4: You fail to get horizontal buy-in
Project management best practices are very clear on the importance of a project sponsor and the steering committee. An experienced project manager will seek senior exec sponsors, to ensure that roadblocks are removed. This means lots and lots of time spent on vertical buy-in. Nevertheless, we tend to forget that in innovation projects – which by definition are multi-disciplinary – require some horizontal buy-in: ensure all project resources believe in the project, and feel that the project is their “baby” too. These will ensure better odds in saving the project from any internal problem.
5: You use traditional KPIs to measure non-traditional KPIs
Traditionally we look at market share as an important KPI. Product development people often hear about ROI. But none of those actually are representative of new markets, new categories, new products which are disruptive. A projects ability to make it to the market depends on how smartly it is measured.
If you are wondering, well, what kind of KPIs CAN you use in innovation – we discussed metrics like “excitement”, “engagement” and “interest generated”. Keep an eye on your early adopters, do they love the idea? Personally, I suggest that engagement is a great driver – instead of looking at the number of ideas, look at the number of comments – does the idea engage your users, does your program keep your users coming back to the site again and again. While we do not have very good non-technological innovation KPIs yet, if your management insists on some, those are better than none.
6: You hold endless update meetings
Use meetings to “make things together”, test ideas, co-design experiences, and veto meetings used for sharing endless updates/status quo which resemble more vanity exercises than added value work sessions. I (and probably you) have been to many, many sessions like these. Show and tell is great, but don’t do it that often.
7: You focus on the technology and forget the business model
Typically internal innovation focuses on technical aspects, and not so much on how to make money with it. Innovation failure probability is higher due to lack of business models, than due to the lack of functional ability. Don’t just build tech for tech sake, or innovate for innovation sake, look to truly build the future of your company. This is why I feel that futurist or foresight thinking is so key to the innovation process.
8: You encourage creativity with no relevancy
Innovation is often associated with out of the box ideas, however many creative ideas fail in the marketplace for the lack of relevancy with customers and consumers. As in point 1 above – make it relevant by involving your customers in the process as soon as you can – preferably before any parts are made or any code is written.