Four Tips to Surviving Your Innovation ProjectNovember, 8 2012
Have you ever been asked to come up with something new to grow sales? This is on the agenda of management teams all over the world, and as one of the team’s best innovators you were asked to come up with new ideas. So you do. Then you present it, your team is complimenting your creativity, and then nothing happens. Urgent business takes precedence over your idea, and after a while it’s forgotten.
A recent article on Innovation Management, Gijs Van Wulfen says an innovator’s biggest worry is how to survive innovation projects internally. He goes on to say most organizations that need to innovate have a risk adverse culture which can’t be changed overnight. “Managing innovation has everything to do with managing expectations and reducing risk,” he adds.
Four practical tips to survive your innovation project.
Start With a Concrete Assignment and Make it a Team Effort
When you start with a concrete assignment, it provides direction and manages expectations of your team and top management. Break down the silos of your organization and form a team from all disciplines, including top management. “When every discipline is involved from the start in your innovation team you get a ‘360 degree’ view of things and the new concepts get a lot of father and mothers with a much better chance to survive internally,” says Van Wulfen.
Relevance and Connecting to Customers
Is your project relevant to customers? An innovation project stops short if consumers aren’t willing to buy the resulting product or service readily and enthusiastically. So involve customers at the start of your project. Van Wulfen suggests you use target groups to identify problems and then come up with solutions to solve them.
You only get one chance to present your idea so make a business case for it. Van Wulfen says, not only is it a creative product, but it must comply with regular business criteria. This is a great opportunity to be creative in when you design a strategy that is unique, competitive, and future-looking.
Time is Of the Essence
According to Van Wulfen, innovation projects take 18 months for new services and 36 months for new products. If there is a crisis, management changes, or strategy changes, your project is at risk so focus and deliver as fast as you can, and don’t compromise on its integrity.
For innovators, the real joy of creating novel ideas is when we find creative ways to put them into practice. Often enthusiasm for creative ideas drop after people begin to focus on urgent daily business so try these tips to keep your innovation project on track.
Have you had an innovation project stall? What do you do to keep it going?
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