Evaluation of your innovation capabilities:
Is your current innovation capability effective?
Learn how to evaluate your innovation process to see how well it runs as-is and identify what barriers and roadblocks are holding you back.
Innovation as a capability is essential to be prepared for these uncertain times and capitalise on the new opportunities to come.
All established companies must push themselves outside their comfort zone to remain competitive due to the accelerated evolution of digital technologies and emerging new technologies.
Before embarking on a new innovation journey and initiating (unnecessary) lengthy and costly change processes, an assessment of the current status quo is vital for knowing where you want to go strategically and how to do it.
THE WRONG MEDICINE BEING PRESCRIBED
Quite a few consultants behave like untrained doctors, handing you a prescription in their office before you have even had a chance to reveal your symptoms or before a further examination has been performed. In many cases, people have been prescribed the “wrong medicine” without having received a proper diagnosis. In Innovation contexts, these can be corporate acceleration programs, innovation workshops, startup partnerships, and investments in startup acceleration programs. Sometimes, this results in “staged innovation” or simply failure.
An analogy like this illustrates why we need a full 360-degree review of your existing innovation capabilities before launching new strategies or tactics = an innovation maturity assessment is essential.
HOW DO INNOVATION MATURITY ASSESSMENTS WORK?
Performing an Innovation Maturity Assessment is a straightforward and detailed method to evaluate how well your current innovation practices are working. Essentially, the purpose is to identify innovation challenges and risks that hinder an organisation from reaching its full potential through innovation initiatives. This will help avoid wasting time and money, as well as irritating employees.
When executed properly, it identifies which parts of your innovation management strategy work and where adjustments are needed. Ideally, the assessment will lead to a clear action plan based on a gap analysis.
THE ADVANTAGES OF INNOVATION MATURITY ASSESSMENTS
Identify and eliminate innovation barriers by following a well-defined plan of action
You will receive an objective, in-depth, and detailed assessment of your innovation capability. A clear action plan can be developed to overcome the barriers to innovation.
Time and money can be saved if you understand the status in-depth
The final gap analysis will prevent organizations from merely initiating and executing expensive (and potentially ineffective) innovation strategies and programs without an understanding of what works and what does not.
A decision-making process based on evidence
Opinions are superseded by data. A decision-making process based on evidence starts with insights from within the organization. Data collection assists in designing a program that satisfies the needs of the organization. Generally, each company has a unique set of capabilities, processes, routines, knowledge, and legacy, which is why it is important to tailor a strategy and decide which tactics to use to leverage these unique attributes. It also avoids top-down directives that are uninformed.
WHAT TOPICS SHOULD YOU COVER IN AN INNOVATION MATURITY ASSESSMENT?
- Focus (incremental, adjacent, or disruptive innovation)
- Success criteria properly defined / KPIs
- Governance model. Does it foster or hinder innovation?
- Organisation and ecosystem. Are roles clear?
- Talent, culture, mindset (Are people empowered to try out new ideas? Do we recognise and reward risk-taking? Can people challenge company policy or the decisions of the boss? etc.)
- From idea to execution — is the process effective?
- Current project management practice
- Processes used
- Methods used
- Portfolio evaluation
- Time to Solution analysis
- Cost of failure/learning in the unit of time (basically how many unsuccessful solutions have been launched in a predefined unit of time)
- % of total revenue coming from new products/services
- How effective is our idea generation program? How many ideas are we generating?
- Percentage of ideas implemented (or adopted by various business units) from the total ideas generated
- What resources in terms of people, time, and money are we allocating to innovation?
The criteria can be personalised and extended to other innovation KPIs.
A PROCESS FOR ASSESSING INNOVATION MATURITY
An in-depth quantitative survey focused on five topics – governance, people, leadership, and resources. Respondents are asked what level of agreement they have with a statement.
Result: The goal is to capture as many views from across the company as possible and see if there is a misalignment between how the C-Suite portrays innovation and how it actually takes place every day.
Interviews with senior management to gather their perspectives on innovation capabilities, operations, and results. Interviews with key stakeholders involved in current innovation processes and capabilities to explore issues further.
Result: Identify barriers to innovation and learn why they exist.
After quantitative and qualitative research data have been gathered, we can start to synthesise and cluster insights to identify some of the obstacles to innovation. By doing this, you will be able to identify key factors and obstacles that may hinder your innovation efforts.
Result: Emergent themes and causal mechanisms are discovered that explain why and how innovation is operating as it does.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Define the challenges to address in the next steps. Shape and define your innovation mission (Where you want to go) and work on a clear action plan (stating how you’re going to get there). You can run a set of innovation strategy discovery sessions to develop a hands-on action plan for growth alongside key decision-makers in your organisation.
Result: An actionable plan to execute to tear down innovation barriers.
About the Author
Jason Novobranec is Implementary’s Chief Operating Officer.
With over 20 years of Consulting, Program Management & Senior Leadership experience, Jason has delivered initiatives for large multi-national / multi-regional organisations as well as SME’s and is an expert in shaping solutions to fit a customer’s project needs.