Vijay Govindarajan and Jatin Desai published, last September, an interesting article on innovation intent :

Innovation intent answers the question, “What will innovation give me that nothing else will?” It clarifies strategic direction for your innovation focus and efforts.

To help clarify innovation intent, pose these questions to your most senior leaders:

1. How much more cost savings can we squeeze out of our current business? Are the incremental savings worth the time spent by managers?

2. How much more top-line growth can we achieve out of our current business? Is the cost of new-customer acquisition going up?

3. To generate real wealth, how many share-increasing-tactics remain to be tested beyond the ones already tried, such as buy-backs, spin-offs, and other forms of financial engineering?

4. To achieve scale, how many more mergers and acquisitions can be absorbed before altering the business model and losing strategic focus?

5. How different is the business model and the value proposition it offers compared to others in the marketplace?

Innovation intent must be vividly clear for everyone in your organization, especially at the top. The intent must be concise to help drive alignment to business initiatives and must help articulate specific employee behaviors necessary at all levels for an innovation climate to take root. When designed correctly, innovation intent is clearly linked to and driven by the business strategy.

To read the complete article: HBR, September 2013