Innovation is anticipation and speed is the new currency of business. You are competing for the future and your organization’s future depends on the choices and decisions you make today!
But how are decisions made within the innovation process? What kind of data should be gathered and which insights do you really need to come up with successful innovations and make the right decisions? Furthermore, how are data and insights turned into great ideas and successful products and services? To sum it up: How data-driven is your innovation approach and process?
These are the kind of questions we discuss with our clients on a daily base and that we will elaborate on in a series of articles.
We want to help you to spot the right future opportunities by merging the best of two worlds: open-minded imagination and data-driven objectivity. We build innovative data-driven ‘Sensing Systems’ to inspire focused creativity and facilitate data-driven decision making by providing the right actionable information when you need it.
Before we go deeper into detail, we would like to introduce our innovation beliefs. We assume successful innovation should be built on four key principles:
- holistic innovation understanding and thinking,
- data-driven decision making and idea generation,
- open organizational boundaries and early integration of external stakeholders, and
- lean and agile processes and mindset.
Holistic – Think about business innovation rather than product innovation
Faced with slow growth, commoditization and global competition many CEOs view innovation as critical to corporate success. Still, what exactly is innovation? Despite the fact that everybody sees innovation as key success factor, many companies have a mistakenly narrow view of it. They might see innovation only as synonymous with new product development or traditional research and development. However, in order to develop a successful innovation strategy, companies need to broaden their understanding of innovation and think about business innovation rather than product innovation. Companies need to look for opportunities to innovate in four key dimensions that serve as business anchors: (1) the offerings a company creates, (2) the customers it serves, (3) the processes it employs and (4) the points of presence it uses to take its offerings to market.
Data-Driven – Never start innovation with an idea
We believe in data and its power to drive inspiration and make better decisions. However, while everybody talks about big data and the new opportunities to gather insights from new and huge data sets, the discussion is led by marketing and business intelligence professionals. Innovation management professionals are just beginning to elaborate on data driven innovation as a concept. The majority of discussions and articles are still focused on innovation processes and governance, open innovation and idea generation. While coming up with the right ideas is still a crucial element in innovation, it is still a very small part of the innovation process. More important: it should not be the first step. Only set up ideas that are built on clear problems and opportunities. That is why we say “Never start innovation with an idea”. Ideation sessions and creativity methods are right and useful, but we believe the input of ideation sessions defines the success! The relevance of generated ideas depends strongly on the right insights and inspiration.
Open – Integrate external stakeholders and consumers early and often
In a highly competitive world of widely distributed knowledge, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research. Innovators like P&G, GE, Lego and many more successfully use open innovation to 1) expand the breadth of ideas and know-how to innovate, 2) reduce their time to market and development costs and 3) and minimize their technical and market risks. We believe integrating external stakeholders and consumers early and often is a key element of successful innovation.
Lean & Agile – Create a culture of entrepreneurship and innovate in constant beta mode
Times of rapid change require rapid movement! Big corporations need to learn from start-ups how to become more lean and agile. Start-ups innovate with fewer resources at a quicker pace by applying rapid prototyping and constant testing, and making learning and iteration their priority and thus innovating in constant “Beta Mode”. We believe that big corporations can significantly increase the speed and relevance of their products and services by applying lean start-up principles and processes build around metrics, hypotheses and experiments.
In the upcoming articles we will elaborate on our innovation beliefs, selected methods and cases in greater depth.