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Innovation Metrics – Part 2

8 08 2008

Continuing the thoughts on metrics from last week! : 

2.    Plan the Path – Now that you have a direction to point your innovation efforts at, it’s time to plan the path to get to that effort.  In the same way that strategy documents are formulated with multiple time points to set milestones for where the company wants to be at 1,3, and 5 years – so should your innovation plan and strategy as to how you’re going to help the company achieve those aims and the contribution the innovation program will make to the company’s strategic aims.

Your innovation pipeline will be led and directed by the strategic context of the program (see step 1 from last week) below, which follows the general form of: 

i) Find and Identify the problems or barriers to achieving the strategic objectives and define each tightly in terms of applicability, feasibility, and commitment to implementation of the solution. Then decide upon the order in which to tackle those problems.

ii) Collect ideas from internal/external sources on how to solve those problems/overcome the barriers, and begin the collaborative process to build those ideas into base concepts, selecting the most effective concepts/solutions for further development.

iii) Build out the selected concepts and begin testing for feasibility, cost constraints, market acceptance, etc – the various tests and building activities carried out in this stage(s) will vary depending on the company, industry, and target of the innovation process. 

iv) Decide upon and begin developing that project through effective project management

v) Launch the developed solution in a limited manner – to one geography, one factory, one business unit, etc – and tightly monitor and control to look for effects and improvements

vi) Redevelop based on insights from the limited launch and Re-launch to a wider audience, usually in stages. 

Underpinning the program are the dual disciplines of Portfolio Management (ensuring that the quality of the pipeline is sufficiently high and sufficiently robust in order to achieve the company goals) and Foundations (ensuring you have the culture, skill set, tools, processes, leadership,  etc to fully enable the innovation process) .  

The pipeline is meant to provide you with a guideline as to the general best practice of a robust innovation program – and you will find that most innovation programs will be able to be overlaid onto this model.  You’ll need to spend time understanding how to translate your overall program strategy, into a comprehensive program that fits your company’s capacity, culture, and aspirations.  Once you have your process set out, you’ll be ready to start sorting out what you’ll need to measure to ensure you’re achieving your aims. 

To be Continued (again 🙂  ) 

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