Monday, March 13, 2006

futurethink's Innovation Tracker Taps 2006'S Best Innovators; Survey Finds Corporate Climate is Key to Successful Innovation:

This is something you have probably read a lot in innovation books and hear at conferences but to have the message again reinforces one of the key ingredient that innovation leaders cite as key for firms wishing to take innovation seriously in that they need to approach innovation as an overall business strategy with direct impact on financial stability and growth. Consequently, they have created an environment (climate) that not only invites but stresses calculated risk taking as standard procedure.

The article goes onto highlight that just focusing on the breakthrough ideas do not make a company innovative. I would agree with this, it makes sense to have a balanced portfolio between the different types of innovation, whether they are breakthrough or incremental in nature, let alone which one or combination of the 20 or more types of innovation we have identified at Imaginatik research.

The most effective innovators were companies that engendered a risk-taking climate and continually worked at it. "Top innovative companies respect the demands of a constantly changing marketplace. What product is selling today can be easily eclipsed by technology and competition come tomorrow (remember the the Sony Walkman?). They understand that innovation is a long term business practice, only as effective as the environment that sustains it."

One respondent put it quite succinctly in reference to Apple "they are on an 'innovation bullet train'. Innovation is integrated into everything they do. Apple has created an environment that expects and rewards risk taking. They depend on sustainable and rapid innovation but to lead in the marketplace". My take-aways from this are sustainable, rapid, reward innovation that is integrated into everything they do. It may seem obvious to some but innovation is a repeatable and sustainable process across an entire organization. Drive it positively, rapidly enough, with reward and it can become exciting and self-fulfilling not only for the individual but the entire company.

The remainder of the article goes on to define what innovation is and that creativity alone doesn't mean you will be innovative. I can't grumble with that. Innovation needs to be focused on achieving value, not only for the company but the consumer. The definition we have at Imaginatik Research states that "innovation is a process of handling new things that deliver value". It is multidimensional and repeatable. This is critical. Whilst innovation produces things, people may think innovatively, it's actually much wider than that and it's about the process delivering time-and-time again across an entire organization innovating in all the many different dimensions and knowing how to manage each of them accordingly as they can require different approaches.

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