Business innovation is a hot topic of discussion in management meetings these days. But often the word is thrown around like the latest buzz word looking to receive nods of approval from peers and colleagues. The result is that the meaning becomes more and more diluted and the words rarely translate into actions. However, we do need to continue discussing innovation but with the right meaning and context in order to deliver focused results.
And now is the time to have those meaningful discussions.
None of my inventions came by accident. I see a worthwhile need to be met and I make trial after trial until it comes. What it boils down to is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.
by Mr Thomas Edison
For balance, I need to emphasise that Thomas Edison was a distinguished collaborator and created what he called “teamwork laboratories”. He was convinced that great inventions and new research can best be achieved by working together.
Several perspectives on business innovation
When we talk about business innovation today, there are two perspectives that I find really interesting. First of all, the broad view of business innovation is that it’s not just about the product. Services, processes, organisation and business models are especially relevant. The second perspective is the view of business innovation as the result of a systematic process.
via Microsoft Teams
via Web Interface
Furthermore, behind every successful business innovation there is always hard work. And in organisations, it often starts with a leader that captures the ideas, develops them, assigns resources, and drives them to implementation.
As a result, successful companies have learned that it is unwise to approach innovation without a structured process to support the innovation life-cycle. I am sure many of you have experienced great enthusiasm at the launch of a new innovation jam. A few weeks later, the initial momentum slowly withers away and frustration kicks in, all due to a lack of process.
It’s a cross-border process, not a silo’d one
So if you see business innovation as a systematic process, and accept the idea that it’s not just about traditional research and development but touching all aspects of an organisation’s value creation, then you realise that it’s a cross-border process. A process that requires an innovative and collaborative culture that permeates the entire organisation and surroundings.
In a traditional organisation, it is far from obvious who will lead such a process. Therefore, it is for this reason why we see the new professional role Innovation Leader popping up more and more in the job advertisements. The newly formed non-profit organisation Innovation Leaders describes the role as follows:
An innovation leader is responsible for, or actively contributing to, management and organisation of innovation as well as increased innovation in a company or organisation.
If you work with business innovation management in your organisation, you should consider applying for membership with the Innovation Leaders Association. The more we are together, the bigger the difference we can make.
In conclusion, if you are thinking of starting an innovation programme, or have and its lost all momentum, put together a systematic process to support the programme. It may mean a little extra work in the beginning but it will be worth it and your employees will thank you for it!