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Five takeaways to maintaining innovation momentum post crisis – A Meetup for Innovation Practitioners

Posted 4 years ago

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” — Peter Drucker

For organisations, prioritising innovation is critical to stay relevant in changing and uncertain markets. According to a recent article published by McKinsey & Company, businesses that maintained their innovation focus through past crises, have emerged stronger and outperformed the market average by more than 30 percent.

Over the last few months, we have engaged with more than 140 Innovation Practitioners across APAC via a webinar series to promote best practice innovation during the current disruption. Our guest speakers have included innovation professionals from organisations such as IAG, Unitywater, James Cook University, Unisson Disability, and Brightidea. All of which have provided unique perspectives as to how their teams are embracing uncertainty to bring about leading change.

We found there was a strong sentiment that  “new norms” include greater recognition and appreciation of innovation activities and teams from upper management. After all, most innovation managers found themselves to be in high demand as the COVID crisis emerged. For the innovation practitioner community, this ultimately posed the question of:

“How do we continue this innovation momentum and practices in our respective organisations post COVID-19?”

To bring global insights to this discussion, we invited Matt Greeley as our most recent guest speaker, the Founder, and CEO of Brightidea, the number one globally rated US-based innovation management platform.

Since 1999, Matt and his team have worked with some of the world’s most innovative companies such as Amazon, Bayer, Coca Cola, General Motors, Honda, Microsoft, Nike, and Shell to generate over $16+ billion in business impact from innovation.  During the Meetup, Matt provided a global perspective on innovation management since COVID-19 and associated tips and tricks moving forward. Below are five key takeaways from this discussion.

    1. Leverage market data to create ‘Enlightened Managers’. Achieving senior management buy-in for innovation activities is a difficult task when faced with organisation-wide uncertainty and downturn. To assist, various groups are publishing articles on data that demonstrates the undeniable value of investing in innovation throughout a downturn to spring forward post. At Brightidea, Matt refers to leveraging this data to create ‘The Enlightened Manager’, whereby senior management come to the realisation that they don’t have to come up with all the ideas, but it is their job to find the best ideas and ensure that the best ideas win.
    2. Being ‘Agile’ is only 50% of the equation. Like innovation, the value of implementing Agile principles in organisations has been highly regarded in recent times. However, it is important for organisations to recognise that agile work is not just about project management, it is also about the ideation, capture, prioritisation, and selection of ideas that go into a system to achieve the best outcomes.
    3. Make it easy for all managers to access innovation. The trend in corporate innovation is to move away from an annual program or shared service used to run departmental challenges. Business managers are now recognising that there are new tools open to them for ongoing enhancement and activity. Enabling innovation everywhere and by everyone across the organisation. Innovation teams are therefore being presented with the opportunity to support the setup of these tools and remote monitoring without having to be involved in the day to day processes.
    4. Embrace opportunities to create impact. Currently, society has no shortage of problems to solve, and organisations are presented with the opportunity to think outside the box when it comes to activating their workforce to create impact and new business models. Since COVID-19 we have seen a global burst of new business streams, from car manufactures now producing respirators, to pharmaceutical companies producing plasma therapies. It is a question of mindset – rather than simply using innovation to solve internal challenges faced, is your organisation embracing the opportunity for transformation?
    5. Utilise tools to demonstrate and monitor outcomes. Like any business process, establishing tools such as idea management within your organisations can be used to systemise, capture, and record business impact and return on investment. The key role of an innovation manager is to solve important organisational challenges AND demonstrate the value gained. By putting measures in place to demonstrate the value you can build innovation momentum.

In a time where the word “innovation” has become a buzz word, it is more important than ever to apply best practices and track impact, collaborate with external stakeholders and identify expansion opportunities that solve significant problems.

Overall, society is learning that the future of business cannot be reliant upon the past. When charting a path forward for companies keeping innovation management at the core is perhaps the best action to take. We will continue this conversation at our next Meetup, so we recommend all innovation managers and those responsible for innovation within a company register.

Impact Innovation is hosting a regular meet-up series to support Innovation Managers as part of a response to COVID-19. The series enables mangers of innovation to share insights and challenges. What we’re seeing is that the group is offering peer support and helping solve problems. If you are responsible for running an innovation or commercialisation programs and would like to join the group, click here. You will also be able to access the recording of the previous event.

Impact Innovation is the APAC premier partner for BrightIdea. Click here for more information on the world’s #1 rated innovation and idea management software.