Steps for innovation

Is your organisation ready to be truly innovative?

Despite your best efforts and a proven track record of success, do you sometimes wonder why people don’t understand why innovation is important across all areas? Perhaps it’s because your organisation doesn’t have the capability nor the innovation maturity to perform consistently at this level.

Maybe some sections of your organisation are more innovative than others, and that’s enough to be responsive to your customers and the changing marketplace. Or perhaps it’s not enough, depending on whether your innovation efforts are built on a solid foundation of other complementary business principles. To deliver innovation effectively, a ‘whole of organisation’ approach is needed to understand the strategy, approach, and individuals’ various roles.

In his book, “The Future of Management”, Gary Hamel introduced the concept of an evolving capability. In addition, Darrell Mann’s Systematic Innovation explores why some organisations can get it right while others struggle, no matter what they do. Darrell’s research has evolved into 5 Capability Maturity levels.

The 5 Capability Maturity Levels

Level of innovation maturityType of innovationAsk yourself:
1. Make it better through efficiencyProcess Innovation – (continuous improvement/lean/Six Sigma) focus on reducing variability and waste to optimise the offering.Are we very good at ‘doing things better’, lowering costs and improving performance every day?
2. Make it differentProduct/Service Innovation  – delivering a WOW feature/attribute to your customerAre we very good at introducing new products and services that customers value?
3. Sell differentStrategy/Management Innovation – where the focus is on your business model/the way you go to market/engage your customers and the added value/services that you can deliver because your customers trust you and are prepared to put their hand in their pocket for more value.Are we very good at changing competition rules, changing our business models and where we compete?
4. Work differentLeadership Innovation – where the focus is on being driven by different performance metrics to the classic top-line financial and bottom-line contribution numbers.Are we very good at competing against different metrics than our competitors?
5. Live differentSocietal Innovation– Being a “force for good” and valuing Corporate Social Responsibility for what it really is and not just a feel-good/throwaway line.Are we very good at addressing the opportunities for the whole picture, customers, partners and society?

So what does this mean?

Your Innovation Maturity Level determines your team or organisation’s capability for effectively performing what’s required of that level. It shows you where you should be focussing to gain the most return.

If you are a Level 1 – Process Innovation, your priority should be on Process and doing it better. Concentrate your efforts on Continuous Improvement (Lean/Six Sigma). A whole of organisation approach may sound daunting but is achievable through developing catalysts and an innovation culture.

Likewise, for Level 2 (where you have a solid platform of Level 1), “doing it better” frees up resources to focus on Products and Services. Utilise innovative techniques to make it differently. Champion divergent thinking and processes to be doing the RIGHT things and then doing it RIGHT using your Level 1 foundation.

And so on, progressing through the levels. With each new level built upon the solid foundation of previous levels.

It’s important to stress that there is no right or wrong level. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with being a Level 1 or Level 2. The most important thing is to recognise where you are and do it well. Focus on asking these questions and identifying ways to improve and progress.

Is your team or organisation built on a solid foundation of innovation?

Ask us how Hargraves Team Coaching can help support your team’s innovation capability and maturity.
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