Disruptive Innovation is not a linear process. This is why we need to change a few aspects of the traditional innovation management approach to encourage employees to become intrapreneurs and drive more breakthrough results. We created a short video for you on this topic. Subscribe to our channel as more videos are about to come every 1-2 weeks:
Besides the stage-gate process that is perfect for supporting continuous improvement in a company, we need to adopt more agile techniques that builds on small sprints of design thinking, creativity enhancing techniques and lean startup methods adopted for the company’s innovation culture. A creative solution is subjective, there are at least a million possible great and terrible ways to solve a creative problem - and the real innovators know that. They take time and courage to connect the dots that are ideas and insights, analogies from different departments and industries.
The real innovators know that the ‘dots’ and insights that underpin innovation are driven by the questions we ask, the unique observations we make and the people we involve and inspire.Challenge-based innovation
Our recommendation is to train employees to create innovation challenges that starts from identifying an opportunity as a question, involve people from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and evaluate them together, building on the most promising ideas to become tangible idea concepts, then in small experimentation steps implement the results. Instead of only rewarding people who shared great ideas, recognize and incentivize the innovation challenge owners who bring people together to identify the opportunity and implement the results - this will drive more disruptive innovation as a cultural change.
Because these innovation challenges are neither linear, just like breakthroughs (however the most used the stage-gate process is a more linear process). Breakthrough ideas will continuously change as you go through the Design Thinking Process - that is full of new challenges, questions, discoveries and experimentation in small iterations.
Encouragement, reward and validation
This is why it makes sense to create an alternative innovation competition inside your company:
A 3-month-long or a 6-month-long competition on who can create the innovation challenges with the most impactful outcome is a perfect starting point. The top-level leadership needs to emphasize what is the most important long-term goal on innovation and that employees should look for challenges, problems to solve supporting these topics. Disruptive innovation initiatives are best to be evaluated on the potential impact they would create:
- How it fits into your innovation strategy and long-term goals? And
- How much value would it potentially create for your customers?
The validation of the idea comes after based on business validation, customer validation and technology validation over a longer period of an agile innovation process where the team may experiment and learn week-by-week.
This is how the original idea will evolve sprint by sprint. This challenge-based methodology will create an innovation culture that enables disruptive innovation and breakthrough results, solving the unmet needs of your target customers with a wow-experience for your clients and it will eventually empower you to become a pioneer in the market you operate in.
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