Tips for Innovation Strategy

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Disruptive Innovation > Best Practices > Tips for Innovation Strategy

Tips for Innovation Strategy
Pertti Ollila
As a part of corporate success factor development process, we have found a need to build up an "Innovation Strategy". Can anybody give good hints or examples of what to or not to take into consideration?

Innovation Strategy
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Innovation is a dragon with many heads. Did you try typing innovation or innovation strategy in the 12manage Search box at the top-right?
This will give you several useful ideas, depending if you are interested more in how you can establish innovation processes (int / ext), what are mechanisms behind innovation, how you can establish an innovative culture, etc.

Innovation Strategy
Nannette Riddick
I can not give you tips; however I can ask you questions that may stir your imagination to help you find the considerations you need.
What is your firms mission? Value? Where do you see your firm in the future as far as technology goes? How about it's suppliers? What are your firms strengths? Weaknesses? How can your firm improve its performance to enhance value to its target market?
Answer these questions and stir your mind to endless possibilities.

Innovation Strategy Tips
Ceferino Dulay, Jr., Philippines, Member
If you're interested in such areas as new products or major improvements in operations, you have to go back to your firm's vision, values, directions, etc. If you're just interested to make some improvements in your operations, make use of your in-house "experts" not just exhort them to innovate which will not result to anything but get them interested by first giving them a good insight into your business, products and technologies. Then let them try out ideas into improvements but make sure that it's an interdisciplinary team so that all aspects are covered and team discussions more interested as each one is an "expert" in his own field. And make sure to acknowledge their contribution to the company's success after a successful project.

Use Speed and Preparation to Swiftly Overcome the Competition
John D. Ramos, Senior Financial/Business Analyst, United States, Member
I agree you must return to your firms vision to derive not only an innovative strategy but one that links to the business strategy. Once you generate an effective strategy, Sun Tzu states that you must be able to act with blinding speed.
To move with speed does NOT mean that you do things hastily! In reality, speed requires much preparation. Reducing the time it takes your company to make decisions, develop products and service customers is a critical enabler.
Also think through and understand potential competitive reactions to your strategy, this is essential as well.

Innovation as a Core Value
Eric Galvin, CxO / Board, United Kingdom, Member
Innovation is a means, not an end in organisations. At the same time a detailed vision restricts creativity. We need innovation as a core value taking the business to new places.
There are behaviours and systems that inhibit - and in some cases kill - creativity and innovation. These are common to public private and third sector organisations in developed economies. The headlines are:
- Top leader arrogance
- Top down control
- Poor workplace leadership and communications
- Closed minds
- Prejudice
- Accountants
- IT developers
- HR managers
- Complacency
- Obsession with money
- Frequent reorganisations
- A redundancy culture
- Lack of personal contact with customers / service users
... and many more. A 1,000 characters is insufficient to cover them all :-)
A summary of my dissertation dealing with these in a public sector context is available if you contact me.

Innovation Strategy
Alan Kennedy
I agree with Mr. Galvin's comment that innovation is a means and not an end. In my book, The Alpha Strategies, Understanding Strategy, Risk, and Values in Any Organization, I argue that there are eight strategies common to all organizations regardless of whether they are for-profits, not-for-profits, or in the public sector. Innovation is not one of those eight strategies. This is because "innovation" is a synonym for "change", with the implication that change is for the better. Innovation is typically associated with technology but the reality is that all eight strategies of the common framework need to be the focus of innovation. No doubt, this is why @Jaap de Jonge (Editor) states in his reaction "Innovation is a dragon with many heads."
Innovation must focus on at least the eight strategies of the common strategy framework: Business Definition, Risk, Growth, Finances, R&D/Technology, Organization, Marketing, and Service Delivery/Production.

Innovation Strategy
Eric Galvin, CxO / Board, United Kingdom, Member
@Alan Kennedy: I like the 8 core strategies approach. Part of the problem is the word innovation. For me it means changing to something new.
But new for the organisation or totally new?
Too often people describe change as creativity or innovation in a global sense when they mean new for their organisation. Doing something new that nobody else does can give an organisation a real competitive edge.
Change rarely does if it merely a game of "catch up". It keeps you in the game but does not (by definition) put you ahead of the game.

Innovation Strategy does not have to be Totally New
Ceferino Dulay, Jr., Philippines, Member
@Eric Galvin: In my view, when we apply innovation, whether the idea is completely new or not is not so important. What matters is the results.
In fact, innovative ideas are further innovated on when applied somewhere else. And that is the beauty of the process: an innovative idea can result into various applications which can be regarded as actually new. In this age where information is widely disseminated, it is difficult to come by a completely new idea. At most, these were modified ideas that became something new because of the new area where they were applied and modified.

Relevance of Newness of Innovation Strategy
Eric Galvin, CxO / Board, United Kingdom, Member
@Ceferino Dulay, Jr: I agree with the focus on the results of innovation, but not to the extent of saying it does not matter whether the idea is wholly new or merely copying someone else.
From the perspective of both the individual organisation (especially in competitive situations) and the economy as a whole it matters a lot.
The literature is clear. Innovation is seen as doing something new to create a competitive edge. All else is copying which on its own does not enhance the economy (much). It shuffles activity between organisations but that may only be of marginal importance to society - though it may be critical to some firms and their employees.
I do recognise the dynamic that one change can lead to creative thoughts and innovation within the organisation - and this is important.
That said, long run competitiveness depends on creative responses to trends and sound innovation processes to release the potential of novel ideas.

Innovation Strategy
Ceferino Dulay, Jr., Philippines, Member
@Eric Galvin: If you read the next sentence, I mentioned that innovative ideas are further innovated on...
Not all innovations come from original ideas. A lot of them were based on ideas from other innovators which were innovated further and this process of further innovations can continue ad infinitum. This is in contrast to invention which comes from an original idea. Innovation or invention can also happen, not for the purpose of creating a competitive edge but also to open a new area of business, thereby eliminating competition. And this will have an even higher impact on the economy as a whole.

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Rick Mueller

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