From the perspective of many executives, innovation is the key to success. Being on the cutting edge of advancement can transform your company into a leader of your industry. While many companies like to focus on innovation, their CEOs are often skeptical about the return on their investments in talent. Innovation is necessary to maintain a company’s momentum in a given industry. Customers have become conditioned to seeing advancements quickly, especially within technology. To meet that demand, the innovation models of the past must be abandoned for new methods to keep customers satisfied. Innovation managers are caught in the middle. They become frustrated with their teams, and their lag in developing successful and sought-after products or services. Executives need to reassess the innovation processes in place and adapt to the fast moving marketplace we live in today.
Adaptation is vital for every company’s survival. These adaptations can be as simple as shifting your mindset. For example, to benefit your company’s rate of innovation, begin thinking of innovation as a system. Your new innovation system should consist of three vital elements: strategy focused on generating growth and value with innovation; disciplined processes to support research and product development; and tools and capabilities conducive to your innovation. Keep in mind that developing a system will require experimentation to find the most efficient process. Your system will also need to evolve as changes occur throughout your company and industry.
Once you have a system in place, your team will need to focus on speed. After all, the modern marketplace has customers constantly demanding new and improved products and services. Release products quickly to take opportunities from your competitors. This can prevent them from influencing trial results or catching early looks at your new developments. The digital and mobile marketplace that has come about now makes it easier for your company to launch new products using social media and other inexpensive, but far-reaching, resources.
While you’re developing your system, embrace a willingness to fail. Accept failure as part of the process for developing an effective system. In the past, the drawn out development and testing processes we’re so time-consuming because of our own fear of failure. Accelerating your innovation process will make your failures fast and cheap, as long as your team is using their resources efficiently. Efficiency is crucial to eliminating waste created by unsuccessful pursuits. Executives will observe and learn when to cut losses faster. Again, your success is based on your ability to adapt, not only to the market, but to your own team’s abilities.
Innovation creates a significant byproduct in the form of intellectual property. Intellectual property is your offense and defense against your competitors. In the larger scheme of things, you will need to focus on the value generated by your innovation, while protecting and advancing your company’s freedom to operate. Make sure you can manage your intellectual property portfolio to allow access to the IP you need immediately, and may need later down the road. Think about the future while observing the moves of your competitors. Learn to anticipate shifts in innovation trends. Apply speed to your intellectual property processes and file your patent applications in a timely manner. Eliminate waste in this division by focusing on quality, rather than quantity. Innovation is crucial to success, and you should do your best to avoid being left behind.
To read more about innovation here, from The Boston Consulting Group.