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Three steps to begin defining innovation in your organisation


Leading change can be a challenge for even the most accomplished CEOs. Yet it is a role that innovation managers take on every day.

For many, they are working in organizations where their role is fairly new – and many may have never done this specific role before.

Yet to be successful they must get senior teams and employees to embrace new ideas. So how can they achieve this? Here are three steps to help you start to explain the role of innovation in your organization, and bring people on the journey with you.

1. Create your innovation mission statement

Innovation has different meanings depending on the organization and the people managing it. From creating new products to trialing new project management approaches or methodologies.

This can make innovation difficult to define on a global scale, but creating a clear definition of what innovation means for your business is possible.

Involving the senior teams and employees in this process will help to create a feeling of ownership and get them on board from the beginning. Make sure you begin by talking about what outcomes you’d like to achieve.

Jane Ginnever, founder of Shift Consultancy, agrees: “What companies often miss when looking to drive innovation is the discussion about what outcomes they’re looking for.”

By creating a mission for your team you will always have a shared goal to refer back to and by which to measure success. This will provide clarity and give you a platform to move on to step two.

2. Develop a strategy

Aligning your innovation goals with your company’s organizational strategy will mean senior teams are more likely to buy into what you are trying to achieve.

This is not an easy process and will take time. But it gives you a good basis from which to have meaningful conversations with your senior team and employees and bring them on the journey with you.

“Make sure that what you want to change aligns clearly with your organizational strategy... Then make sure that people throughout the organization understand it. Talk to them and discuss the different types of innovation that are needed”, says Rob Sheffield from innovation consultancy Bluegreen Learning.

As the company evolves your goals and purpose can change, so revisit it regularly and keep senior management and the wider organization involved and up-to-date.

3. Report on success

Now you have a strategy that is linked to your organizational goals, you’re able to highlight exactly how innovation is helping you to achieve these goals.

Chris Potts, an enterprise investment specialist, says: “Make sure people see where innovation has resulted in better contributions to the value that’s needed, at the right speed, with lower risks or resources, and a greater probability of success.

“Concentrate on the innovation ‘sweet spots’ – the high-priority goals that need the most innovative changes. Make sure as many as possible of those changes work, and any doubts about the value of innovation should be a thing of the past.”

Your desired outcomes could be anything from developing a more cost-effective version of your product to improving employee engagement in your organization. Decide which metrics will help you to measure how you are achieving these specific outcomes and continue to test them, tweak them and tell people about your successes!

Get more advice from our team of innovation experts. Download our free innovation blockers report here.

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