Structuring innovation: a balancing act between short & long term.
Innovation is now commonly regarded as crucial for an organisation’s long-term success in the majority of all industries. Innovations emerge in many forms ranging to smart-home appliances, plant-based meat alternatives, demand-based platform services, augmented reality and more. As shown by some of these examples, innovation offers tremendous opportunities for an organisation’s longevity, if executed correctly.
And exactly ‘executing innovation correctly’ is the most difficult thing for large organisations to do. The pitfall for large organisations is that all their internal systems, processes and behaviors are designed for execution of the day-to-day business, and not for setting up new businesses. As such, without changing these systems, the creative process of innovation cannot flourish as there is no efficient way for innovation become part of the existing systems e.g. the whole organisation.
“It’s like replacing a gas tank with a battery, and expecting the car to become electric, without changing the engine, gearbox and wiring.”
Therefore, organisations need to redefine their structure. On the one hand, they need to maintain all systems, processes and behaviors which they have defined over the course of years to allow for the flawless execution of the current business. On the other hand, organisations need to define new processes and systems that allow innovation to become part of the organisation and merge into the existing parts of the business.
The role for leadership in this is important. Leaders need to manage the expectations of your organisation’s innovation activities, and be able to combine short-term and long-term thinking. Misalignment between the two causes organisations to risk future profitability, risk losing their competitive advantage and/or drowning in the sunk costs of failed innovation projects. Leaders who excel at managing the two, are able to improve the existing business(es) in the short-term while simultaneously developing new business(es) with growth potential for the long term.
Towards predictability: three must-haves.
For leaders to excel at managing the present and future, organisations need to move away from incidental innovations and make it a predictable process. Developing processes allows you to both perform innovation itself more efficiently but also provides clarity for you to measure and showcase the progress of innovation projects to senior management and stakeholders. As such, organisations need to ask themself:
- Processes: Do we have defined innovation processes for innovation teams and a needed governance structure?
- Innovation Teams: Are our innovation teams thinking efficient and customer-centric to allow for better and more vision-aligned innovations?
- Prioritising: Do we know when to prioritise innovation projects or when to drop them?
Through our work with innovation leaders, we’ve recognized that these questions need to be answered with yes in order to guarantee the success of innovation processes.
Curious to know why that is? Read the stories from:
More of an auditory learner?
Listen to our podcast on Innovation Processes – by Arjan Rensma
Processes: building the innovation engine
Arjan Rensma, Former Innovation Driver at DSM talks about the importance of building structured processes for innovation. Why do organisations need to develop innovation processes and why shouldn’t they let innovation roam free? What are the requirements for building such processes?
Shape your own organisation’s processes through our programme
To help organisations to define these processes, support innovation teams and efficiently manage the innovation portfolio, we’ve developed the Module 3: Innovation Processes and Governance Systems programme. The programme is specifically aimed towards innovation-professionals to allow them to take control over the innovation processes within their organisation by combining the latest academic insights with best practices from industry leaders.
A glimpse of our current and past client portfolio:
Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship
The Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship is the leading centre for entrepreneurship in Europe with the mission to embed entrepreneurship into the DNA of people to drive innovation excellence. The Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship is part of the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University Rotterdam. The RSM belongs to the top 1% of business schools world-wide to be awarded the Triple Crown Accreditation, which is awarded by the three largest and most influential school accreditation organisations world-wide. (AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS).
We stimulate entrepreneurial behaviour by using the renowned faculty of the RSM to teach educational courses on Bachelor, Master and MBA level through our various open and customised programmes. Our executive programmes are tailored to helping large organisations increase their level of innovation excellence.