Making Innovation Work
Written by Luisa Gibbons
In some ways, implementing innovation into a business is like eating something the size of an elephant – seemingly impossible at first, but if you plan carefully, cut it up into manageable chunks and look to do it over 12 months, it is no longer impossible, but an opportunity to feed your business (sales) over the long term.
Designing an innovation process for success
1
It all starts with leadership and ambition – innovation is a commercial function of which R&D is one element. Create a common language to unite.
2
Organisational design – ensure you have the structure in place to enable success.

If innovation is vital, give it a seat at the boardroom table
As leader, make it part of every board meeting agenda
Align the senior team behind the structure
Invest in the team – the right people drive the right results
Ensure company KPIs incentivise innovation
3
Conduct a 360 Innovation Audit to assess your innovation capability vs. competition and your customers' expectations. Use this as a start point from which you can measure year-on-year improvement.
4
What is the cost of not innovating? Create the burning platform to further drive the importance of innovating (and risk of not doing so)
5
Create a 'LEAN' virtuous circle, essential to deliver profit! Engage customers from the outset and identify ways to meet their needs (better than the competition). Execute efficiently with technology and plan enablers and you will increase frequency, trust and relevance and of course profit, to reinvest in new insights.
6
Establish a HOW TO GUIDE for your business to ensure you get the process right, get buy in across the business and can reward success. The following principles are at the core of good innovation processes:

Voice of the consumer at the heart of the process
Process created and socialised cross-functionally
Flexible to business needs – capable of evolving
Measurable and accountable – used as key KPIs
Improves ROI on innovation
Well trained and sponsored within the enterprise
7
People Power – create innovation advocates and sponsors and equip them with training and development tools to accelerate change
8
Balancing the plan across your full project portfolio. Prioritise short- and medium-term projects against your key business metrics to get the right balance between ambition and achievable.
9
Measure progress & celebrate success. KPIs should support the objectives of the broader business plan, not just the commercial reward we expect to achieve as a result. Consider metrics such as pipeline length, new markets entered, number of products launched as well as hard commercial metrics – get buy in from stakeholders and reward success.
10
Challenge – Learn – Persist

Two great questions to ask of your activity at regular intervals are:
Are we doing the right project?
Are we doing the project right?
Capitalise on the right people, plans and priorities to unlock potential
If you'd like to read examples of how to develop an innovation process fit for the modern world, Cubo recently published a document that dives into this area and explains it in detail. It is free to download and can be accessed through the button below. Please get in touch by emailing hello@cuboinnovation.com if you have any questions or comments; we'd love to chat to you!
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