Market trends

The importance of Innovation Management

Joris De Groot

Written on 08 Aug 2022

Joris De Groot
Fail or

In a fast-moving world, your organisation must be prepared for change. In fact, disruptive companies that initiate change themselves are the new market leaders. Disruption seems like a buzzword, but it brings about enormous changes. To illustrate:

The average lifespan of companies in the S&P500 index is falling sharply. According to one study, 50% of listed companies would have disappeared within 10 years. In fact, by 2030, the average lifespan of a company in the S&P500 would be just 5 years. Let that sink in.

Are you ready to give your organisation innovation management skills?

Embedded in your organisation

The key areas you need to address to make your company strong in innovation are as simple as they are hard-wired into your organisation:

  • Competence
  • Structure
  • Culture
  • Strategy

The importance of data

Competence is the combination of people and the right insights. You cannot innovate without having the right insights. The tough competition also makes it necessary to maintain the Agile mindset within short phases, so that the output of your innovation projects is tangible as quickly as possible. Advancing insight takes you into a new process cycle: new data can point to trends that you can capitalise on. The faster you do this compared to your competitors, the more you make the difference.

The importance of people

As a CEO, you can make the difference by investing in people: make sure your new recruits believe in innovation and are not afraid of change. In existing organisations, the best way to tackle resistance to change management is to first work on awareness and belief. You do that by informing people, but also by involving them in positive change processes. Small, tangible things that make a difference in the short term. That is not always easy, because projects that focus on change often do not have a linear course and are usually long-term in nature. So fitting them into your own structure is a necessity.

Hire managers who can put these structures in place, who will facilitate change, not hold it back. Change is good, change is necessary. Managers set the best example themselves, but above all they must encourage change to come from everywhere. Bottom up and top down at the same time, or you will create a forced situation.

The change process

Change management often leads to overuse of all kinds of terms: Agile, Lean, KanBan, Design Thinking, Service Design, The Diamond model...

Don't get me wrong, these methods and techniques have all proven their worth, but they are worthless if you don't make sure everyone understands why they are important, and how they are used. 70% of all change management processes fail, and that is exactly the reason: neither a good understanding of the process nor a good understanding of why something needs to change.

Every organisation is different and therefore has to roll out its own implementation of a change model. If you don't, you are the plaything of your own structure and the change process turns square.

What VS how

One of the most important points that are fundamental to the success of your own Agile organisation is the What Vs How pitfall. Many managers make the mistake of determining how they want a problem to be tackled, or a goal to be achieved. That takes away creative thinking and causes staff to become slaves to an individual mantra. That is wrong. Make sure everyone has a clear idea of the goal (what) and leave the creative process to the implementers. This has the important effect that everyone has the same, clear goal in mind and therefore strives for the same goals and values.

Fail & celebrate

Another ingrained idea in the Belgian mindset: failure is negative. This deep-rooted feeling creates fear. Removing the fear of failure is another crucial factor. Because change processes have short cycles, it is easier to turn failure into success. You take the learnings from one process into the next. After all, some things cannot be predicted. A short turnaround time in combination with a mindset where the desire for results prevails over the fear of failure. So celebrate your successes and do not punish failure.

Driven by 2 types of software

The application of innovative software makes the difference. It is no coincidence that the new world players in recent decades are all technology-driven companies. You know the most famous ones: Tesla, Google, Meta. But also companies in more traditional sectors benefit from proactive innovation management.

They have all done so by applying and developing software solutions:

  • Change management tools that let them work better in an Agile mindset
  • Solutions that respond to the needs of the end-user and are developed using the previous tools

The former allow them to be agile, the latter apply this agility to make the difference with consumers.

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