Reality begins when you are able to communicate your ideas to others.
So what do you know about innovation execution?
Since Michael Porter’s work in the 1980s, there has been a widely accepted definition of what strategy is. Unfortunately, most people know a lot less about translating a implementing their innovative ideas and strategies into outcomes.
It is always the implementation and lack of consideration to other aspects of the organisation that stalls innovative ideas. The best intentions don’t take your innovations to reality.
Implementing and embedding performance measurements (KPIs) into organisations, is a good place to start making things happen. When it comes to innovation, generating the idea is only the first step in a longer journey.
To take innovations to reality you need a process
Can you describe how innovation is implemented in your organisation? The typical steps consist of translating your ideas into objectives, strategies, actions, measuring progress and rewarding performance.
There are tools, designed to increase alignment between activities and your purpose, vision and objectives. A failure to execute implies a failure to recognise the value of the innovations and a breakdown in the processes to link them with reality with actions.
“There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than following your passions – in a way that serves the world and you”. Richard Branson
Many people immediately equate innovation with an ability to constantly spark new ideas. But ideas are a ‘dime a dozen’. It’s the execution of the ideas that bring about the outcomes you are seeking. Innovation is a business buzzword, a term that’s often misunderstood in its totality.
Most don’t seem to suffer from a lack of fresh ideas. What they really suffer from is a failure for their best ideas to find their way towards a new innovation that can be transposed into revenue, profit, growth and sustainability.
Some of you innovation will not be visible to the customer, like an improvement in your cash handling process. Other innovations will be very visible to the customer, like improving logistics that cut delivery time in half.
In making your innovation a reality you need to focus on action.
Implementation action is the weak spot for most businesses
Ideas have to be acted upon, taken seriously and invested in, otherwise they amount to nothing. An idea might well be great and it could unlock all types of growth, but until it’s executed, it doesn’t have any real value.
Often when you come across businesses who have become very successful, a closer analysis of their success will reveal that it was the execution of an idea that led to the innovation that made them successful. It was their action orientation and continual improvement that resulted in the best and most desirable outcomes.
Many people will often make the mistake of thinking the solution is to invest more time in encouraging idea and opportunity generation. But all this does is create an even longer to-do-list that never generates any real revenue or profit improvements.
Invest time and money in what you already have
Put more time and investment into exploiting the ideas that you already have to relieve customer problems, frustrations, and address their wants and needs more readily. Look for the ideas that buzz around your stakeholders but are not heard about or acted upon.
People who are risk-averse, unwilling to accept failed projects and unwilling to make “big bets” on their business development, will be severely limited in how much innovation they can create. This, in turn, severely limits growth, regardless of the rate at which ideas may be popping into their employee’s heads.
The 3M corporation is almost legendary for its ability to continually innovate and develop successful new product ideas over many different industries and has done it consistently over many decades.
3M have no single ideas methodology, but what they do have, is a philosophy and process that encourages development and execution of ideas into real world products. They also foster a culture that tolerates the failures that inevitably come during any innovation process.
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Innovation is the secret weapon that underpins growth and sustainability. But you need to move beyond the seductive idea that innovation comes from creatively churning out new ideas.
Innovation stems from boldly executing ideas and delivering products and services that improve your customer service and customer experience. After all, it’s your customers who keep you in business.
Innovation is concerned with change and unfortunately far too many people resist change and suffer the consequences.