Now you’ve got buy-in from your key stakeholders, it’s time to set about planning the specifics of your innovation management programme. This is no small feat. Even if you already have an idea of what it’s going to look like, integrating innovation systems with your existing processes can be trickier than it seems. There are several major considerations which, if not implemented correctly, can capsize your chances of a profitable programme.
Fortunately, Idea Drop has navigated these waters time and again. Let’s discuss the key elements to think about when planning your innovation management process.
1. Idea management
New ideas drive innovation. This is unassailable. Where those ideas come from, however, is a matter for you to decide. We’ve discussed before the difference between bottom-up innovation, top-down innovation and blended structures and how they can affect your results. Now is the time to choose between these systems and decide who is going to be generating your ideas. Blended platforms will always give you the most flexibility in sourcing your ideas, so we recommend taking a look at those as the first step into your innovation management process.
Idea management doesn’t end there, however. You’ll need a system that allows you to sort, track and rank ideas as well as collect them. Everything from brainstorming processes to validation needs to have a specific place in your process. Digital tools like Idea Drop can help you manage this process on a large scale, whether you’re sourcing from a tight-knit team of innovation experts or your entire workforce.
2. Fast-tracking the green light
Once an idea has been validated, the real challenge begins. Stakeholders external to your platform will most likely be the ones to make or break ideas. When a project is in its early stages, long waits can kill momentum and leave your programme in limbo. That’s why you need an efficient system for managing and fast-tracking buy-in from the right people.
Implement a separate process that allows you to get proposals in front of stakeholders fast. That could take the form of a digital system, a weekly catch up, a daily email – whatever works best for your team. Just remember that stakeholders will need to be carefully briefed on the importance of the new system.
3. Development solutions
Just as buy-in can be a bottleneck for your idea, so too can the development phase. Some projects are so small or simple that they won’t require much in the way of development. All you need to do is tweak an existing system. Others, however, may require their own tools and architecture, whether that’s a piece of software, a new technology or a newly designed business process.
For a quick, successful project, you’re going to need rapid access to the resources required to build these platforms as soon as your proposal is signed off. Think in advance how you’re going to get the required assets. External agencies are great for this sort of on-demand work, as they are less likely to be clogged up with BAU projects than your in-house teams.
4. Implementation management
Implementation is the most challenging step of all. It’s also usually the one where innovation programmes come unstuck. The way you action your ideas will depend entirely on the nature of your innovation project. Implementation methods are likely to vary between projects, too, which makes it quite tricky to plan for. However, a thorough understanding of the challenges your programme is likely to tackle could give you some clues as to how you can systematise.
If you’re struggling with this, start by identifying potential roadblocks to implementation. Once you know what these are, you can create systems that help you avoid them and scale your project rapidly.
5. Support for the future
Your innovation management process should be built to stand the test of time. To do this, it will need to evolve with all sorts of new challenges and always fit in with a changing organisation. If you plan on using a third-party tool or innovation management software, make sure they have a strong reputation for consultancy and customer support. Further down the line, you may need to change the way it integrates with your existing teams and systems. A strong support team is essential for making this happen without costing you a fortune.
Planning these five crucial steps in the innovation management process into your programme plan will enable your platform to rapidly select and adopt new ideas. By moving quickly from ideation to implementation, you increase your chances of netting yourself a strong ROI on your new projects.