Archive for January, 2010

Facets of Innovation

Facets of Innovation

Leading to the Marketplace

Success looks like having an integrated, collaborative, accountable innovation process that leads to a diversified and full pipeline, as repeatable, sustainable, and with speed to concept.

There is a need to establish an approach and process to innovation. Success can also be attained with the presence of dedicated and focused resources including the need for a cross-functional core team. They provide oversight that culls all elements and identify areas and opportunities: marketing, R&D, packaging of consumer insights, claims landscapes, emerging science, previous conducted research/evidence/ideas, discovery/bioactives, health professional insights, global landscape, external marketplace/health trends.

Global Steps in Innovation

Many folks liken the process of innovation to a baseball diamond:

First base – Vision

Second base – Strategy

Third base – Ranking priorities

Home – Alignment of resources: people, places, services.

We need the relevant people who share a common understanding of the vision and the strategy, accept the validity of that direction, and have a passionate commitment to make it work. We also need senior executive leadership support, a comprehensive, adaptable communication plan, a contract for buy-in to goals & direction, a creative focus on the few highest priority initiatives, as well as a governance process for investment (priorities), aligned pay-for-performance metrics, group leadership development, values-based goals, milestones & metrics.

Innovation environments: Conflicts affect performance

Conflict is inevitable in environments in which more than one opinion is need to be successful. Managing conflict is a major component for optimizing innovation environments. Individuals attracted to engineering and the sciences are often not those who know how to cope easily with conflict and often seek to avoid confrontation. Moreover, when conflict occurs individual performance and that of the team are diminished. Two-thirds of perceived performance issues are actually conflict related rather than to actual performance or skills competencies. In the book Crucial Conversations, strategies and processes are presented to identify and resolve conflicts.  Rapid conflict resolution greatly speeds innovation.

Several other observations are notable regarding conflict resolution, performance and the nature of innovation: those that score highly on active constructive behaviors and perceptions of leadership are promotable, potential creativity among team members is ubiquitous, a moment, an attitude, or a belief. The most pertinent point: there is more than one right answer. Sometimes we stop at the first right answer and we need to break our pattern of instant focus by letting the idea percolate. One way: try reframing the idea, change the lens, and triangulate with market needs.