There seems to be a misguided belief that you can never have too many new ideas. We’re not just referring to creative, innovative ideas that lead to the next big trend or change the face of an industry. It could be something simple that enhances customer service.
The difficulty isn’t necessarily coming up with innovative new ideas as much as it is identifying the best one. Choosing the best idea out of dozens is part of what makes a great innovator. Unfortunately, too many organizations don’t always ask the right questions nor have the proper tools, systems, and processes to decide which new ideas are the right ideas.
According to statistics offered by innovation consultants Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff, most successful businesses allocate resources (such as time and money) to three categories of innovation: 70 percent goes to core initiatives, 20 percent to adjacent innovations, and 10 percent to those that are transformational.
In their 2012Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Your Innovation Portfolio,” Nagji and Tuff noted the organizations with the “strongest innovation track records” have three traits in common—direction, balance, and management ability.
Rather than hoping that their future will emerge from a collection of ad hoc, stand-alone efforts that compete with one another for time, money, attention, and prestige, they manage for “total innovation.”
To get it right, companies need five things depending on the type of innovation:
- Talent. Skills required may range from analytical to concept development to understanding market trends.
- Integration. Determining how to integrate new idea with the existing business.
- Funding. Generally funded by the applicable business unit’s P&L.
- Management. Tracking all ongoing initiatives.
- Metrics. Choosing the appropriate measurements—economic vs. noneconomic, external vs. internal.
Implementing innovation goals and processes can lead the organization to growth and competitiveness. However, it requires a willingness to accelerate only the most promising new ideas. Instead of a “sprawling collection of activities,” turn the best new ideas in your organization into reality.