Planning a new innovation process or updating a flawed process is a daunting task for many companies. Lately, it seems like more and more companies are investing in the development and execution of a formalized innovation process. It is becoming undeniable that in order for a company to remain competitive in the market, they need a single source of truth for their innovation process. This task sounds overwhelming but the consequences of avoiding the warning signs can ultimately end in disaster. How can you tell whether your company exhibits any of these warning signs? There are many attributes associated with flawed innovation processes. However, here are three of the most common signs to look for within your own organization.
Common signs that your organization is suffering from disconnected innovation processes:
Speaking a Different Language
Having multiple processes within one company can cause confusion and issues with accountability when analyzing the successes and failures within an organization. For example, if each of your business units uses different criteria to determine project success, they will struggle when communicating with one another regarding any aspect of their gate-meetings, idea development, etc. This example of disconnection has the potential to drastically impact the product launch, timing, and ultimately the success of the product. If these business units had a common language with key terms and criteria defined, it would give instant clarification across the organization.
How do you measure success in your organization? If you are measuring success, do you have a common set of metrics that roll-up for one overall data overview? Executives are not getting accurate data because business units are measuring and reporting on different metrics, if at all. There is a high probability that the information received by executives is flawed on some level. Consistent metrics are crucial for an organization’s strategic planning process and resource allocation. To have a formalized process with predetermined metrics helps eliminate error and creates transparency into each part of the organization and most importantly gives executives a high-level view of success from an organizational level.
Accepting or Ignoring Complacency
Choosing to ignore the obvious flaws can be the most detrimental choice of all. For example, let’s say one of your business units has a complex integrated process that is running successfully, getting products to market on-time and on-budget. While another business unit, possibly an acquisition or merger, has no formal process or structured responsibilities with failing projects continue to drain their time and budget for a variety of reasons. Since your company is viewing skewed metrics depending on what the acquired business unit measures when calculating data, you might not even realize the lack of progress and no one holds the second business unit accountable. Hopefully, the business unit with the formal process has the potential to compensate with successful products and revenue so your organization does not miss annual goals. Ideally, take the structured business unit’s process and use it as a template to develop your global process, but that requires accountability and some companies tuck away these problems rather than dealing with them.
Many companies allow each unit to continue using their own process because implementing a global innovation process is overwhelming and will impact the organizational culture. Regardless, your organizational culture is changing now. The question is, do you want to help shape and mold the culture by creating a process that will reinvigorate your employees or sit back and watch the issues grow and hope that your lack of collaboration won’t breed resentment among others in your organization. Your competitors are doing it, regardless of industry, location, size. If you are unable to look within your organization and be honest about the flaws that need to be addressed, you will continue to struggle. Unfortunately innovation waits for no one. The fact is your competitors will begin to see results, their products will begin to launch first, revenue will increase, and eventually they will pass you in the marketplace and leave you behind in a trail of dust.