How do you make the innovation process simpler, more efficient and more successful? I explain
it here using the term “7innovation”, so here is the Method 🙂
“7innovation method” focuses on making the innovation process fast and responsive to short-term goals. What makes this method unique is the recognition of the iterative access with a deep scan of an organization’s capabilities (including internal innovators), as the greatest creativity source of any organization.
Setting up an innovation culture followed by performing innovation contests and/or innovation workshops can be named as the awakening phase. After that, much data is collected and the best innovators (let’s say ‘thinkers’) are selected (Selection). The contest is narrowly and well defined (Contest).
Scanning ideas and using selection criterion in a project’s start phase is the normal part of any innovation process (Decision). After realization, it is essential to include the storytelling phase to positively market the success story.
The starting point or “awakening” part of the process is set to launch initial contest which will “feel the pulse” of the organization and discover innovative persons.
This contest could be about a broad futuristic strategy topic, which could appeal to future innovators to unleash their creativity. The competition would be open to all, and the topic description should be simple and always visible. All entries should be visible as ideas of others could be triggers for new innovations.
At this point, the main goal is to encourage the quantity of ideas, but later on, there will be several decision gates which would filter the best ideas for implementation. As in any innovation process: a successful idea must also generate a success story, which will be the generator of further innovation activities.
To make the “7innovation method” sustainable it is most important to keep innovators informed and able to select the best ideators to be part of the “innovation team”.
The best innovators are not the ones who submit most ideas, but the ones who can “think differently” and present ideas whose quality can be ‘felt’…
This initial phase must be used to learn about the strong and weak parts of the process and about the problems innovators or intrapreneurs have in order to get their idea prototyped or even implemented.
To set up an innovation contest, we’ll first need a topic that is clearly defined. Ideally, this is a “trendy” topic that has the ability to push innovators to engage in the contest. The sales, marketing, the management or customer teams can trigger the new topic in areas that need new ideas from the “innovation team” we have set up. The topic needs to be linked to a good description and customer situation or dilemma. But technical details should be sparse as this could lead innovators into the wrong path. There is no need for details in this phase – general concepts are better.
The ‘contest leader’ must provide quick support to innovators in case of any questions. Transparency is very important – a simple way to do this is to create a place(intranet or web-site) where all submitted ideas are visible so that innovators can be inspired by the ideas of others. Ideas must be explained in terms shortly and understandable.
In this phase, quantity is also needed, so the more ideas we have, the better. Every innovator should know that. The right topic with excellent description + right people in “innovation team” should generate a good quantity of ideas that reflect quality.
When the Innovation Contest is finished with ideas on the table, a new chapter is openly called Evaluation. So, how do you decide which ideas should be eliminated and which should be further elaborated upon? At this point, it is vital to involve right people, so decision-makers, market specialists and innovation/trend spotters should be among the team of evaluators. The criteria could be just “like it”/”don’t like it” or a detailed approach with values 1-5 (or 1-10) for few values as “close to trends”, “alignment with portfolio” or “market need”. Of course, current portfolio must be scanned in a way to see which of submitted proposals could fit it or be the part of some existing portfolio elements. Each idea should have the same chance, and all ideas have to be presented in the same way.
The organization has to know its capabilities and strategy in order to determine the fate of ideas. Only ideas that could be implemented internally should be accepted. After screening and evaluation, the Decision has to be made on which ideas will move forward. The innovator has to be in the centre of this phase even though other colleagues will join this new project.
After setting a budget, the idea will officially become a project and it will be treated as any other similar work in an organization which is going to realization.
After success – the last phase should be sharing the success of this story. Storytelling is very important for sustaining the innovation culture and for the internal marketing of the idea system in an organization.