Think of a small company. People get together to think and dream; they come up with ideas. If funded, those people then turn those ideas into reality and bring products to market. Sounds easy.
We all know that the larger the corporation is, the harder this becomes. One of the reasons it becomes harder is because of imbalance.
There are many kinds of imbalance. One common type of imbalance is that which exists across teams. And yet the issues related to imbalance across teams also exist across larger organizational entities such as departments, divisions, and even business units. Let’s talk about a few examples of imbalance across teams.
Imbalance #1: Some teams are favored above others because of past performance. It is natural to favor a team that performs well and year in year out. However, doing so can bias one to not see the alternative of another team clearly enough. Worse yet, if the alternative team has a history of poor performance, it is even harder to give it due consideration with respect to a high performance team. Human nature is to stick with winners. Yet innovation hides in the strangest of places, so look carefully lest you miss it.
Note: A flavor of this type of imbalance that is even more troublesome occurs with teams that have suddenly had an amazing level of success. Don’t be fooled into thinking they can do it again. One hit wonders (be glad that they exist) abound in innovation.
Portfolio planning and management systems help prevent this balance by bringing neutrality to ranking innovation opportunities across teams. In the innovation dashboard, all teams are equal.
Imbalance #2: Some teams are favored above others because of personal relationships. The old adage “it’s not what you know but who you know” is still alive and well in the minds of many entrepreneurial minded individuals.
Portfolio planning and management systems help prevent this imbalance again by bringing neutrality and raising awareness. In the end, the merit of an innovation will be visible ahead of any personal relationships that might have been behind its getting funded. Fear ye, oh the executive who chooses to make business decisions for personal as opposed to sound business reasons. Once the innovation dashboard is implemented you might be exposed!
Imbalance #3: Some teams are favored above others because of their ability to communicate. Not everyone has the ability to equally sell an idea or to communicate the merits and status of an innovation project. We can let certain segments of the venture capital world continue along paths of funding brilliant spokespersons, but in the corporate world we need to enable our teams to speak equally, and fully, so we can hear all truths.
Good innovation software should do just that.