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Part 1: Accelerating the impact of Innovation Campaigns

Part 1: Accelerating the impact of innovation campaigns

Part 1 of 3: Innovation is the core driver to meet critical business needs

In a 2007 McKinsey Quarterly article on “Leadership and Innovation,” the authors made it quite clear that “Innovation is a core driver of growth, performance and valuation.” One thing has changed in the past 10 years: innovation has evolved from being “a” core driver to now being “the” core driver.

That’s quite evident from an examination of global CEO surveys over the past 2 years, and the essential role innovation plays to meet the top CEO challenges. From the Conference Board’s CEO Challenge 2015 (with data from over 900 global executives), KPMG’s Global CEO Report 2016 (with 1,300 global executives), and Gartner’ 2016 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey (400 global executives), these are the top challenges that CEOs say they face today:

  1. Accelerate and sustain business growth
  2. Attract and develop human capital
  3. Enable innovation throughout the entire organization
  4. Focus relentlessly on customers

After those, the Conference Board and KPMG also name:

  1. Achieve operational excellence
  2. Promote sustainability with all stakeholders
  3. Implement disruptive technologies
  4. Develop stronger marketing and branding

CEOs also see the necessity for, and perhaps the inevitability of large-scale, transformative change in just about every facet of their companies. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) describes what this means in their 2015 New CEOs Guide to Transformation: “We define a transformation as a profound change in a company’s strategy, business model, organization, culture, people, or processes… a fundamental reboot that enables a business to achieve a sustainable, quantum improvement in performance, altering the trajectory of its future.”

And that level of change is just what CEOs have begun to carry out, as KPMG further reports:

  • 41% expect to be running significantly transformed companies in 3 years’ time
  • 50% are currently attempting to change their culture
  • 65% are concerned that new entrants are disrupting their business models
  • 72% say the next 3 years will be more critical for their industries than the last 50 years
  • 80% are currently restructuring their organizations or have recently completed that restructuring

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Such “profound change” requires profound levels of innovation. And it leads us to the conclusion that being innovative is the fundamental core capability for responding to key business challenges and addressing top strategic priorities. The reports by the Conference Board and KPMG illuminate some of the specific targets for innovative solutions that can deliver the top CEO priorities. For example:

To transform GROWTH, innovative solutions are needed for:

  • Generating disruptive business models – and responding to competitor disruptions
  • Collaborative growth through partnerships or other “open innovation” relationships
  • Better measures of the tangible and intangible impact and value of innovation
  • Trust-building, ethical accountability, and transparency as fundamental to growth

To transform HUMAN CAPITAL, innovative solutions are needed for:

  • Attracting and developing new talent who are “ready and agile” – including Millennials
  • Creating and managing new knowledge
  • Revitalizing the organization design in terms of networked teams, not silos

To transform CUSTOMER CENTRICITY, innovative solutions are needed for:

  • Co-innovating relevant, new products/services, with customer involvement
  • Using technology to drive change in the way organizations interact with customers
  • Meeting the ethical and “green” expectations of “good consumers”

To transform OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE, innovative solutions are needed for:

  • Digitizing the entire value chain
  • Increasing quality, efficiency, and productivity at all levels

To transform SUSTAINABILITY, innovative solutions are needed for:

  • Developing new levels of relationship with all stakeholders, including activist shareholders
  • Enhancing the portfolio of sustainable products and services

To transform the generation of DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES, innovative solutions are needed for:

  • Keeping up with the newest technologies
  • Improving the effectiveness of R&D

To transform MARKETING AND BRANDING, innovative solutions are needed for:

  • Reshaping sales and marketing, while ensuring that sustainability is part of the brand
  • Communicating transparently and digitally with customers, employees, and stakeholders

But that brings up the question: If CEOs want growth, and innovation drives growth, who drives innovation? The leaders in Product Development? Technology/R&D? Marketing? Operations? Quality? Human Resources? Strategy? Organization Development? Customer Relations? Sustainability? Chief Innovation Officers? All of the above?

The need for innovation is urgent across the entire organization. Even when there is a Chief Innovation Officer with strong CEO support, innovation sponsors are needed in senior leadership positions throughout a company within every function.

To meet the widespread needs and urgencies for innovation, many innovation sponsors are utilizing IT-based platforms that can reach across functions and stakeholders to involve a wide range of people in innovation campaigns (which include “crowdsourcing” and “idea campaigns”). These innovation management platforms are either developed in-house or provided by vendors such as Spigit, BrightIdea, Qmarket, Imaginatik, and Hype Innovation. Internally, they are most often co-sponsored by IT departments and the innovation sponsors who have specific business challenges.

What are the goals of these innovation campaigns, how successful are they overall, and what is the need and opportunity to accelerate their impact on business success?

To address these questions, continue to Part 2: Professional knowledge and motivation: essential, but not sufficient

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William Miller's picture
About the author

William C. Miller, co-founder of Values Centered Innovation, is passionate about integrating emotional intelligence, human values, and mental discipline with our innate capabilities to be innovative.