Friday, October 8, 2010

Innovation is a Process with Art of the Long View

Innovation is a process that is best managed with a long term perspective, not necessarily measured in long time increments (e.g., months, years), but rather in the completion of targeted goals.

This requires separating the innovation process into three implementable stages:1)identification of goals and exploration activities, 2) short-term deliverables and 3)near-term development.

The first stage, identification of goals and exploration activities, defines the course of action and establishes the motivational inspiration for the entire innovation process.

Setting forth a vision for the innovation goal and providing opportunities to explore various solutions enables innovator buy-in to the goal. Once the goal has been identified, the steps that need to be accomplished for success can be prioritized, assigned to stage 2 or stage 3, and executed accordingly.

It is important to realize that stage 2 and stage 3 are not static, and should be routinely reviewed and updated. As goals in stage 2 are completed, some of those in stage 3 move into stage 2 to provide the basis for a new set of measurable results and outcomes.

It is management’s responsibility to assess performance to goals in each stage and to determine when a goal has been completed or moved into a different stage.

By splitting the execution phase into 2 stages, the innovation process is positioned to yield a continuous flow of near term successes, which maintains innovator motivation. Furthermore, if corrections to the initial strategy need to be implemented, they can be done in a timely fashion and at relatively low cost.

It is important to understand that a clear definition of what constitutes innovation is critical to the success of measurement. If we define innovation as "people creating new value and capturing value in a new way ," there are basically three focal points to measure it:

** Past / current innovation performance
** The demonstrated ability to create and capture sustainable and profitable value from innovation
** Future/expected innovation potential
** Effective/efficient innovation capacity
** The activated capacity to realize the firm's full growth and innovation potential

The best wisdom I received as a Venture Capitalist in viewing innovation was to think of innovation like a venture capitalist, drive hard into value proposition, go to market risks, and the quality of the teams' skills and abilities to execute successfully.

I have also learned innovation is all about talent that are smart enough to iterate and learn successfully together working with leadership that have the art of the long view, and patience to keep sustaining the art of practice.

3 comments: said...

100% agree with your thoughts. Defining short term and long term goals is so important in my opinion. Effective post. Thank you.

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Dr. Cindy Gordon said...

APpreciate the comment. Dr. Cindy Gordon CEO Helix

Stu said...

Nice article. As stated so important to set short, medium and long term goals.

Stewart Higgins
Intranet Expert
Intranet Software

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