The secret to innovation is that there is no secret. There is, however, a formula – but by no means is it hidden. Companies that have found the “secret” tend to repeat their innovation success. Innovation is not “magic”; it’s not “rocket science”. Innovation is not the province of a selected few creative guru’s. Innovation has a formula and those who know the formula can repeat it, get good at it and get rewarded for it. The practice of innovation can become a skill and as you build your skill as a team you may find that you have individuals with the special talents needed along your innovation journey.
To start any company needs some basics:
- Strategy Driven – Innovation is the servant of a clearly articulated and communicated strategy for growth. Innovation is not an end in itself. Innovation is a tool for getting somewhere or getting something done. (Check out this little video from Second City Communications)
- A Process – Those who have an agreed to process win more often than those who just wing it. It matters less what the process is and more that there is a process. This means everybody has to know what happens next and what role they must play to make an innovation happen.
- Cross Functional and Team Based – Innovation is not the responsibility of any single department or individual. Innovation touches every part of a company and needs the broadest possible understanding from every component of the value chain, your technologies and capabilities and of course ….
- Customer Focus – Winning companies have an almost slave like devotion to the needs of their customer. They know that their job is to be an important component of their value chain and bring their capability into the service of the end user. They do this through deep understanding and commitment.
There is a lot more that goes into innovation success but these are components that can be learned once you are on the path. Once you learn theses details you can build on what others have found that works and make innovation into a tool to fuel your firm’s success.