Innovating In GoodTimes & In Bad
Lessons rom 12 Global Innovators1
Anticipate. Innovate.Future Think LLC
© 2005–09 Reproduction prohibitedNew York NY
In the current economic climate, the discipline o innovation is taking a dierent orm. Leadingorganizations recognize the importance o investing in their uture to be in a stronger competitive positionin a post-economic crisis world. But what exactly are companies doing to stay ahead o the curve and howare they building their innovation programs to accomplish this?To understand the best practices, tactics, and techniques or driving a successul innovation program,uture
conducted a series o interviews with leaders and practitioners within the eld. The interviewsoer a unique insider’s view into the world o innovation – what makes it work, what holds organizationsback, and what critical advice new innovators need to know to be more successul with innovation overall.To gain a holistic understanding o these best practices, we spoke with a cross-section o innovators atboth corporations and government organizations, within product- and service- driven industries, and at theleadership and practitioner level, globally.What’s the secret to success? Five main themes rom the interviews percolated to the top:
1. The importance o defning innovation.
Nearly every innovator with whom we spoke expressed theundamental need to dene what innovation is in the context o one’s organization and its goals.
2. Embracing ‘innovation inside.’
Given the current state o the economy, innovators are increasinglyocused on quick, inexpensive, low-risk ways to innovate internally. This type o innovation includesoptimizing and streamlining internal processes, dening new customer segments, creating newdistribution channels, or communicating both internally and externally in new and dierent ways.
3. Shiting rom problem-solvers to problem-defners.
In the past, many organizations simply went aterideas and innovation without rst dening the problems these ideas were meant to solve. But now,when resources are tight, organizations are realizing the importance o careully dening problemsrst beore seeking innovative solutions.
4. Role o the innovation team: one size doesn’t ft all.
Each organization we spoke with had somesort o ormal innovation role built in, but the structure and role o this team varied across the board.Some groups were ocused on acilitating and evangelizing innovation across the organization, whileother groups ocused on building ideas and seeing them all the way through to launch.
5. Rewarding is more about ‘how’ than ‘how much.’
When it comes to rewarding and recognizinginnovation, there is no single correct method. Depending on a given organization’s culture, innovationrewards look very dierent.In the ollowing pages, we’ll take a closer look at each o these ndings. We’ll also share some o the adviceour leading innovators had to oer to those who are just embarking on the innovation journey.