time to execute according to the strategy.

Keep in mind that this is both the easiest and the most over looked milestone in the funnel. You need to make sure it will come to realization, if not. It was all just a waste of time, energy and money.

  • Analyze & Repeat – The process of innovation management is the same as the execution process. You should decide on an appropriate date to review the ongoing process and also set up weekly checkups to see everything is in line.

Another article I recommend you read was published in Forbes, How to Manage Innovation so you could explore other approaches.

Innovation_management_cycle