It is a fairly generalized fact to believe that innovation starts with “ideas”. According to this hypothesis, ideas are first raised and then become innovations. Therefore, it is assumed that a structured innovation process begins with the generation of ideas.
The thing must come from tradition and that research, both scientific and technological, was based on “discoveries”, in a way based on chance, and also on individual genius. In a way, maybe we’re confusing innovation with creativity.
But the practical work in innovation processes shows us that we could be years and years producing ideas, selecting among them, turning some into projects and developing these projects until obtaining results without success. A precious consumption of time and resources.
With this we would realize that perhaps this is not the way in which innovation occurs in reality, nor that it is an effective guide to how it should be managed.
Experience shows that the most successful companies with the most innovative continuity tend to be those that start from a strategic perspective. That is, identifying first and in accordance with their own vision, their strategic objectives, key trends in society and technological development, to define their future opportunities.
On them, assess their possibilities, develop detailed benefit / risk models, and within the uncertainty of innovative development, focus on those ideas that can best achieve the strategic objectives.
This would show “possible innovation areas” that already specify what kind of ideas should work and set possible investments in innovation.
That is, innovation would really begin in the strategic capacity to anticipate changes and opportunities, and to develop “specific areas” to generate ideas. More than a pure and hard generation of ideas.
Permanent or eventual innovation
At this point I would like to distinguish between sporadic or eventual innovation and permanent innovation.
In the first case it may be closer to a process that comes from an initial idea and is used to start a new business model. Normally we would talk about a ‘startup’ or a small company. The generation of ideas and their selection and filtering would in these cases be the appropriate model.
On the other hand, in larger companies, permanent innovation is more necessary, in order to maintain its leadership, continuously innovating and what is more difficult, with success.
Permanent innovation is a continuous process of innovation, a matter of strategy, method and habit.
Organizations that adopt innovation as a core value, practice innovation with a proven methodology and produce innovations with consistent results.
The permanent innovation is, therefore, a human and strategic process, beyond the purely technological, and excellence is achieved through the proper repetition of the correct methods.
The concept of permanent innovation can be surprising at the beginning or even seem a contradiction. Doing something continuously and with method implies stability and a certain absence of change, while the concept of innovation is associated with change and novelty. The combination of the two, however, produces an important synthesis:
It’s the practice of innovation not as an occasional event, but as a repetition, a process of creation of value and organizational adaptation. And even in the ‘startups’, or in the cases of companies that are born from an innovative idea or those that take advantage of a good idea at an opportune moment, there could be a strategic decision in the field, the sector, model or market niche. on which you aspire to influence.
Testing innovation process
Since April 2013, we have on this website a basic evaluation tool to measure the management of innovation and the ability to innovate of companies and organizations.
The results are presented in the 6 or 12 areas that we considered important for the success of the innovation process and the creation of an innovative culture.
The tool consists of a questionnaire with 50 questions, presented in 5 tables with 10 questions related to 5 areas: Management, Marketing and sales, Research and Development, processes and measures and the work environment.
From this evaluation tool we have extracted two questionnaires with the questions that measure the areas we are talking about:
- Vision and strategy
- Generate ideas and concepts; filter and select
You can respond to both lists and assess the specific case of your organization. It is important to bear in mind that in the two questionnaires we refer to companies that practice or want to practice permanent innovation. It does not apply in cases of sporadic or eventual innovation.
Questionnaire 1.- Vision and strategy
The results value the average obtained in the questions, considering a score of 3.5 as good, 4.5 excellent and less than 2.5 as need improvement.
Questionnaire 2.- Ideas
About generating ideas and concepts:
About filtering and selecting:
The results obtained can be compared with those that result from performing the complete test. In addition, an action plan can be prepared by reviewing the questions with the lowest score.