Few large companies have built the infrastructure needed to quickly and reliably grow ideas into sustainable businesses that stave off disruption.
There Is a Ton of Noise in the Open Innovation Space
The Harvard Business Review has an entire section dedicated to Open Innovation and searching “innovation execution” on Amazon yields more than 10 works from the past two years alone, all with differing opinions on how to successfully execute on innovation. Even with all of these resources, if you ask your corporate innovation peers most can’t look you in the eye to say their company has execution truly figured out.
In large companies, it seems the entire organization has been built to stand in the way of creating a reliable innovation infrastructure that allows for truly fast execution at the speed of startups. Legal and finance are common obstacles that we all complain about, but have you identified and addressed these other roadblocks yet?
1. Unclear Strategy
The output can only be as good as the planning and resources put into it. Make sure you set clear objectives. These can range from developing new products to improving processes, and more. Knowing and aligning on your desired end state so everyone knows and agrees on the measure of success is also crucial, so you are not just innovating for innovation's sake.
2. Skill Shortages
Does your organization possess individuals with a background in innovation or entrepreneurship? If not, how can you attract them, or better yet, go straight to the source and partner with a startup? These skillsets will not only allow you to execute faster, but will impact your corporate culture positively in the long run.
3. Bad Metrics
You have established goals, but do your metrics truly measure whether your efforts are helping you reach them? If not, identify measurable indicators that relate directly to your goals. For example, did the data acquired thanks to your startup partnership lead to the development of a product your customers love and are willing to pay for?
4. Misaligned Incentives
Is your innovation team responsible for bringing in new ideas but rewarded for putting a new spin on old ones? Review your incentives to make sure you’re not inadvertently encouraging behaviors and activities that don’t help your team reach its goals. Make innovation everyone’s job, and include incentives in annual performance reviews around creating and supporting the development of innovation.
5. Lack of Speed
Executing on innovation does not truly matter if you do not hit the market fast enough to have a positive impact on the market and your customer. If you arrive late to the party, you have lost the competitive advantage and the innovation activity you undertook has lost relevance. Focus your activity on speed.
The trick to executing on an open innovation strategy successfully depends largely on how quickly you can analyze what you’re doing (and the results!), understand the changes that your customers are looking for, and how this all meets your predetermined goals.
Once you can clearly see what is happening and why, you can take action to steer your team towards activities that move the needle for your organization.
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