Innovation functions play an integral part in most organisations. When they are setup and run appropriately, innovation improves every aspect of what we do. Three key pillars to achieve a sustainable innovation function are:
Developing the right leadership and culture
The most critical aspect to creating a successful innovation function is to adopt empowering practices right across the organisation. Starting at the top, these practices need to be embedded into the culture of the organisation. Empowerment includes:
Whilst most organisations have innovation as one of their strategic priorities, the lack of knowing “how” to deliver it tends to slow down results. The second and third pillars provide insights on ways to address that.
Integrating the innovation function and its operating model effectively
It is critical that the “ship’s” integral parts move together towards the desired destination. Integration between the innovation function with other business functions such as finance, human resources, communications, etc needs to be designed, developed, tested, operationalised and adjusted as these functions evolve. There are several models that can be adopted so performing an initial assessment of the organisation is critical to ensure the right model is selected. The assessment should include reviewing the:
Building capability and capacity
Starting from a clear strategy definition, it is critical to allocate the right people with the right skillset, establish a light operating model and equip the innovation function with the required technology. These seem to be straightforward suggestions however in practice it is easy for organisations to underestimate the level of commitment that needs to be applied. Organisations that do innovation well are those where the leadership commits to dedicating the time and resources required to allow teams to focus on innovation without being distracted or overburdened with routine or other tasks.
Leadership and culture is the most important pillar of building an innovation function. In successful organisations the leadership is brave, it empowers its people, commits dedicated time and resources and embraces failing fast. Leadership also recognise that there is not a one size fits all model for delivering a sustainable innovation function. Therefore, organisations should choose the model that best fits and then adjust over time to align to their business strategy.
At Daintta we help organisations deliver successful innovation functions. If you are interested to find out more about how we can help your organisation please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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