Jim Brown, president of Tech-Clarity, an independent research and consulting firm, spoke to several leading companies about how they create an environment that fosters innovation. Based on his insights he wrote a report on “Creating the Environment to Innovate”. He believes that in order to innovate and benefit from it financially companies must address three critical elements; people, processes, and technology. When people hear this, they are usually concerned that innovation processes are simply bureaucracy – and that it will slow them down. While that may be true, done right innovation processes help guide and streamline innovation execution and help taking informed decisions based on hard facts.
In short the report suggests the following:
- The right people with the right culture sets up freedom and creativity to innovate
- Effective processes guide innovation and ensure that people make decisions based on consistent metrics and operate effectively as a team
- Enabling technology helps streamline processes to improve efficiency and provides transparency to the right information to support facts-based decisions
While all three aspects are equally important the research shows that a strong innovation culture has to put into place first, while processes and technology must be lightweight and flexible to enable but not burden innovators, particularly in early innovation phases. The report also highlights that an innovation culture takes more than just executive sponsorship, it requires a unique culture where people can think differently and be free to innovate.
Based on industry experience and research for this report, Tech-Clarity offers the following recommendations:
- Focus on culture and people for innovation first
- Develop right-sized processes to guide innovators
- Make processes more rigorous later in the innovation lifecycle
- Start small with processes and metrics and improve over time
- Put in place lightweight, flexible software to enable processes without burdening innovators
- Iterate and improve processes and technology over time as the organization learns
Read the full report here