Most organizations recognize the importance of innovation in advancing their competitive position or improving their business processes. However, many may not recognize that successful innovation is built on a framework of component functions, each of which is critical to the overall efficacy of the program. These functions, known as innovation framework components, individually define specific characteristics of the program and collectively describe the organization’s posture toward innovation.
One of the most basic elements of the framework, frequently overlooked, is the definition of innovation that the enterprise wishes to adopt or define for itself. This can (and probably should) vary dramatically from enterprise to enterprise. From the foundational definition of “a new idea, method or device” (Webster Dictionary), to “a change that creates a new dimension of performance” (Peter Drucker, leading strategy innovator) or the more action-oriented, simple but meaningful “idea applied” (we like this one a lot), each enterprise needs to create its own definition that is aligned to the objectives that their innovation program is targeting.
But the term’s definition is clearly not enough and is only one of the elements of the overall framework that companies must assess and customize to their individual challenges, objectives, operating model, and culture. Some of the other critical components include:
1. Strategy – Alignment is key
Every enterprise defines its own value chain within the market and develops strategies to execute within that value chain. Innovation plays a role in this strategy and ideally enforces it with contributions that enhance the company’s competitive position or improves its internal effectiveness. The enterprise must target its innovation resources to align with its overall strategy. It needs to communicate clearly its challenges and articulate objectives for the solutions it is seeking, so that enterprise resources can focus on delivering innovation targeting those specific objectives. Within the strategy framework pillar the company has to define success criteria for innovation across time as well as the criteria for idea selection and program governance. Innovation strategy development falls on the shoulders of executive leadership. » Read more: 5 Keys to Innovation Every Business Needs to Succeed