the 10 steps of innovaton failure

Previous research into why innovation fails shows us the necessity to not focus directly on outcomes which is the domain of NPD but the general capability to generate and quantify the creation of “innovations” that break molds for next steps in the NPD to take place.

Top 10 examples of innovation blocks and their related NPD difficulties:
1) IF YOU DON’T TRACK YOU LOOSE: Innovations are not accidental and ignoring tracking is a recipie for disaster just like ignoring the necessity for group calendars and centralized project management tracking. Buy or develop an idea management system and there are many in the marketplace at this time.

2) REMOVE FEAR: Remove fear surrounding “the new” because Innovation itself is disruptive and that has the possibility to fail. Even changing packaging causes upheval but is necessary. Is a new packaging project innovation? it all depends. If people fear failing, innovation will not take place.

3) PART OF PERFORMANCE CHECKS: Without innovation being specifically part of the performance review system it will not take place and this is NOT something that can be done across the whole organization. Can any person on the shop floor, board room or cafeteria be an innovator? Yes. Should their salary and career performance be based on this? No.

4) AN ARTICULATED INNOVATION ENVIRONMENT: A specific and clearly articulated innovation process is what creates new possibilities for increased revenue and operating efficiencies. Do not let it take over with too many steps, phasegates, etc., as that is NPD. Making sure everyone understands this as well as his or her role in the process is absolutely necessary.

5) ALIGNMENT: If innovation is not carefully aligned with corporate strategy it is useless even IF that means that certain groups get preferential “innovation” treatment such as R&D groups being able to be freer in their experimentation, etc.

6) IGNORING THE ENVIRONMENT EQUALS FAILURE: Ignoring situational awareness and not supporting people to to scan the environment for new trends, technologies and changes in customer mindsets is the key to NPD failure, but not necessarily innovation failure. Understanding and creating a working environment of identifying and working towards goals past a 1-2yr window is the key to NPD success. Being aware of 3-5yr windows is innovation success

7) BEING RIGID STIFLES INNOVATION: When an organization, process, NPD or Innovation organization is too ridgid innovation is surely to fail and in many cases NPD will even fail. Build in organizational looseness so everyone is free to explore new possibilities and collaborate with others inside and outside the organization.

8) DON’T IGNORE THE OUTLIERS (10-80-10): Ignoring 10,80,10 is a sure fire way to kill “innovation” or more aptly NPD. 10% of ideas just won’t make it. 80% will and these are easily in the NPD cycle, where as 10% the true outliers the ones no one will risk are exactly the ones that might transform an entire organization. Without a process for handling the outlier ideas that don’t fit the strategy organizations let competitors win.

9) FOCUSED IDEATION IS NPD NOT INNOVATION: Attempting to focus ideation is NPD, overly restrictive criteria for NPD stifles ideation and perpetuate assumptions and mindsets from the past. Ignoring the need to fully break and rebuild models and assumptions of what “should be” is the basis for innovation. Clearly locking down market and success-related parameters is NPD thinking which is valuable for product line elongation but not innovation.

10) NOT EVERYONE IS AN INNOVATOR: Accepting that not everyone can be at the center of the Innovation cycle. NPD teams are project teams and need different tools and different mindsets from innovation teams who are on the edge and therefore taking much more of a risk when it comes to bringing innovations to market. Provide necessary training and coaching for innovation teams to transition to NPD teams is key.

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