In the Moment

Debunking Innovation Excuses #3: We don’t have time to innovate

Erika Bailey

Welcome to part #3 of our series “Debunking Innovation Excuses”– about the things we tell ourselves that may be holding us back from business success in an rapidly evolving future. This week’s instalment is all about time: “We don’t have time to innovate”. We hear this a lot with clients who are struggling to get into innovation work and would like to counter that with “you don’t have time NOT to innovate.”

In today’s world, no organization, no matter how successful, is safe from disruption by new players.

Langdon Morris has a good way of explaining this (see image below). The black line indicates where your organization needs to go. The grey shows how revenue from your current offering will eventually burn down… the inevitable change in how relevant your products or services are in the marketplace. Even highly successful products and services will likely experience this. It is so easy to sit on success and forget that creating new offerings for the future (which is approaching faster than you may think) is no longer optional, but essential. The dotted line gives us a reminder that assuming our revenue will stay static with a current offering of products and services is folly.

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Source: Langdon Morris, The Innovation Master Plan 

So this brings us to the focus of this post: time to innovate. Our work with clients has shown us that that side of the desk innovation is a red flag for innovation failure. Seriously. Side of the desk work rarely gets done, misses deadlines, and doesn’t receive leadership support with resources to accomplish the work. Continuing to stress the importance of innovation and then not following up with the needed time to accomplish these goals also has the potential to create a distrust of all innovation work as “just talk” or “another distracting side project”. Bringing compelling messaging to your people about the importance of innovation while investing in a solid innovation process has the potential to build your innovation culture and capability. And… that approach takes time.

In order to make leaps toward that targeted growth trajectory, the innovation work has to move into the centre of the desk for a core group of people. A well-designed team can be one of the best ways to set your innovation projects up right: with time, resources, and a group of cross-functional and capable innovators who can get the job done.

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Download the Innovation Project Team Structure on our Resources page. 

The team pictured above is ideal, led by 2 or 3 skilled innovation leaders specializing in design, business and technology. These folks are surrounded by the functional leads who are skilled innovation or product/service design professionals with specific functional knowledge critical to the innovation work. That core team is focused squarely on the needs of the customer, and are dedicated full-time to the business of innovating.

The game-changer for many will be the shift in mindset from innovation as a line item on a strategic plan to a business activity that is thriving and active at all times. In today’s world (and tomorrow’s), no organization, no matter how successful, is safe from disruption by new players. Now, isn’t a proactive approach to remaining relevant and reaching those growth trajectory goals worth your time?

Find out more about what a solid innovation framework looks like, and how to set your innovation projects up for success by attending our next Innovation Project Challenge webinar.  Join us on January 19th, 2017. 

 

This piece was also posted on medium.com. Check out The Moment’s publication here. 

 

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