What are the seven key elements required for successful strategy realization?
Element 2 – The Innovation Process.
In this series of blog posts, we will be examining the seven elements required to not only build a successful strategy, but to ensure that that strategy is successfully put into action.
As discussed previously, these seven core elements are all essential to achieve portfolio success – and we will discuss each in turn in this series of blog posts.
These seven core elements – pictured below as a hub and six surrounding spokes, are not only vital, but more importantly, must all work together to form a cohesive unit. There is a need for a constant feedback loop so that data, information, knowledge, and understanding can flow through and connect the whole process. It is only when all those ingredients are present that real competitive advantage can be achieved.
In our previous post we explored the central hub, Portfolio Management. However, as previously discussed, this is not where the process begins.
It begins with the innovation process. Innovation and delivery are top priorities for every kind of business today. If you are a CEO or run a business unit, you know that innovation can make or break your performance and ability to stay ahead.
Yet, despite there being a huge desire for innovation, recent data suggests that quite the opposite is occurring – most companies do not lack ideas – but they do struggle choosing the right ideas and getting those ideas to market. So how can you ensure that you are identifying the right ideas, and getting them to market quickly and efficiently?
To achieve your product innovation goals you will need a product innovation strategy for your business, and this will determine where you want to focus your R&D efforts, and subsequently focus your hunt for new ideas.
Not only does your strategy define which areas to focus on, it also defines which areas to avoid. This makes your search much more directed and purposeful, and therefore more successful. Always ask yourself, is this idea aligned with our innovation and business strategy?
Also focus on your own business. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How do you differentiate yourself from the competition? What are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses? Where are they winning and losing, and what can you learn from that? It is important to focus your search in large, growing markets and where you can leverage your core competencies.
Look for big problems in your market. These can often come from big shifts and disruption in the areas you are focusing on. These changing markets are great for creating opportunities. Ask yourself, what changes are occurring in our customer’s needs? What opportunities could emerge from these changes? How can we meet their needs in these changing markets? What will deliver the most value to our customers?
Identify potential sources for new ideas. Where do good ideas come from? Are you missing any valuable sources? Not all great ideas will arise from the meeting room. Voice-of-Customer methods are amongst the most popular and are rated the most effective sources of new ideas, constituting the top five best-rated methods for generating breakthrough new product ideas.
Once you’ve sourced your ideas, you must capture them. Capturing ideas in a central repository enables you to evaluate them and evaluate the projects with the greatest commercial potential. Give the idea a name and description. What triggered the idea? What problems does it solve in the market?
Idea Classification and Evaluation.
Once you have captured your ideas, they will need to be classified and evaluated. Which are worthy of your time and money? Which ideas are aligned with your strategy? What benefits will it deliver? What risk factors are there? You need a system in place to capture ideas, evaluate them and rank them. Ensuring you have as much information as possible in a central repository is key to the decision-making process. The more relevant information available, the easier it is to make a decision.
Once ideas have been captured, evaluated, and ranked, a collaborative discussion around these ideas can take place. These discussions are vital to the decision-making process and enable ideas to be prioritized. Which ideas will move forward to become a project? The information that has been previously captured is key to facilitating discussions and ensuring the right decision can be reached.
Coming up with innovative ideas is only half the battle. A major investigation of innovation found that having a system in place to manage your projects and portfolio had the strongest impact on determining the success of a project. So you need a system and a strategy to manage those ideas. This not only ensures that you are choosing the right projects and that these projects are aligned to your strategy and business objectives – but that your innovative ideas can be executed smoothy while delivering value.
This leads us on to the all important Strategy, which we will explore in detail in our next post.
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