Driving True Innovation Within Your Organization Means You Must Outline Your Goals and Priorities Clearly
In January 1996, two Stanford PhD students started working on a research project that would change the world. They nicknamed their project BackRub, because it checked backlinks of websites to determine their importance. Today, that project has become known as Google and its two founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have completely changed the way the world works.
While the meteoric rise of Google may have seemed written in the stars, the truth is far less certain. Initially, Larry Page and Sergey Brin were opposed to creating an advertising-funded search engine, but after pressure from investors it became clear they needed to embrace the monetization strategy. They developed Google Adwords in 2000 to allow advertisers to pay for ads on the platform and have since continued to disrupt the marketplace through strategic innovation.
Businesses that don’t innovate risk being disrupted by their competitors. The larger a business is, the more likely it is to be disrupted by challenger businesses, startups and fast-followers. Today more than ever, businesses need to develop systems to empower them to make better strategic decisions related to innovation and disruption.
An Innovation Roadmap can be invaluable to businesses that need to unify multiple stakeholders across their business under one innovation strategy. It is a visual representation of a process and a series of steps required to implement a new product, service, business model or process. An Innovation Roadmap can be an artistic rendering or a structured approach using tables and charts from spreadsheets. It can even be presented in an online dashboard or subscription software platform.
Here are 3 questions you need to ask yourself about your business before you start to develop an Innovation Roadmap:
What are our overarching innovation goals and objectives?
Determining your long-term goals for the business is an important first step. Consider if the overall aim is to improve technologies, products, processes, markets etc. in the organization, how long your team would like the process to take and what role every member will play in each step.
What are your biggest weaknesses within the business, and what are your biggest challenges to overcoming them?
Within the broader category, identify what issues are most likely to impede the success of the organization in this area in the future. This may require taking a hard look at your organization by conducting a SWOT analysis of some kind.
What does it take to succeed and how will we judge success?
Because your team has already identified the broad objective, in this stage you will have a more realistic sense of how long it will take to reach that particular goal, which issues are the most pressing, what key personnel will need to support the initiative, and measurements of success.
We have helped hundreds of businesses around the world, from multi-billion dollar corporations to disruptive 20-person startups, to help them define and structure their unique approaches to innovation. Throughout this journey we have identified what works when it comes to developing an Innovation Roadmap which helps support real change within an organization. Over the years, we’ve compiled best practices from these businesses and brought them together into our Innovation Roadmap template.
Unlike most traditional Innovation Roadmapping techniques, upBOARD’s online Innovation Roadmap models and collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Still want to learn more? Check out upBOARD’s Innovation Roadmap template in the cloud as well as the system we’ve created to help businesses like yours develop your innovation engine quickly and efficiently.
Soren Kaplan is the bestselling and award-winning author of Leapfrogging and The Invisible Advantage, an affiliated professor at USC’s Center for Effective Organizations, a former corporate executive, and a co-founder of UpBOARD. He has been recognized by the Thinkers50 as one of the world’s top keynote speakers and thought leaders in business strategy and innovation.