Your innovation plan is the first step to igniting a creative fire within your organization that produces innovative ideas which are vital to your success. In a recent blog post (A Proven System for Successful Innovation), I summarized the eight steps in my Innovation Success Blueprint system. The first step is to create a unique innovation plan for your company.
A recent Fortune Magazine article states, “According to PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP), almost 80% of the world’s most innovative companies have a well-defined and thought-through innovation strategy.”
You can start developing your unique innovation plan by starting with a specific goal for innovation in your business. Example goals include:
- Identify new products or product features to maintain business growth and stay on the leading edge of your industry.
- Develop new products or services that allow your company to enter a new market segment.
- In preparation for an upcoming round of financing, create innovative ideas and protect those ideas to exhibit a strong intellectual property portfolio to potential investors.
Once you have set an innovation goal and begin developing an innovation plan to achieve the goal, it is important to get the company leaders “on board.” I have worked with many companies that struggled to develop a strong innovation culture when the company leadership did not support the innovation plan. Even if just one or two company leaders are disparaging the innovation activities, that’s enough to sabotage the entire plan. So, be certain that innovation is a priority to the leaders of the organization.
As you develop the innovation plan, be sure it aligns with the company vision and company goals. This is the real magic in creating an Innovation Plan – when it supports the vision and goals of the organization, it fits naturally into the daily activities of the business.
After the innovation plan is prepared and it has the support of company leaders, then it’s time to launch the innovation plan. As an Innovation Strategist, I generally recommend starting with one or two small innovation teams. These teams work on solving specific problems or addressing gaps in the market. Additionally, the initial teams help “test” the innovation plan and refine it to match the company’s business culture. These small innovation teams can generate many valuable innovations without disrupting the day-to-day business activities that you might experience with a company-wide launch of the innovation plan.
I recommend creating innovation teams with six or seven people from different parts of company. By selecting team members from multiple departments or groups, you create a diverse group of people with different perspectives on the business and different job functions. This typically results in the identification of a broader range of innovative ideas. As the initial innovation teams begin creating valuable ideas, you can expand the company’s innovation activities by adding more teams and developing company-wide innovation events.
By starting with a strong innovation plan that aligns with your company vision and goals, you have the foundation for creating a steady flow of innovative ideas that can increase revenue and create a competitive edge.
If you need assistance creating your own unique innovation plan, please contact me to see how I can help.