Correcting Innovation Programs Midstream – The Role of the Executive

Categories: Innovation Insights

From a recent comment to my blog from an innovation strategy manager at a major healthcare company:

I just read your article on Innovation Tools (“How to connect corporate objectives and investment in innovation“). I think you have hit the nail on the head. I have been struggling with our innovation “process” and what exactly the company wants to achieve through innovation. The word is used far too generally and without understanding in my opinion. It dawned on me while working with strategy on our own “2010” that innovation should be a directed tool. I am working now to build a process that ties innovation to one or more main objectives/gaps in the strategic plan.

I wish I had read this article four months ago when I first got started…it would have saved me much frustration! In talking with company rep’s over the last few months I have realized how misdirected innovation is right now and how innovation manifests in many places like “stabs in the dark.”

Thanks for the insight.

Great comment & insight – and my response:

It has become apparent that the majority of companies moving ahead at near full-speed on innovation have not stepped back and thought about what the want to do, what they need do do, why they should do it, who should do it, what tools they should use, and how they will measure success. Often a company will get quite far into an initiative when they realize that they are missinfg these pieces – and it takes a strong innovation leader to shift the direction of a misguided project. If the project direction is not reset, the initiative is doomed to failure (c’est la vie).

The great thing about working in innovation right now for us is that we have incredible conversations at exec level with these firms. The top, top leadership understand and appreciate these issues – it is the mid-level management and junior execs who get worried, and prefer to stick to their plans. No one at senior level wants to sign off on a terrible project. Similarly these audacious goals that execs need to hit don’t disappear just because their innovation project went south.

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