Innovation Management Blog

Scaling your innovation efforts

Scaling Innovation Management Software

We've written about how Tata Consulting Services and SAP work with innovation management and with a post from The Future Shapers today, this post has been inspired.

A common theme you'll find in both of the posts above is that there must be a real desire to work with innovation and more importantly, scaling innovation.

To begin with you've got to define what scaling innovation means. Is it engagement or the number of people that you work with? Is it innovation challenges, workshops or crowdsourcing or is it the financial impact it creates? We believe you can pick one or all of these to define scaling your innovation program and we certainly think you should be tracking them all.

There are also other metrics you can use, but like it says on our homepage, outperforming organisations measure returns, so lets use that one for the sake of this post.

Scaling innovation activities

And if you're going to scale your innovation efforts, you need innovation management software. You're not going to scale if you're using Excel and Powerpoint. When that is in place, we can begin.

'Scaling' is often talked about when discussing startups and we think it's a good idea to start acting like a startup if you're going to want to scale up your innovation program.

By all means do something for everyone to begin with and we've written about employee engagement and how to show you're serious, but to scale your innovation program, start with a number that makes year two possible and year one realistic.

It's also worth pointing out that in your first year, you're probably not going to run that many events. But as each year passes you'll run more and more. And innovation is a numbers game.

This is where your platform comes in. If you can run three to five events in the first year and drive outcomes and projections, reward your employees that are helping you become more innovative, that culture of listening and innovating will grow and your employees will want to be part of it.

And you'll be tracking their skills and expertise, you'll be collecting insights and tracking trends. You'll know what you have to do year two. By year five the platform will be defining the type of events and outcomes.

I talk about the platform a lot, I know. But if you put all the information in the right way, it makes it easy for you to get the information out. And as the maturity of your program grows, so will your ability to expand your program and run more events and create more innovative outcomes.

At large companies, incremental change may be one of the best ways to achieve a radical transformation

The above quote was made by Andrew Hill from the Financial Times. What I think he means by this is not only do you have to start small, but it's a catalyst to a different way of working and the outcomes you can expect. In this way, continuously improving what you do and how you work by listening to your employees, instills a trust and openness that shows them you are serious.

So, you've shown desire and you've identified opportunities. By incrementally getting better, you can also track outcomes. Did it reduce the cost or help you avoid a cost or did it create new or increased revenues? You'll get results in your first year, but don't expect miracles.

And in your second year, after engaging with 300 people in your first year, engage with three times that amount by running more events. Work with incremental innovation, but also disruption. By the third year, you'll be working with transformational innovation and using the data and insights you collected in the first year as the vehicle for knowing where you can transform and who can help you do it.

Maybe I should have just posted an image?

Scaling your innovation efforts with innovation management software

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We help organisations work smarter and more efficiently with innovation. We do this as a partner to Brightidea, the global leader in innovation management software.