The fanfare around innovation is focused on new product/service launches. Many of which fail. Do you want some buzz killing statistics? Read Gijs van Wulfen's article Did You Know These Depressing Facts on Innovation?
Shining a Light on a Dangerous Obsession
Having a robust product/services pipeline is a core aspect of innovation governance. You can read more about this here - Governance: A clear pipeline map for product development, governance and project tracked by stage.
So much attention is given to the activity related to product pipeline that it often becomes a dangerous obsession for organizations, creating a key factor in failure. Product innovation doesn't happen in an organizational vacuum.
Innovation's Blurred Lines Provide Opportunity for Success
Innovation emerges from a complex ecosystem of interconnected strategy and effort. Complex though it may be, the interconnectedness of these efforts must be understood. Varied budget and priority must be allocated to each strategic area. All must be included, but will require varied effort and resource commitment.
Our research has shown that there are 12 interconnected innovation-driving strategic action areas (yes, governance/pipeline is one of them) that are needed to build a culture that sustains the climate for innovation. The vast majority of innovation leaders and senior managers aren't aware of these key levers and as a result they are ignored or efforts are out of alignment with innovation fostering strategies.
To help anchor this concept in your mind, the image below does a nice job of illustrating connected effort of varied intensity. Start assessing where your efforts are and you'll spot opportunities to decrease the failure rate.
Innovation isn't Always about Standing out
If you look behind the success of innovation efforts, there are many unsung heroes... the engineer that spots a flaw in the design and corrects it, the administrative assistant that brought a valuable perspective to the project, the customer service rep that picked up on a pattern of complaints and raised the red flag to solve it before it became a disaster. It's this type of behavior that drives a culture of innovation. One that can ebb and flow with the changing tides brought on by market disruptions, world crises or consumer preferences. And, you don't get this culture by obsessing solely on pumping new products into the market place.
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