Innovation… when you have to tell shareholders that your markets face a new threat, you will also have the answer.

To the ear of the professional innovator, the idea of an innovation process sounds counter-intuitive. Like creative accounting, the ring of the phrase just doesn’t sit well. Innovation cries out for freedom of thought and gut reaction. Process has no place here.

We have worked away quietly in the background with companies who set off down the road of innovation process, only to realise eventually that there’s another way.

In and of itself, ‘innovation strategy’ may also sound somewhat awkward. Companies can be relied upon to set business targets that translate into cascaded personal stretch targets. It isn’t so common, though, to see the strategy populated with detail of consumer need that will be satisfied. Financial forecasts are relatively easy to build without that key metric behind them. In any other situation, it’d be called guessing.

Yes, have a method for digging out useful insight from data.

Yes, have a process by which products are designed to deliver the unmet consumer need.

But don’t impose a process that controls the creativity on which innovation feeds. It’s tantamount to putting a potato up the tailpipe of innovation.

Invite and encourage creativity with a human-centric bias and you’ve got a strategy fed by design thinking that will meet human need when it wants it. It makes your business plan more cohesive and believable. More importantly, when you have to tell shareholders that their markets face a new threat, you will also have the answer.

Future thinking and future proofing through innovation. It’s what we do.

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