Assessing innovation success before you start?

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Posted on May 18, 2017

Now, more than ever, it is continuous technological developments that encourage companies to focus on the innovation of their products and services. This evolution is a given. What’s less certain is whether the desired innovations will materialize quickly and successfully. Speed is the key to making innovation successful. Overextended projects and little appetite for change are factors that block or limit innovation. The best way to achieve results is to make smart choices.

To make innovation a reality, organizations need the kind of creativity that inspires ideas that have a competitive edge – ideas that make a significant difference to customers. But organizations need much more than just brilliant ideas. They also need to make sure that they have the capacity to actually realize their ideas, faster than any competitor. Fantastic ideas that involve a complete overhaul of the organization model or rebuilding half the IT infrastructure may be unachievable.

Deciding which ideas to pursue, which to abandon

Such radical ideas should probably be abandoned. Or maybe not? But how do you decide? How do decision-makers go about making smart strategic choices? The answer lies in assessing which elements of the organizational model would be affected by the innovation and working out how to manage that impact. This makes it so much easier to do the right thing.

In fact, there is actually a solution to these questions and it’s called enterprise architecture. EA helps organizations evaluate the impact and feasibility of strategic choices. It is a fairly new management tool that addresses the structure and operation of an organization: its processes, information sources, organizational aspects, competences and IT systems.

Fit-for-purpose approach saves on costs

Enterprise architects are people who can not only plot the existing situation, but also identify what is needed to realize particular innovation projects. Would it involve process change, new information requirements, organizational adjustments, extra competencies, IT updates? Architects can also suggest innovation frameworks, such as separate project cells that can develop outside existing processes to test drive new ideas. Afterwards, the architects can assess what might be needed to incorporate these isolated projects into the existing organizational landscape.

Beginning with a full analysis is crucial. Otherwise, there is a risk of excessive changes, expensive updates with low impact and overly complex projects. Thinking in terms of fit-for-purpose is another essential element in making smart choices: only change what really needs to be changed, because just 20% of all possible changes will deliver 80% of the results anyway. What’s more, a fit-for-purpose approach is budget-friendly too.

smart choices Read the full article here (b inspired, by Brussels Airlines, issue 21, March 2017).

Assessing innovation success before you start?