So, what is all the buzz surrounding Corporate Innovation? Why do corporates invest large amounts of money behind a dedicated R&D setup and Innovation division? The simple thought that drives it is ‘What new can you offer to your customers?’. But this does not restrict innovation to improve the product or service only. Innovation can also help develop better internal processes, improved production methods, or even a renewed business model.
Having said that, it is also important to evaluate thoroughly if you are actually ready to be a part of this trend. Many companies fail to achieve successful results out of this journey. Reasons may vary depending upon the company and the situation in which it was running its innovation program. It is easy to start off with your innovation journey, the difficult part is to sustain the efforts in the right direction for a long period. R&D and Innovation Programs do not work as short-term plans. You must understand the realistic timelines and thoroughly assess whether your organization is competent enough to host an innovation carnival.
Here’s how you can decide whether your organization is ready?
Lean Organizational Structure
Does your organization follow the lean structure instead of the traditional management hierarchy? If so, then your company may hit it off with the idea of innovation really well. Since the lean structure is customer-centric and open for change and innovation, your team will be an active part of the process and be active contributors.
Willingness to Accept Change
A corporate innovation program is a two-way street. Despite discovering a break-through solution for your customers, the lack of acceptance towards the changes within the organization to implement the break-through such as a change in the business model or even technological enhancements will bring you back to square one with your innovation program.
Open & Closed Corporate Innovation
Two heads are always better than one. It is important to welcome ideas and to be willing to work with people from outside the organization. The ultimate goal of implementing corporate innovation is to develop innovative ideas and technologies, irrespective of the place that idea originated from.
KPI for Innovation Management
Do you have your performance indicators defined? Key performance indicators help in evaluating your signs of progress and understanding the lack of competence within the organization. Before proceeding with the innovation program, you must define the KPIs to be able to successfully make the most out of the entire process.
Well-Defined IP Policies
You must always consider defining your IP Policies before investing in R&D and Innovation. In the case of developing indigenous products or services, your IP policies protect the intellectual property developed through your innovation programs. It adds value to your research and must be regularly updated as per the business objectives.
Availability of Infrastructure
Infrastructure plays a very important role in facilitating the execution of corporate innovation programs. Both, soft infrastructure such as cloud platforms, IT resources, etc. as well as physical space and infrastructure to support the program are equally important. Various agencies now facilitate your innovation program in case you lack the necessary infrastructure.
To facilitate R&D, the most obvious requirement that arises is of funds. R&D and Innovation are verticals that do not provide instant returns. They are more of a long-term investment and must be patiently given the space and time to develop a new technology or solution. You must plan accordingly and make sure the funds are not draining you out completely.
Trust and Patience
Corporate Innovation is not an activity that will reap gains instantly. It is a long-term investment that leads to great returns in the future if executed with well-defined processes. In the process, you also have to trust people and believe in their efforts. Nothing can be achieved without having patience until you get to the break-through.
Acceptance of Failure
You must also be prepared to accept failures along the way. Nothing can be guaranteed and it is through research and trial & errors that you reach the desired results. If you as an organization are not ready to face failures, then you must think again before jumping into the process of corporate innovation.
Rather than starting with it and ending up disappointed, go through your internal processes and business ideologies thoroughly and decide whether your company is ready to step into the innovation shoes. Corporate innovation demands money, efforts, and above all, patience. Make sure you tick mark every box mentioned above and then put your efforts in the right direction to develop path-breaking solutions for your clients through R&D and Corporate Innovation Programs.