I have always thought that innovation management should be simple. Most of the CEOs I talk to agree with this approach, yet, when we start to dig into their innovation process.....it's a mess. The process is often complicated and owned only by one department, or even worse, one employee. It is often driven by templates, reports and metrics, despite the fact that not two innovation projects are similar.
Since all projects are different, it makes no sense to use the same process for each one. That would be like training for a 100 meter race the same way you would train for a marathon! We all understand the absurdity of that in sports, but for some reason, in business we try to systemize everything.
Returning to innovation management, it’s obvious that we cannot use the same process for a breakthrough technology as we use for a product improvement project. The problem is that most processes are designed with the full blown project in mind, thus inducing a lot of waste into the system.
What if, at the start of a new project, the team leader would define both the scope of the project and the proper process? This would ensure optimum resource usage and adequate process for the challenge.
For instance, for a low risk project, the project team would have more freedom and project management would therefore be leaner. (Of course, this only works if your team members are accountable.) For a riskier project, the team would report more frequently to the management and the project process would be more collaborative.
In short, adapt the process to the challenge you want to tackle instead of forcing a cookie-cutter process on to the challenge.
Triode believes that each company should develop their own innovation process and we are there to support you in the choice of the appropriate tools and processes. We adapt our quote based on your needs!
At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.