The process of innovation is usually more tangible, measurable, and within your control, than most people realize, but that doesn’t mean it just happens on its own. Like any other part of your business, innovation has to be carefully managed.
Here’s our handy guide to the nine most common myths around innovation management…
1. Senior leadership knows the best
They’ve been in the industry for a long, and have proved they have the expertise to run a business. They might even already prioritize 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 they’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 leadership’s role is to oversee the process, not to generate ideas. Remove the pressure to ideate, and put in a tried-and-tested roadmap for successful implementation, and you’ll start to see innovation within your organization flourish.
2. Too many ideas become noise
So you’ve opened up the floor to your entire organization, and now you’re swamped with ideas. You know there’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 you’ve got yourself a system!
3. The best ideas will be obvious
You’re busy, and you need to prioritize, 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 “razzle-dazzle”, and they might require one or two strategic changes in order to truly optimize their potential.
That’s why it’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 won’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 team’s ideas – however small – you’re more likely to solve a problem that’s actually impacting your business.
5. Employees welcome innovation
We might not love dealing with change, but we’re all on board with positive change, right? Unfortunately, innovation doesn’t necessarily always lead to positive change for everyone, particularly if it isn’t implemented with care.
Piloting your ideas is the best way to test how implementation might work in your business. Don’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 on board.
6. You can’t measure innovation
Big or small, ideas are worthless until they’re implemented. Successful innovation management means creating metrics against your business goals that give ideas tangible value.
Innovation may change your business in ways you hadn’t anticipated, but it should also have a tangible, positive goal, established during your pilot stages.
Don’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
It’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 that can look very similar between businesses.
8. Anyone can innovate
Anyone can have a bright idea, but innovation doesn’t just happen. That’s why it’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 don’t work or meet expectations, you’ll soon get a handle on how innovation can sit comfortably within your organization. Don’t think of innovation as risky, think of it as transformative!