Corporate innovation is an elusive yet imperative term that reverberates at the core of Fortune 1000 companies today. Take a look around. Samsung recently announced record-setting data transfer harnessing the power of AI and 5G to shape the future of connectivity. Mizuho partnered with MyndYou to commercialize a technology to better the lives of those with dementia. Philip Morris initiated the “self-disruptive business model” by investing billions in a smoke-free future and empowering employees to drive the solution.
Innovation, whether it be incremental or disruptive, determines whether a corporation thrives or dies. PwC reported that 97% of CEOS agree that innovation is mission critical, but only 6% are satisfied with their current initiatives. With these types of numbers, it is vital to track digital transformation efforts with KPIs, including ROI, and, the newly coined, return on failure. Additionally, before an organization builds an innovation strategy, it is wise to assess where the company lies in terms of innovation maturity. You wouldn’t run a marathon before evaluating your current fitness performance to form an appropriate training schedule, would you?
In part I of this series, we will identify the first group within the innovation maturity model: The Early Innovator. This deep dive will include key questions, challenges, and opportunity areas to grow business.
[Ready to assess your organization's innovation maturity and receive customized recommendations? Get your Innovation Benchmarking Brief now].
Kickstart Your Corporate Innovation Efforts
Innovation Maturity Stage I: Early Innovator
Corporations beginning the innovation journey have likely stayed hyper-focused on perfecting current business models and are unaware — or ignoring — technological advancement.
Early innovators focus on the core business, which has enabled the company to grow into what it is today. However, this must evolve. John Chambers said it best in Connecting the Dots, "Companies don't go out of business for doing the wrong thing, they go out of business for doing the right thing too long.”
Organizations early-on in their innovation journey face a range of challenges, including:
- Heavy focus on iterative innovation (i.e., enhancements to existing products and services)
- C-suite and upper management are skeptical about what success new initiatives could bring, and instead focus on perfecting current business models
- Decisions made on an inside-out perspective vs. an outside-in perspective
Although it may seem daunting, there are several solutions early innovators can implement. To start, you must have a thorough understanding of your organization’s current state, from an internal and external perspective.
Start with a deep-dive into your consumer behaviors and demands. If B2B, take a look at how this is impacting your B2C customers. Learn how you may need to adapt to meet their business demands to ensure you are always their partner of choice.
Analyze industry trends from the last 12 - 24 months. What has changed? Follow up with these questions:
Key Innovation Questions
- What are the causes of these changes? How do you know?
- What new industries and/or companies are popping up, taking over market share, or muscling out older companies?
- What shifts in consumer preferences are causing new technologies to gain market share?
You must determine why your organization is in innovation denial. Why is your organization complacent with its current state? Analyze and address the source of this problem.
Key Innovation Questions:
- Are the C-Suite and Board so myopically focused on the core business that they are not looking ahead to the future?
- Is your culture one of complacency, reactivity, and groupthink?
- Does your organization lack incentives for curious out-of-the-box thinking?
- Is risk-taking tolerated? Are employees encouraged to try new things, even if they fail?
Assess and Grow Your Corporate Innovation Initiatives
Technology is only speeding up. It is changing the way we interact, communicate, eat, workout, sleep, purchase, date — nowadays, there are very few aspects of our lives that are not impacted by digital transformation.
Corporations are empowered, now more than ever, to embrace an innovative mindset and evolve alongside technology. Sometimes, the toughest part of the innovation journey is simply getting started — figuring out where you land on the maturity roadmap, and what you can do today to improve your processes. This is what prompted the team of innovation experts at RocketSpace to create a useful tool for organizations to understand and improve their innovation systems. Receive customized recommendations in the RocketSpace Innovation Benchmarking Brief.