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Thirteen corporate innovation questions answered

Oh yes! Even more practical answers to practical matters.

Bruno Pešec
Bruno Pešec
6 min read
Thirteen corporate innovation questions answered

As an Innovation Strategy & Governance curator at Innov8rs unconference I help answer many questions regarding corporate innovation. Below are my answers to:

  • How to foster collaboration within the company (innovation hub vs. integration in operational units)?
  • How to lead change so people desire that change?
  • Any tips on how we can accelerate our innovation process?
  • How can we establish a (well functioning!) corporate innovation lab?
  • How do we measure the impact of open innovation initiatives?
  • What metrics should we focus on to measure the performance and potential of our innovations at a program-level and project level?
  • Can you share an example of Innovation Team performance dashboard with key indicators?
  • What is the best methodology for bringing a diverse group of stakeholders together (including potential competitors) to address wicked problems?
  • How do we transition from exploration to exploitation?
  • What obstacles prevent innovation projects from being completed?
  • How can we avoid falling into the trap of delivering innovation training and telling stories at the expense of working on actual innovation projects?
  • Encourage and support innovation from bottom up: is there an easy to understand and deploy framework available for ICs to feel comfortable to innovate?
  • How can we best train people to start their innovation and improvement journey?
This is the last post on questions I've answered in the last six weeks. Check the bottom of this post for links to previous answers. Have a burning question of your own? Write me at bruno@pesec.no.

How to foster collaboration within the company (innovation hub vs. integration in operational units)?

By focusing on shared objectives (e.g. specific customer outcomes) and by adopting a pragmatic stance ("whatever way works best").

How to lead change so people desire that change?

We are social creatures. As a bonus, we are also creatures of habit. Focus your change efforts on the early adopters; start as many (proverbial) fires as you can; amplify the experiences of the first-movers. Don't forget to pay attention to the first followers as well—they are the ones that will drive further proliferation.

Any tips on how we can accelerate our innovation process?

First define what is supposed to be the output of your innovation process. Some organisations limit it to the act of refining and testing an idea, others consider it to stop once the idea is in the market and is about to be scaled, and so on.

Once you have agreed on that you want to focus on having your innovation teams deliver something every week (or every other week, if you must). That something can be an experiment, an assumption clarification, a feature, etc (matched to the maturity of the idea itself).

Third, by instituting a venture board to whom the team presents their decision(s) on a regular cadence, the speed starts taking care of itself.

Do be aware of the following: some might feel that you are "going slower" by doing experiments and tests, and might argue to jump straight into developing and shipping. The latter approach will end up slower in the long run.

How can we establish a (well functioning!) corporate innovation lab?

Few things to consider:

  • It should be tied into a very specific corporate goal with a very clear strategic theme.
  • There should be a clear agenda and objective for the "lab."
  • Funding and governance should be predetermined.
  • What's "in" and "out" should be predetermined, as well as the mechanism for adjusting the same.
  • Teams should be as small as possible.
  • Teams can have a portfolio of ideas, if needed.
  • Support services should be negotiated upfront (e.g. access to legal, finance, procurement, IT, etc).
  • Acceptance criteria should be public / open/ well known.

How do we measure the impact of open innovation initiatives?

You might find the following post useful:

On measuring open innovation
Best practices for different types of open innovation.

What metrics should we focus on to measure the performance and potential of our innovations at a program-level and project level?

Following post might help:

27 innovation metrics you must measure
Systemic challenges require systemic measures.

Can you share an example of Innovation Team performance dashboard with key indicators?

Following posts might help:

How to measure innovation performance
Two types of measures you need to track.
How to hold innovation teams accountable?
Match expectations to the idea maturity level.

What is the best methodology for bringing a diverse group of stakeholders together (including potential competitors) to address wicked problems?

You might find the following paper to be a good start:

How do we transition from exploration to exploitation?

Pure "exploitation" means that the business and operating models had been validated and were profitable for some time. There is no singular handover moment, rather it is an evolution over time (which can easily be between 3 and 7 years). If you have organisation with multiple departments, return customers, and well known growth engines, then you are most likely in the "exploitation" territory.

What obstacles prevent innovation projects from being completed?

You may find the following reading useful:

How can we avoid falling into the trap of delivering innovation training and telling stories at the expense of working on actual innovation projects?

Make actual projects part of your training. For example, if you do a session on business modelling, have teams model their respective idea.

Encourage and support innovation from bottom up: is there an easy to understand and deploy framework available for ICs (or others who are not familiar with innovation) to feel comfortable to innovate?

Keep it simple. Everybody should know (i) what is innovation in your organisation, (ii) what ideas are welcome, and (iii) where and how can they get support for their idea(s).

How can we best train people to start their innovation and improvement journey?

By having them work in real innovation projects.

Previous corporate innovation Q&A

Eight corporate innovation questions answered
Practical answers to practical matters.
Eight more corporate innovation questions answered
More practical answers to practical matters.
Ten more corporate innovation questions answered
Even more practical answers to practical matters.
Five corporate innovation questions answered
Yes, even more practical answers to practical matters.
ConferenceInnovationStrategyLeadershipChangeContinuous ImprovementMetrics

Bruno Pešec

I turn corporate innovation into a viable investment.

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