Friday, March 26, 2010

10 Ways to Achieve Growth Through Innovation

I read in a nice post on innovation based in an Accenture's research with more than 900 companies in eleven different industries, written by Adi Alon, North American managing director-Accenture’s Innovation Performance Group. Based on this research and analysis, he proposed 10 actions companies in the business technology and other industries examined should consider taking to improve their innovation performance. Below is a summary of his proposed actions:

1 - Conceive of innovation as a business discipline, and then manage and execute it systematically. That means as an end to end, uniform process from insight development to idea generation to development to marketplace launch.

2 - Craft a precise definition of innovation’s role in the overall corporate strategy based on the company’s industry, market, and competitive environment. And specify the types of innovation being sought to build a sustainable competitive position, and the specific value the innovations are expected to generate.

3 - Focus much more time and resources on breakthrough, long-term, game-changing innovation. Spend less time on incremental innovation that yield only short term benefits. Several of the world’s greatest companies have performed exceptionally well by delivering breakthrough innovations based on “big bet” initiatives.

4 - Take more risks, reward failure, and encourage continuous improvement. The fastest and most effective path to breakthrough innovations is to think big and act big. Be bold in your actions and decisions. Create a corporate culture that not only tolerates risks but rewards it. And when employees fail while taking big risks, reward them.

5 - Measure innovation performance and results as you do other business functions such as marketing, strategy and operations. There’s a tendency to keep inconsistent and unusable records about corporate innovation.

6 - Focus on the customer experience and less on technology.

7 - Embrace open innovation and open innovation tools. This means tapping external sources such as universities and corporate start-ups.

8 - Encourage idea generation from everywhere both inside and outside your company. That means from the highest levels of the company to the lowest. Often the most innovative ideas are submitted by junior employees.

9 - Consider appointing a chief innovation officer and setting up a uniformity of command for corporate innovation accountability. Accenture’s research found a direct correlation between the level of successful innovation within companies and the presence of a chief innovation officer (or an executive who has innovation as a major part of their job responsibility).

10 - Have a dedicated budget for innovation. Appointing a chief innovation officer isn’t enough. Too often companies have appointed someone to lead the innovation charge but then ran up against the crippling “who owns the budget?” problem. A dedicated budget is a vital component of successful innovation.

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