Finding an innovation strategy can be one of the most difficult decisions as there are so many options to choose from. While there is not a defined process for implementing or developing an innovation process that works for your unique situation there are a few things that you can keep in mind to make it easier. There are three main areas that you can focus on to spur on your innovation process – hiring and developing innovative staff, developing an internal innovation protocol, and working with strategic alliances. The best result for most companies is a blend of these four that is unique and helpful to your specific needs.
Human Resources: Hiring and developing
By far the most effective way to ensure that you have innovation throughout the life of your company is to create a process that allows you to hire and develop creative and talented people. Keeping your innovation in-house allows you to gain competitive advantages over co-creation and open innovation, and it can also give you more control over the timeline for innovation. The more staff members from different departments and seniorities that you can include in the innovation process, the more access to creativity that you can tap into.
Developing Internal Innovation Protocol: Problem Solver
While it is most effective to develop staff members that have the innovation mindset, you can also develop a process that can be successfully applied with almost any group of people. Developing an internal innovation protocol will help to innovate on problems that arise and can be a great tool in your arsenal. For best results you shouldn’t rely on this innovation protocol as your company’s only source of innovation, but it can be a cost effective strategy to get the ball rolling and a great tool to have available.
Strategic Alliances: Working Together
Forming strategic alliances allows you to leverage the creativity and innovate with people outside of your company. The major benefit is that you gain access to a number of people’s ideas and input without taking them onto the payroll. The drawback is that the competitive advantage and secrecy of your innovation is almost impossible to guarantee. With that being said there are several companies that are embracing co-creation with fantastic results and depending on your situation you may want to include this in your innovation strategy.
There are plenty of combinations and other variations to consider in your innovation strategy, but any combination of these three will cover the majority of the successful strategies. Try each of these concepts individually before you combine them as they may increase or decrease in effectiveness depending on your unique situation. Having a great innovation culture is a great place to start. If this seems too ambitious for your current situation you can start with a simple innovation protocol and innovate the solutions to your innovation culture, so that you can implement them as quickly as possible.