Innovation strategy is a mixture of policy and action designed to create and take to market something new, with the intent of creating value for the recipients (e.g. customers) and organisation (e.g. in terms of profit).
Do you need an innovation strategy? As always, it depends:
- If you are not a large organisation you most likely do not need a separate innovation strategy. Make it a part of your business strategy, and include it in your agenda, but do not spend resources on maintaining a separate strategy.
- If you are a large organisation you most likely can benefit from innovation strategy at the corporate and business level, especially if you are burning money on unrelated innovation initiatives.
I've written a number of practical pieces on how to create and execute your own innovation strategy; here is a selection for your convenience:
- The elusive innovation strategy
- Are we on the same page?
- How to uncover growth opportunities hidden in plain sight
- How to formulate a winning innovation strategy
- How to design a powerful innovation portfolio
Take heed of following caveats:
- If you struggle with formulating and executing your business (or corporate, if group) strategy, then focus on fixing that first. Innovation strategy should serve the business, not the other way around.
- If you push, or "delegate," your innovation strategy too far from where investment decision are made, then you'll immensely struggle when it comes to execution and achieving results.
- Innovation, regardless if it is incremental or radical or disruptive, benefits from cognitive and experiential diversity. When formulating your innovation strategy take care to involve people beyond your regular boardroom lineup.
- Accept that your innovation strategy is a collection of educated guesses that made the most sense at the time you formulated it. As you execute it, make sure to capture the market feedback, and refine it as needed. Timing will depend on your industry, but shouldn't be in years.
- You need only one innovation strategy, but you can deploy an endless number of innovation tactics: internal innovation teams, accelerators, incubators, ideathons and hackathons, innovation challenges; startup partnerships; corporate venturing; using consultants, venture studios, and innovation agencies; establishing own disruptive ventures; etc.
- Your innovation tactics should be grounded in your innovation strategy, not the other way around. They represent your set of coherent actions to overcome your specific issue or achieve your specific objective.
- You don't need software for any of the above.
Take each point to heart, and you will be ahead of the majority of your competitors.