Lack of Vision Hampers Innovation
A recent HBR study identified that ‘Lack of Strategy or Vision’ was cited by over 30% of corporate leaders as a big obstacle to innovation. The biggest obstacle identified in this survey was ‘Politics/Turf wars/No alignment,’ with over 50% of leaders citing this as a major challenge to innovation.
In our White Paper on The Innovation Ecosystem, we draw parallels between a clearly articulated Vision for Innovation and alignment (or lack of alignment) around innovation projects. It is vital to articulate the innovation vision and strategy, so that your people are aligned in a clear direction and know where you want them to have impact.
Create a Compelling Strategy which Speaks to your People
One of the most amazing examples of a clearly articulated Innovation Direction we have seen is at Adobe. They have crafted a ‘Table of Strategic Elements’. They have identified their key innovation focus as a business, laying these out in a Periodic Table of Elements which make up their innovation strategy.
However, this isn’t simply a list of focus for innovation. The power lies in what employees can do with this table of elements. In the same way that chemical elements can combine to create new compounds, employees at Adobe are encouraged to clash different elements of this strategy together; and to innovate on new markets, products and opportunities where they intersect.
This means that an employee at Adobe could explore possibilities around, for example, the intersection between social and location, or Big Data and Privacy, or Gamification and Proximity.
Not only does this flexibility provide fertile ground for innovation, but it also communicates the Innovation Vision in a way that resonates well with the target audience – developers and tech-minded people love the idea of taking the periodic table and playing with its elements.
The Vision to Innovation Value Chain
An inspiring vision is an essential part of business success. This vision should then be translated into a business strategy. But you can’t stop there. Your innovation strategy must be aligned to the delivery of your business strategy, and you should be able to articulate clearly for your people how all three are aligned and support each other.
If you want to encourage innovation, and ensure it is directed towards your business goals, create a compelling innovation direction, share it in a way that engages your people and work to build alignment behind it, as you seek to optimise your Innovation Ecosystem.