We all agree that now the client is who leads the transformation of businesses, from product innovations to service optimization. Any business that doesn’t put the customer at the center of the company strategy is destined to fail. Innovation goes far beyond than just creating products or services differentiated; it is a crucial element to build and reinforce the corporate culture and create growth opportunities. Innovation projects in companies need to have this customer orientation, and the only way to assess it is by implementing 360 management in them. With 360 management methodology in our innovation projects, we will make sure that the customer is at the core of our business.
What is innovation 360 management?
Innovation management refers to how organizations manage their innovation activities, from the diagnosis, definition, and decision, to the final implementation. So, not only what are the innovations we’ve decided to develop but also how we build our innovation projects and our resulting adoption process.
Innovation 360 management is a new and extended trend in innovation management that bets by combining in our innovation programs, five pillars: strategy, intent, people, process, and technology.
In the rapidly changing times that we are living in, innovation is no longer a restricted area for our R&D department. Innovation must be a key piece of our company strategy, and in consequence, part of our corporate culture.
Innovation 360 management step by step
Innovation 360 management requires going through these clear steps in all our innovation projects.
Defining the strategy
Our innovation program needs to be based on a clear plan that should be aligned with our corporate strategy. After a proper diagnosis of the current situation, we need to define what are the objectives of our project and the key results that we will be expecting in each stage of the innovation project development.
This can seem the most complex and creative part, but there are so many techniques we can use to support and boost our idea generation. It's not like we just sit under a tree and we wait for an apple to fall onto our heads. We need to put into practice routines and best practices to create innovation opportunities. Design thinking, product development, opportunity identification, competitive benchmark and, as we said, customer feedback will be the main levers for our innovation projects.
We need to think that the idea generation and innovation, in general, might not only be coming from our internal resources. We can rely on Open Innovation Communities or build Customer Innovation Communities to boost our innovation and align our idea generation with the market and society needs. Depending on our industry, the collaboration with customers and partners may constitute a large percentage of our sources of innovation.
In general, an innovation project is similar to other projects that we develop at our company. The main difference between an innovation project and other company projects lies in the uncertainty that we usually face when we are implementing new things.
In terms of metrics, there are literally hundreds of innovation metrics that can be measured, but all come down to three essential areas: innovation input (what’s going into your innovation pipeline), innovation efficiency (the flow-rate through your pipeline), and innovation outcomes (the measure of your return on innovation).
If we want to make sure that we enjoy the benefits in terms of growth and differentiation that our innovations can bring us, we need to preserve the results of our innovative projects. That’s why we need to identify if our innovation might be subject to a patent and how can we protect it.
Most of the time, the results of our innovation will require some changes inside our organization, or even a complete redefinition of our business model. In any case, we will need to put in place all the resources and strategies to make sure that we successfully manage change inside our corporation, so we are ready to enjoy the outcomes of our innovation programs.
One of the primary outcomes from the innovation apart from the expected result (a new product, an improved process, etc.) will be the knowledge that we generate through the process. It’s critical for us, as a company, to make sure that we keep this knowledge and we spread it wisely inside the corporation, so we empower all our employees by giving them access to this new “knowledge asset” we’ve created.
Why data is key in innovation 360 management
Data gathering and analytics are vital for the success of our innovation 360 management. During the diagnosis phase of our innovation programs, we need to make sure that we can access the right data. However, in many companies, the problem is that it’s not always easy to have the data at the time and in the format needed to create insights from it. That’s why we need to make sure that we gather the data we need, and to manage the data well enough to become the information we need to make the best decisions in terms of innovation.