“Very few of our ideas turn out as good innovations leading to new products and services”. This is a complaint very often heard from senior leaders across organisations. This often stems from the fact that many of the ideas seems to be of very poor quality.
This is a problem faced by most companies though they have the best of the talents available on the planet and are very competent and experienced in their domains. They still have to deal with this frustrating situation. Why is this so?
Delivering business relevant innovation is the key for any firm which wants to grow its top line using innovation. A firm can virtually innovate in any area such as products, services, processes, business models, user experience, selling processes and many more as long as it aligns with its strategic areas of focus.
To continuously develop successful new products and services, we need a pipeline of innovations to select from, since every innovation will not be successful. Often organisations encourage their people to come up with ‘ideas’ to achieve this. Will this increase the number of ideas that become real businesses? Answer is no.
First of all, an idea is just an idea and is not at all an innovation. Ideas are just thoughts or part of solution at best. With the best of the talent, processes and intentions, what is missing? What can be done to ensure more ideas become profitable businesses?
Let us peel the onion further and see what is behind this problem. As leadership, we expect our people to innovate but we often forget that they are neither formally educated nor trained to be innovators. To understand this better let us look at how we hire talent.
When hiring talent, say mechanical engineers the business unit requests its HR partner regarding the required educational qualification, domain experience needed for the job along with the roles and responsibilities. The HR partner can suggest the right profiles for the job based on this.
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Co-authored by Sudeendra Koushik, Chief Innovator, and Pragya Dixit, Chief Intrapreneur, Prasu, a consulting firm. They are also co-authors of the book titled “A Conversation with the Innovator in You”