Tip 1. Before embarking on any innovation journey spend time actually defining what innovation is.
In my experience if you ask 10 different managers you will get 10 different responses. Is innovation new products only or something else?
Defining what innovation is and is not will make it easier to understand and garner greater engagement.
Tip 2. There is no one best or perfect innovation definition.
Whatever makes sense in your organisation given your culture and heritage is right for you.
For example at a government agency I worked with, their definition was: Innovation means challenging the status quo.
Tip 3. How will you measure innovation success?
This is largely a function of what innovation is in your organisation.
If innovation means new products the a key goal might be for example, 30% of revenue should come from new products that are less than 3 years old (3M goal).
Tip 4. Every leadership team needs a Why Innovate Story.
This is a believable, compelling and urgent case for innovation e.g. For many packaged goods companies they have to innovate to offset the threat of house brands.
Innovation involves change and risks so you need to give people a reason why they should start or continue on an innovation journey.
Tip 5. Every leader should have an innovation goal.
If you want leaders to take innovation seriously you need to make innovation as part of their KPI’s otherwise it will always remain a nice to do.
Tip 6. Innovation should be a line item on every manager’s and leaders weekly or monthly staff meeting.
In this way it remains top of mind for all staff and encourages the discussion and sharing of new ideas and behaviours.
Tip 7. For any innovation initiative to take hold and to be sustained it needs to be both good for the business and appeal to individuals self interest. You need to be able to answer the question, what’s in it for me?
Tip 8. There are many different types of innovation e.g. process, product, people, business -model etc.
Innovation is a faster, better way of working and competing. It can apply to everything an organisation does.
Inovation will not work when it is positioned as something extra someone has to do. This becomes a chore after a while particularly if a person or group does not get credit for any innovation work they do.
Tip. 9 The aim of every leaders should be to have more people, being more innovative, more often.
Tip 10. Making innovation part of a set of corporate values pr principles is a valuable start. But what really matters is what people do.
Behaviour trumps intentions every time.
Tip 11. Innovation behaviour has to be role-modelled.
Leaders can only expect others to be innovative when they themselves can demonstrate they have tried something differently.
Tip 12. The innovation process starts with a focused challenge.
It could be a new consumer trend, customer problem, competitive threat or market opportunity.
With limited resources it is important to focus your efforts on a tight challenge.
Tip 13. Innovation can be applied to any activity.
For example I would ask every manager or leader what is one activity they have done last week or month that was innovative (i.e. new, different and potentially valuable)?
Then ask, what were the results and what did you learn? Next share these learnings across the management team.
Tip 14. What is one new thing that you are testing this week or month?
It does not have to be big e.g. it could be a new time to hold a staff meeting.
Tip 15. Who are the innovative brands or companies that you most admire?
What can you borrow, adapt or learn from what they do?