How to Systematize Innovation at Your Company -part 1-
Today there is no need to convince anyone about the importance of innovation. Most managers realize that in a world where change is not only constant but accelerating, the company ceases to innovate will lag behind its competitors.
Additionally, the economic crisis we are experiencing has reminded us how important it is to innovate to ensure the survival of our businesses. However, although most managers recognize that innovation is important, very few know how to implement it or have it within their top priorities.
In my opinion the question is not whether to innovate or not innovate, because most companies innovate more or less. The challenge now is how do we innovate more rapidly and systematically. In my experience, most Latin American businesses innovate “the spark”. That is, innovation is almost a random act, a spark that jumps from time to time in the minds of certain people, either the business owner or manager visionary. If these people leave the company innovation disappears. Ie innovation is a capability that is managed and systematized in the company to improve competitive advantage.
There are already some leading companies see innovation as critical business process, like sales, finance, human resources, which can be planned, managed and measured. Fortunately, practices and systems to implement innovation as a key capability in the company there. Here’s how to implement a program of innovation in your company, regardless of size having its business.
Align Innovation With Corporate Strategy
Many companies are launched to innovate without having a clear vision of how innovation is going to help improve their competitive advantage. Most of these efforts are seen by staff as “a fad” and end up becoming the “flavor of the month.” To really be effective, innovation must be aligned with the strategic objectives of the company. This is not innovation for innovation, if not to innovate to increase sales or reduce business costs, in summary, improve profitability.
Many companies in innovation are lost for not having a clear innovation strategy. Then start trying to innovate in everything and end up innovating anything. Before starting a process of innovation is very specific and operationally define what innovation is going to mean for the company. It’s very different to innovate in a food company, a bank or a communications company, so that each organization must define what it means to innovate in your industry.
Before any innovation effort is important to define what resources the company is willing to invest in innovation (innovation budget) and figure out what may be the return on that investment. In the end, as I said a bank manager who implemented an innovation program in Central America, “must see innovation as a business itself.”
credit to: Mario Morales
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