Creativity is not a scarce resource. Humanity’s creativity and imagination have been key forces in our history from its very beginnings. That said, history is full of grand ideas that aren’t executed, or only ever partially achieved. Moving from innovation to execution calls for more than just a good idea; it needs tools like innovation management solutions to guide it.
Charting the Path
Execution is one of the key struggles of any innovation strategy, in part because you generally have to work backward. Achieving the idea is the goal, but before you lie many different paths and approaches to get there, and you have to pick the one that suits your company.
Like any path, what may seem like a good one turns out to be a meandering trail, or even one that takes you somewhere you didn’t want to be. In some cases, there may not be an obvious path at all, especially if you’re tackling a challenge like entering a new industry.
There are some starting points, including the overall history of innovation, your own company’s institutional knowledge, and case studies within your industry. However, these will all, in the end, serve more like a compass, not a map. This is where an innovation management platform helps.
Innovation management software helps you guide an idea in a way that makes sense for your strategy and your culture. There is no uniform approach to innovation, and different ideas may take different paths, but you can create a structure and steps to guide the idea along the journey.
Small changes and tweaks, for example, can be put on an “express lane” that only has a few steps, has a clear date of execution, and only involves the stakeholders directly affected. Big, wide-ranging changes, new products, and others can be put to the entire company. You can even use the platform to draw on ideas from outside the company, such as crowdsourcing, open innovation, and collaborating with clients directly. All of this allows you to keep the materials as lessons learned going forward, so the solution to internal and external challenges is at your fingertips.
Just as important, this structure is flexible to allow you to adapt to changes inside and outside your company and industry. If a competitor introduces a new feature, your team can analyze it, draw on past ideas and the knowledge you’ve collected, and ask if this specific innovation makes sense for your company, and if so, what you need to do differently to improve on it or make it fit with your approach. If a new technology arrives, you can ask what use it has, if any, in your organization. This will both conserve resources for the most important ideas and ensure your team has the tools they need.
Innovation is a constant journey. When one idea takes shape, another appears on the horizon. An innovation management platform will let you track where you’ve been, so you can better determine which way you’re going. To learn more about innovation management, contact us!