Knowing the Secret Sauce for Innovation Delivery
The secret sauce required for innovation delivery sometimes can be hard to itemize but knowing the ingredients and constantly improving on them will make your ‘sauce’ stand out from others. For many it seems, execution or final delivery of the innovation is simply not given enough attention inside many organizations and that needs to certainly change and not just left to chance or delegated out as the less important stage.
For me, clarifying and committing resources on the innovation delivery part is a critical task to get right. I’ve discussed that elsewhere, but if your final delivery is wrong then all your preparation and effort simply ‘goes out the window.’
It is like a restaurant kitchen – correct delivery of the item makes or breaks all the hard work beforehand and if the final garnish or sauces are wrongly executed, the meal itself fails and it leaves the customer dissatisfied, irrespective of the original efforts put in.
To avoid this in innovation delivery you must have a full ‘convergence’ where you have aligned within your innovation process the organization, knowledge, technology, resources, concept and performance to bring this all into your go-to-market plans.
As you consider what is involved for effective innovation delivery you might want to reflect upon the following within your sauce:
- Mapping and planning this delivery completely – execution planning needs dedicated focus, a robust plan that has clear objectives but not overly complicated or excessive in detail.
- Building and editing based on changing insights – keeping fluid and agile to changes and adapting the plans where necessary but crucially keeping everyone in the ‘loop’ so all news, good and bad, gets ‘aired’ and seen.
- Project management and planning- adapting a disciplined approach to tackling the execution part: setting milestones, tracking changes, informing and pushing for commitments to be delivered upon.
- Aligning and influencing multiple ‘vested’ interests – nothing beats communication, seeking opinion and knowing where you can accommodate or not. Be clear on what is important, what can be ‘worked around’ but draw all ‘voices’ into the process but take responsibility and decide- don’t let issues ‘hang’.
- Collaborating with external stakeholders – knowing and valuing their place within the execution process is important to always have in mind. Engage with them constantly.
- Ensure you have diversity in the team to promote and challenge constantly, seek to encourage and engage in this often consuming participation as it will ‘alert’ you far earlier to problems than pressing on regardless, not wanting to listen to those signals.
A Go-to-Market plan covers the who, what, where and when and must include:
- Clarifying the needs and wants of customers in this launch – know these early.
- Attributes of success, a winning proposition articulated and constantly reviewed.
- Ensuring innovation delivery is tightly linked across the whole innovation process
- Scope, timeline and approach to market strategy is well thought through and updated.
- Definition of risks, economic, competitive and internal positions that are honest.
- Alignment capabilities and techniques and knowing the gaps to bridge realistically
- Definition and clarity of the relevant value to the different parties and the final customer
- Differentiation that is being provided by the new innovation that is clearly spelled out in a clear Value Proposition that keeps being referred too and evaluated.
- Outline of the appropriate proof-of- innovation delivery concept (based on research, concept work, piloting, customer engagement etc)
- Plan to acknowledge and cultivate the critical relationships involved and making sure all parties are kept in the loop, compromises only made to resolve impasse.
- Have clear ways to measure the results, impact and success of any delivery.
- Provision of feedback and enhancement opportunities/needs to all relevant parties, even back to the front end of idea creation to provide improved clarity and definition that helps
- The clear accountability clarification of who does what well stated and well managed.
Achieving correct, effective innovation delivery does provide the chances of achieving greater commercialized success than simply allowing implementation to just happen as an afterthought. The value of providing the appropriate resources to the final delivery end of innovation are sometimes the critical difference between why certain companies are just so much better at ‘delivering’ their innovation. They ruthlessly executed to a well thought through plan that learned its secret sauce and constantly refined it.
Editor’s Note: If you enjoyed this article, then you should come join Braden Kelley and Rowan Gibson live at the Back End of Innovation conference on October 17-19, 2011 in beautiful, sunny San Diego, CA.
Image Credit: mat.usc.edu
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Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities.
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Love the sauce analogy, Paul–and the very comprehensive post.
Keeping with your food theme, I would liken the process to chain restaurants vs. independent restaurants. With independent chefs, you often get innovative results because they are in control of a smaller system–with complete control over the final product. They can both dream and execute the delivery.
But, as a restaurant empire expands, it is difficult for a master chef to dream bold new recipes, and have staff execute the same vision. She can’t watch every dish go out. The focus shifts to consistently good results, rather than truly innovative flavors.
And, the texture and uniqueness is lost in translation if only the ingredients are communicated–which, as you mentioned, is why it is important to integrate continuous communication with demonstrable success metrics and a clear execution roadmap–giving rise to effectively capturing more nuance than is available in a simple list.