Successful innovation is not just about getting some smart people in a room, switching on the coffee machine and handing out the whiteboard markers and staying there until the ideas have finished flowing. Having smart people and coffee can certainly help, but true innovation requires more than that. It requires process and methodology supporting the aspirations of transformation. Organisations today are realising that innovation can take many forms and needs more than people, coffee and pens!
McKinsey’s Three Horizons framework introduced in 2000 was seen as a breakthrough, describing innovation on three horizons; continuous innovation to the company’s existing business model, extension of the existing business model into new customers and markets and; the creation of new capabilities and new business to respond to disruptive opportunities. But the flaw was misunderstanding the profound nature of digital transformation and the speed of change. The approach was time bound, suggesting that each horizon has a set period of time assigned to it. For example, continuous innovation ideas had to be implemented with three to six months, whilst new business models happened over a two-year horizon. This time-based definition made sense in the 20th century when new disruptive ideas took years to research, engineer, and deliver. That’s no longer true in the 21st century - and leadership hasn’t gotten the memo.
Time is always our enemy, so a new framework that allows all ideas at all levels to be explored and collaborated on but with a principle of fail fast and fail cheap needs to be employed.
smartcrowds® Innovation Management Framework® does just that. Using techniques that use stimulus in divergent scenarios and embracing gut feel principles, a number of validation processes are used to identify and confirm or remove death threats – the things that would kill the idea immediately if the hypothesis were true. If the death threat findings are true, the idea is quickly dropped, and the next best idea is then selected - and so on until a workable idea is found. Noting that death threats can and should be identified at various stages of the idea evolution. Workable ideas are taken forward to final assessment before project plans and actions are assigned - hopefully to full rollout and profitable outcomes.
If innovation is to help your business grow and improve its competitiveness, it is also important to plan the innovation carefully. Though some ideas may just "fall from the sky" or "come out of the blue", an organisation should also have a strategic vision of how the business and the enterprise should develop using a tried and tested methodology. Removing time bound horizon modelling utilising the Innovation Management Framework® in conjunction with smartcrowds® Enterprise Innovation Management platform will help you turn more ideas into more outcomes, more of the time.