As the competitive landscape continues to change, companies need to continuously think of new ways to stand out from the pack. One effective way to do this is by planning an innovation program. Launching these programs help organizations identify new opportunities, vet ideas, and bring together a diverse group of employees who can collaborate on fresh concepts. But, before launching your innovation program, check out some of the important considerations when designing your program!
5 Tips for Planning Innovation Program
1. Set Clear Objectives
Before you get started with your innovation program, make sure you have clear goals in mind. Why are you investing in innovation? What do you hope to achieve as a result of your innovation program? For example, you might want to increase revenue, reduce costs, improve customer retention rates, or increase employee satisfaction. Your goals can be aligned with your company’s vision and strategic objectives as well as the business challenges you are facing. If you are not sure where to start, try answering these questions:
- What do you want your company to look like in the future?
- Where do you see your company in the next 1–3 years?
- Which trends are impacting your industry?
- What do your consumers really want and what are their pain points?
- Which gaps or problems in your business need to be addressed?
2. Select the Right Type of Innovation Program
Different types of innovation programs will generate different outcomes. You will have to select the right type of innovation program based on your business challenges. Some of the most common innovation programs include:
- Idea Incubation: Idea incubation is a form of open innovation. It involves collaboration with strategic partners, internal teams, and a network of external innovators.
- Idea Management: Idea management comprises collecting and sorting ideas from people across the organization.
- Technology Incubation: Technology incubation deal with testing new technology or system to see if it is worth pursuing further.
- Business Modeling & Strategy: Business modeling and strategy include research and analysis of a marketplace that might lead to new business possibilities.
3. Plan Who Will be Involved
You will have to plan which employees to involve in your innovation program. Some of them are best for ideation, while others are good at decision-making, and there are people who excel at execution. Depending on the type of innovation program you are running, you might need senior-level executives. Or you might need lower-level employees from different departments. You will also have to decide whether you want to involve a broader group of people from your organization. In some cases, a small group of individuals can generate more ideas than a larger group. If you do decide to involve a broader group, figure out how you will involve them and what method you will use to collect ideas.
4. Make a Business Case
When planning an innovation program, you need to establish a method to measure the program’s success. You can do this by creating a business case for your innovation program. A business case is a document that shows the rationale for why a company should invest in a particular initiative. It also outlines the potential benefits and risks associated with an initiative. The business case should include the objectives of your innovation program and how your organization plans to measure its success. You should also include a cost-benefit analysis and a risk assessment to ensure that your innovation program is a worthwhile investment.
5. Define your Innovation Tactics
At this stage, you have planned your innovation program, selected the right process, and chosen the right type of innovation program. You have also made a business case and outlined your goals. Now, you have to define your innovation tactics. You need to plan how to:
- Execute your innovation program
- Engage with the different stakeholders
- Plan resources that you will use to streamline your process
- Use design thinking to generate ideas
Ready to Launch Your Innovation Program?
Just to recap, before you start planning your next big innovation program, it is important to consider a few factors, including:
- Which departments do you want to involve?
- How much is your budget?
- What are your goals?
- Which tools do you plan to use?
- What is the best structure for your program?
You should also ensure that you have an effective communication plan in place so all employees know what is happening during the program and what is expected of them. You should also have a plan for how you are going to collect and analyze the information generated during the program. This can help you identify trends and insights that you can apply to other processes, making them more efficient. Let’s hear from you now — how do you plan your innovation programs? Get in touch & share your tips!