Developing innovation health in your organization is a matter of keeping innovative product development moving throughout each year. Innovation health will ensure that as the marketplace changes and your customers’ needs evolve, you’ll be ready to meet each need and challenge with new ideas and processes.
Innovation Health Key 1: An Innovation Process
When you develop an innovation process, it becomes much easier to keep new ideas moving through the pipeline in your organization. This process will help keep the innovation health in your company strong. There are three elements to a functional, useful innovation process:
- Ease of Use. The first element of a great innovation process is that it’s easy to use. It should be easy to submit, develop, and evaluate ideas. This makes it much easier to create crowdsourcing projects, internal innovation teams, and more. A great innovation platform that’s easy to use goes a long way.
- Employee Training on Innovation. Innovation needs to be encouraged at every level. By implementing specific training that assists in creating an innovation mindset in your staff, you’ll be putting in place the second element of a robust innovation process. When employees in your organization are encouraged and trained on how to think innovatively and how to submit new ideas, you’ll get a lot more input into your process.
- Ability to Obtain a Sponsor for Ideas and Improvements. All the great innovative ideas in the world won’t help your organization’s innovation health if they aren’t implemented. The final element in a functional innovation process is the ability to obtain sponsorship, support, and funding to implement the ideas that are developed.
Innovation Health Key 2: A Culture That Rewards Innovation
Giving lip-service to the idea of innovation and having true innovative health are two very different things. If you don’t have a culture that rewards innovation on every level – with support starting at the very top – you’ll never be able to keep up with the many changes that occur in the marketplace and industry. Here are three ways to develop a culture that rewards innovation:
- Tangible Rewards. By giving actual, tangible rewards to those who bring innovative ideas into your process and help bring them to fruition, you’ll be concretely showing everyone in your organization that innovation matters. You’ll create a culture that rewards innovation in very clear ways.
- Cross-Functional Collaboration. A second way to develop a culture that rewards innovation is to encourage cross-functional collaboration. When people with different ideas and perspectives join together to solve a common problem, the results can yield powerful new ideas.
- Ability to Meet with Key Personnel. Many times, someone in your organization has an idea but doesn’t know if it’s feasible, if it matters, or if it’s already being worked on. By having a true open-door policy – across departments and multiple levels of management – you can create a culture where it’s easy to reach out to key personnel. When an employee can get information from stakeholders, customers, and researchers, they will have a much better picture of how their idea fits in the organization.
Innovation Health Key 3: Metrics for Success
Finally, to have true innovation health in your organization, you need to know whether you’re getting the return on investment (ROI) that you need. The only way to do that is to develop metrics that help you measure the success of your innovation process and the new ideas that are implemented. Here are three ways to develop metrics to measure the success of innovation:
- Understand Why Metrics Are Important. If you don’t define what success looks like in your innovation process, you’re likely to reap the results of “garbage in, garbage out”. Far from stifling creativity, metrics help guide and shape creativity so that the innovation truly benefits your organization.
- Set Output Goals to Innovate Around. Your innovative process will probably function best when you know what you’re shooting for before you begin. Consider setting internal challenges around key outputs, like increasing the percentage of revenue from international markets, or increasing revenue from new customer segments. By doing this, you create innovation that is already aimed at a measurable result.
- Set Input Goals to Encourage Innovation Health. To ensure that your innovation health stays sound, create some goals around innovation inputs. Things like percent of time senior executives spend on future ideas vs. daily operations, the number of teams that submit projects for innovation awards, or the number of new product ideas coming from mining social media can all be great input goals.
Innovation health is a vital part of the overall health of your organization. The world is changing faster than ever, and the companies that don’t innovate will be left far, far behind. To learn more about innovation health, or to learn how IdeaScale’s Innovation Stages can help your organization, visit our Stages page today!