Do you have a plan for innovation?

Do you have an effective process for driving innovation in your organization?

Innovation is the lifeblood of growth in most any company. The ability to creatively generate new ideas, products and ways to increase sales is parmaount to survival in today’s economic environment.

Tidd, Bessant, & Pavitt (2005) describe the processes of innovation as; searching — scanning the external environment for trends and changes; selecting — deciding which opportunities make sense for the organization; implementing — conducting product or service development and executing the market launch against the identified need and; learning — applying knowledge gained from repeatedly cycling through the process.

My experience would be very similar to this. I would characterize the steps as:

-Trend tracking — understanding the external environment and anticipating market and consumer trends.

-Idea generation — developing a range of diverse concepts or thoughts that could potentially deliver against current or projected unmet needs.

-Screening — Applying a set of criteria such as feasibility, market potential, fit with brand equity to pare down the concept list

-Concept development — bringing the most promising concept(s) to life.

-Testing — with live market test or some combination of qualitative or quantitative testing

-Launch — bringing the winning concept(s) or ideas into the market or organization.

-Post launch review — the “learning” phase, where the process is analyzed and opportunities for improvements are identified

It is important to measure the results and process of innovation. At the end of the day, market place success is the most important measurement area for the results of innovation efforts.

Gene Lewis is owner and president of Empower Strategies, a business consulting firm. He can be reached at glewis@empowerstrat.com.