We believe that people adapt and thrive through change. When faced with challenges, the most ambitious people will find a way to make changes work for their advantage.
Those people can take challenges and tackle them head-on, finding numerous innovative ways to be more efficient with the resources they have.
What most people don’t realize, though, is that innovation is a grounded, concrete, intentional, and structured process – not a random chaotic mixture of the hottest buzzwords of the day.
Innovation is a grounded, concrete, intentional, and structured process. This is a must to build successful, repeatable, and predictable innovative solutions.
How do we know this? Our company was built with a clear goal in mind - to accelerate innovation. After 14 years, our mission is still the same.
We’ve helped over 250 technology leaders in startups, scaleups, and enterprises achieve their strategic goals.
Through this work, we’ve established a robust four-step framework to accelerate innovation inside organizations. Here’s what we learned and how we became agents of dynamism and adaptability.
If you want to read about the framework directly, click here.
The 6 Core Components Of Innovation
To create a culture of innovation in your organization, you need to be intentional, structured, and have follow-through. There are six core components to adopt and accelerate innovation which are essential building blocks to ensure the highest likelihood of success.
- Collaboration & Buy-in: You can’t start on the journey if you don’t have an internal agreement. The path to building innovative solutions is a challenging one with many external factors coming into play. Having internal buy-in and collaboration set up well will ensure the team’s productivity, longevity, and commitment.
- Ideation & Openness: This should be a judgment-free zone where ideas are discussed and evaluated openly. The Ideation phase should be around people, customers, their needs, and problems that we can address with out-of-the-box solutions and technology.
- Implementation & Commitment: Any ideas formulated in the team are only worth something if implemented and if there’s a commitment to push through challenges.
- Speed & Direction: Fail fast and adopt short feedback cycles with real paying customers. Keep in mind that while implementing small-scale solutions then adjusting quickly is important, it’s also important to have a solid direction to build momentum in that direction.
- Value Creation: The solution needs to create value. We can come up with the “hottest” idea for what to implement, but if it doesn’t add value, it shouldn’t be implemented.
- Accountability & Results: If we’re not producing, measuring, and optimizing results or not holding ourselves accountable for them, we can’t move forward effectively.
A Four-Step Framework For Accelerating Innovation Sustainably
Being an innovative company means many things. It means you will likely stay ahead of your competition, keep your customers happy, and make sure your team comes motivated to work every day to work on exciting projects.
Below we will cover our 4-step process, which draws from the Design Thinking Methodology that allows us to accelerate innovation in our clients’ organizations. Adopting this framework will help you create a structured, predictable process to drive innovation using clearly defined steps.
It all starts with the strategy. To be innovative, we need a sense of direction and clear and measurable goals. This is where most companies get it wrong and think of innovation as an elusive concept rather than a concrete one.
Below you can find examples of real-life measurable strategic innovation goals:
- Increase prepaid transactions by 50%.
- Decrease customer acquisition cost by 20%.
- Generate an additional 10 million USD over the next year in sales coming from new digital channels.
- Generate 10% of revenue from recurring subscription models over the next year.
In the Discovery phase, you need to brainstorm to generate and validate multiple ideas and business models with the highest probability of meeting particular innovation strategic goals within the shortest timeframe and budget.
We have facilitated over 100 discovery workshops over the years, and here are our key learnings:
- Cross-industry expertise is invaluable. You need a diverse team to bring many ideas to the table.
- A great understanding of the possibilities of modern technology and a focus on new trends will bring vital inputs to you and your team.
- Start by building PoCs (Proofs of Concept) for the most promising ideas so they can be tested in terms of feasibility to achieve the desired goals. Building a PoC is the best way to learn what works, and even if it fails, we do it at a minimum cost.
The 3rd step is to identify what innovations will have the biggest impact and what solutions you really need to build to increase your momentum towards reaching your strategic goals.
You must prepare a roadmap for the innovation’s scope, schedule, budget, and how to measure innovation successfully.
The last stage is focused on building parallel MVPs (Minimum Viable Product) to shorten the time-to-market (TTM).
- Building software development teams who are well-versed in agile development is crucial to start rapid development on the actual product within days.
- Make sure you have solution architects to advise you on the toolset and technologies that will drive the best results and rapid growth of the product.
- Leverage existing platforms and solutions; don’t reinvent the wheel or over-engineer them at the start. Use building blocks from public cloud products which will give you fast results but are also future-proof when you need to scale your product.
- Work with your team to ensure the best ROI when designing requirements, user experience (UX), and planning product releases. Question every additional component or feature you want to create. Does it add value?
- Ensure that you adopt the Agile product development methodology to give your ease of adaptation to changing requirements and ensure that regular progress is noticeable after each sprint.
To accelerate innovation in your organization, make sure to follow the core pillars of innovation and to be intentional, structured, and have follow-through.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Research what frameworks and processes work well for your company and create a steering team to ensure the implementation of the ideas and further assess which ones to move to production.
Staying ahead of the competition means being forward-looking and implementing systems to ensure your team is able to look around the bend and be ready for the future.
If you would like to learn more about how you can start accelerating innovation in your organization, make sure to get in touch with Marcin Dąbrowski, our Chief Innovation Officer.