Innovation on demand – Yes it works
By Roger La Salle
Invest but don’t waste
Getting a return on your innovation investment is something you must demand otherwise your innovation efforts may well spiral out of control with little to show in the end. Indeed many organizations have realized this and literally disbanded their innovation departments as a waste of money.
But does this apply to innovation?
In any properly run business pressure is applied to deliver outcomes often against demanding KPIs. Sales, production, finance and marketing all operate under such demands so why should an innovation department be any different?
You can’t think under pressure!
The old saying “necessity is the mother of invention” is absolutely true. With that in mind it may follow that outcomes in innovation can be demanded when pressure is properly applied. Think of your innovation department or indeed any of your innovation endeavours as simply a production department with a different product – in this case a product or process that is new or different from something you are already doing.
Of course many new to the game will be pushing back with the tried and true axiom that one cannot be creative under pressure. This is nonsense. History tells the story.
Wars prove it
Probably the greatest spurts in innovation and invention in history driven under extreme pressure and absolute necessity can be seen during any war or major conflict.
The Second World War is a good examples that spawned so many innovation it would be impossible to audit. From vastly improved aircraft, RADAR, proximity triggered cannon shells, communications, miniaturized radios, gun sights and directors. The list is endless and all delivered under enormous pressure. Indeed wars or times of crisis are clear proof that innovations can be delivered under pressure. A major Asian bank for example has come to this realization with a KPI mandated on each Department head that 10% of each successive year’s revenue shall come from new products. They demand this and achieve it, so too should you!
So what’s the message?
Have demanding KPI’s for innovation, just like sales and production. Measure your innovation ROI and be ruthless in demanding outcomes. If it’s not working, then clearly you have the wrong people, the wrong process; or both.
Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast.