So, where does business innovation come from? (I’m not proposing the question of “who” within an organization; rather the business enablers that are the likely sources of innovation.)
One model that I found useful in my thinking about how firms create strategic innovation suggests that it most often arises from:
Well developed and keener customer insights which provide early identification of unmet or latent customer needs
Flexible and integrated business systems which provide ways of reconfiguring the value chain to achieve lower costs and/or better service
Superior access to research and development resources that can make available new (or applied in a better manner) technology which dramatically improve product or service performance
The above basis for innovation aligns with my April 15th blog post where I shared my perspective that business innovation is much more than “home run” product ideation and includes to go-to-market innovations and leading edge value chain improvements. Organizations with one or more of these competencies will obviously increase their opportunities for innovation versus their competitors. A firm can then improve the success and sustainability of their innovation efforts through the implementation of a defined, continual process of generating, screening and implementing many new ideas. This process should outline general guidelines for each of the phases of new business development. These phases move from being loosely controlled in the initial step to being tightly controlled during the later stage and address:
Idea generation (continual scan for new business ideas)
Idea screening and concept evaluation (identify a winning value proposition)
Business plan development (develop detailed, viable business plans)
Commercialization (implement an operational plan through varied approaches which might include internal development, acquisition, license, joint venture, alliance, etc.)
Coming up soon, I will outline of two very different operational approaches for how firms are implementing their corporate visions for strategic innovation.
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About Mike Mata
Mike Mata serves on a number of advisory boards for growing businesses and non-profits. He brings 25 years of experience in the computer industry in executive roles for companies such as Hewlett-Packard Company, Compaq Computer Corp., BMC Software and IBM.
Before retiring in 2003, Mike served as vice president of Global Accounts at Hewlett Packard. Prior to joining HP, Mike served as Compaq's vice president and general manager of Worldwide Market Development and Partnerships. After joining Compaq, he served in a number of managerial capacities, including vice president of the Enterprise Solutions Division. Mike also held management roles in business development, commercial marketing, business planning, distribution strategy and major account marketing.
At Gateway, Mike served as the vice president of e-Commerce & Business Development and as vice president of Marketing.