The process of innovation is usually more tangible, measurable and within your control than most people realise, but that doesnâ€™t mean it just happens on its own. Like any other part of your business, innovation has to be carefully managed.
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Hereâ€™s our handy guide to the nine most common myths around innovation management…
1. Senior leadership knows best
Theyâ€™ve been in the industry for longer, and have proved they have the expertise to run a business. They might even already prioritise innovation as a key driver of business growth.
However, research from Mckinsey & Co shows that 65% of leaders are not confident about their decisions when it comes to innovation. And why should they be? While theyâ€™re focused on running a business, most of the time they have very little idea what it actually means to execute their proposition on the ground.
When it comes to innovation, senior leadershipâ€™s role is to oversee the process, not to generate the ideas. Remove the pressure to ideate, and put in a tried-and-tested roadmap for successful implementation, and youâ€™ll start to see innovation within your organisation flourish.
2. Too many ideas become noise
So youâ€™ve opened up the floor to your entire organisation, and now youâ€™re swamped with ideas. You know thereâ€™s gold in there somewhere, but where to begin?
The answer is; by pulling back and assessing your business goals. When you start by defining where you want to go, an endless stream of ideas becomes valuable, not overwhelming. Add an idea management platform, and youâ€™ve got yourself a system!
3. The best ideas will be obvious
Youâ€™re busy, and you need to prioritise, which means making tough decisions about where to focus your energy. You believe that if an idea is truly great, it will rise to the top (and ideally implement itself!).
Unfortunately, the best ideas may not always be full of â€˜razzle dazzleâ€™, and they might require one or two strategic changes in order to truly optimise their potential.
Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s worth investing in creating an innovation management process that makes time and space for great ideas to emerge, and for you to evaluate them fully.
Sure, some ideas wonâ€™t fly, but the ones that do will be more than worth the investment.
4. Great ideas work anywhere
A great idea is a great idea, right? Not always! Only you can know how your team functions.
By all means get inspired by learning about innovative processes from other places, but by starting with your own teamâ€™s ideas – however small – youâ€™re more likely to solve a problem thatâ€™s actually impacting on your business.
5. Employees welcome innovation
We might not love dealing with change, but weâ€™re all onboard with positive change, right? Unfortunately, innovation doesnâ€™t necessarily always lead to positive change for everyone, particularly if it isnâ€™t implemented with care.
Piloting your ideas is the best way to test how implementation might work in your business. Donâ€™t be afraid of testing early and iterating, and take the time to make sure your internal communications are clear and consistent. Staying in close communication with your team throughout the process is the simplest way to ensure that everyone is onboard.
6. You canâ€™t measure innovation
Big or small, ideas are worthless until theyâ€™re implemented. Successful innovation management means creating metrics against your business goals that give ideas a tangible value.
Innovation may change your business in ways you hadnâ€™t anticipated, but it should also have a tangible, positive goal, established during your pilot stages.
Donâ€™t be afraid of putting numbers against ideas – from time to money, service quality and even employee engagement – but remember that great innovation management usually involves staying attentive and agile throughout the implementation process.
7. Every sector innovates differently
Itâ€™s true that every sector faces a unique set of challenges, and that change should start from within. However, the process of collecting, managing and implementing ideas requires a structured system which can look very similar between businesses.
8. Anyone can innovate
Anyone can have a bright idea, but innovation doesnâ€™t just happen. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to make someone – either within your business or an external consultant – accountable for managing change happen.
9. Innovation is risky
Change always comes with inevitable complexities, but with the right mindset, these can become new opportunities.
By considering how your organization plans to implement change and creating a clear implementation roadmap, you can anticipate potential difficulties as you would with any other process. By staying agile, reviewing ideas against their initial business case and KPIs, and killing them quickly if they donâ€™t work or meet expectations, youâ€™ll soon get a handle on how innovation can sit comfortably within your organization. Donâ€™t think of innovation as risky, think of it as transformative!