By: Cesar Malacon
As innovation practitioners, few of us would refute that decision-making is one of the biggest progress-halting problems in corporations pursuing innovation as a continuous process. This article introduces a hands-on tool to help innovators, management members and corporate boards to follow a visual, utterly practical method to “consider” (as opposed to evaluate) new projects and their possible implications in their companies’ future. The tool in turn, fosters lean communication and inclusive understanding among diverse participants, claiming that, by following its structure, innovation is not only possible, but repeatable.
Most of us involved in the business and corporate world understand to a certain extent the need to innovate. Sure thing. After all humanity has being doing so since the beginning of our days. How to ignore it.
The truth is, however, that plenty of real life cases and very likely much of the available specialized literature have rooted a strong belief that innovation is complicated. Even worse, that is not for everyone.
Well, if you continue reading you will probably agree with the fact that despite innovation being highly complex, if management had a proper tool to picture any innovation project in a more visual and condensate way, a lot fewer interesting ideas would be killed just at the evaluation stage within corporations. Additionally, the pursuit of those making it to further stages of the innovation process would be at least clearer.
Part of the complexity of innovation as a corporate capability is decision making. Few would refute that decision-making is one of the biggest progress-halting problems in corporations. The problem gets harder as the number of participants involved in the process grows. As if this was not enough the mix of backgrounds and mind-sets in the group adds for complexity. Let alone the dazzling uncertainty hitting executives (un) clear minds. Way too many aspects to be considered.
As mentioned, this article introduces a tool to help innovators, decision makers and corporate boards to follow a visual, utterly practical method to “consider” (as opposed to evaluate) new projects and their possible implications in their companies’ future. The tool in turn, fosters lean communication and inclusive understanding among diverse participants.
The methodology is based on practical experience with corporations, desk-based research and literature review over the last 4 years.
The result is a framework that allows executives to be nimbler amidst our era of rapid organisational, technological and societal change, by providing a means to shape the future while aligning innovation processes – and decisions – with corporate capabilities. Building pertinent business cases results then easier.
Relevant to our times of technological ubiquity and disloyal clients, the proposed framework conveys the understanding that innovation has three different cores and its beginnings not necessarily need to remain solely focused in the consumers, as it seems to be deeply embedded in several sources of innovation literature and professional preachers’ messages.
Google, P&G, Citi Group, Eveon, Burberry
We all know these companies are highly innovative. Fortunately, there is a way to analyse and depict where their innovation forces lie on. By understanding how these companies innovate, we can agree that each one of them is innovative in its own way. Following a structured and visual map such as the HI-Board, allows us to identify our optimal innovation model, depending on where are we standing now as a company, and where we want to go. This means that regardless of the situation, if you follow this method, you can innovate.
Corporate innovators, new product development directors and VP’s, marketing, finance and operations high executives and managing directors. This tool will pull them all together under the same umbrella, fostering open conversations and consensus over uncertain topics.
THE LEADING QUESTION: How can your company innovate repeatedly with less organizational – and functional- conflict?
- Understand what innovator type your company is – where does its biggest capability lie on? Consumer centricity? Process agility? Technological prowess?
- Identify which innovation supporters are required to develop innovative projects more realistically
- Map these elements in the HI-Board, so that you can gauge visually with your team which projects are more likely to be pursued by your company. Get hence, deeper commitment from your people.
This article considers the ways the mentioned companies have achieved success by putting together processes and systems included in the development of the tool, and intends to explain how it works so that you can achieve more.
About the author
Cesar Malacon’s expertise in strategy and innovation development & facilitation has gained him vast international experience in diverse industries. Having lived in North America, The UK, South-East-Asia and Central Asia, he is currently introducing the concept of corporate strategy and innovation in Kazakhstan through the consulting firm Applica Partners, working with corporations and governments. He holds an MBA from The University of Warwick, U.K., and qualifications from the University of Mannheim, Germany. He is an elected member of the council of the Strategic Management Forum, an organization of which he is also a founder member. He researches, practices, writes and teaches business. Life is better with music. And dogs.