The word Innovation conjures excitement and the promise of groundbreaking transformation. But it comes with unavoidable companions: uncertainty and risk. Perhaps it's not as dramatic as bear traps and shark-infested waters, but the path to innovation certainly has its risks. In this article, we break down how and when to push the envelope.
Before embarking on your path to innovation, establish the non-negotiables. Consider where you are realistically willing to gamble and what must remain untouched.
In our Discovery process, we ask clients to share their “sacred cows", the things that are off-limits due to legal, financial, or technical constraints.
Innovation can underwhelm when it is seen as the job of one group (or a single person). It creates a pressure cooker of stress and anxiety, and leads to missed opportunities. Good ideas can come from anywhere, so it is important to invite everyone to the table.
Define a process to objectively filter ideas, regardless of their origin, and then determine which filters are best for your organization. Keep in mind, they can be as lightweight as:
Sometimes even the best ideas are met with resistance. Stakeholders may be unwilling to accept the uncertainty associated with an idea because they do not have the right metrics to see the value.
Decision-makers are more likely to buy into an idea when it meets an agreed-upon standard, so ensure your vetting process captures the information they care about. Then, showcase how your innovation aligns with your organization's big-picture goals.
Once an idea makes it through vetting, start gathering your data. Consider what uncertainties still need to be addressed, how confident you need to be at this stage, and how quickly you need answers.
Choose research methods that provide the insights needed to prioritize the idea accordingly and help you move forward confidently. Research can be the x-factor, so use it.
We can often become paralyzed by risk and uncertainty–never moving forward because the thoughts of what could go wrong overshadow the amazing possibilities. But with the right approach and processes in place, the path to innovation isn't so scary. You can see the bear traps and sharks ahead, making it easier to plan for them.
Ready to take the leap? We're here to navigate with you. Whether it's refining ideas, optimizing your approach, or avoiding those snake pits and bear traps, reach out and let's navigate the path together.