The Wall Street Journal has ranked Gary Hamel as the world’s most influential business thinker. What does he think about? Innovation. “Most of us understand that innovation is enormously important,” he said. “It's the only insurance against irrelevance. It's the only guarantee of long-term customer loyalty. It's the only strategy for out-performing a dismal economy.” Many business leaders agree with Hamel and stress the importance of innovation, but only a small number back it up by deploying supporting tools such as innovation management software. Here are a few reasons why technology designed to foster and accelerate innovation might be worth your consideration.
Everyone Can Innovate
Too often, people think that innovation is something that happens behind closed doors. We imagine a group of engineers locking themselves in a room with a bunch of pizza and Mountain Dew for a few hours before someone yells, “That’s it!” But this isn’t how innovation (usually) happens. Innovative ideas can come from anyone, in any part of the organization. Innovation isn’t limited to product development, either. It can be applied to processes, services, spending, or selling. Innovation management software can be made widely available to capture ideas wherever they originate.
Progress Requires Process
Transforming a great idea into an accomplishment requires more than talk. Activity must be managed with structured work flow and active notifications. Progress must be tracked and the team kept apprised of next steps. Roadblocks must be identified and resolved and results must be measured. All of this is difficult to achieve without supporting technology, especially for companies that are trying to innovate on several fronts.
The Focus Challenge
One reason that companies fail to innovate is that their attention is directed to the crisis of the day. It is difficult to think about improving products or processes when you are up to your eyeballs in what’s broken. Innovation management software helps enforce focus and discipline when it comes to leveraging opportunities for improvement. It puts each project in the spotlight and makes progress transparent. This helps keep the momentum and ensures that great ideas are pushed all the way to the finish line.
Gary Hamel also said, “The single biggest reason companies fail is that they over invest in what is, as opposed to what might be.” An investment in innovation management software is certainly an investment in what might be and an effective method of embracing the spirit of change that is necessary for growth.