Sustaining your innovation process

How can you maintain your innovation process? Below are some suggestions to get you thinking – most should apply to most companies. Compiling the initial list is easy – doing it is the hard bit!

  1. Establish the importance of innovation for your organisation and its role in the overall strategy
  2. 100% commitment from management – support, encourage, demonstrate, walk the walk
  3. Integrate innovation into organisation’s culture
  4. Facilitate open communication at all levels – How is it working? What else could we be doing?
  5. Establish practical metrics for performance: non-perfect is better than none at all
  6. Recruit the right talent: open-minded, flexible, passionate, questioning, diverse backgrounds
  7. Set up access to fresh perspectives: customers, stakeholders, non customers, etc
  8. Provide creative thinking training for your people
  9. Set up an idea management system to solicit, capture and evaluate ideas (my fave – jenni)
  10. Involve your customers / consumers (open source collaboration)
  11. Look at “best practice” in model companies (Nokia, Apple, etc) to devise your own “next practise”
  12. Set up project teams that tap into your organisation’s diversity (can you use external resources?)
  13. Give time and permission for experimentation and allow failures
  14. Set up a slush fund for innovation
  15. Consider skunkworks if size and nature of innovation will struggle within the parent organisation
  16. Recognise (and reward?) people’s efforts
  17. Work in cycles to maintain focus and the flexibility to review and refine
  18. Innovate the innovation process: How could we do things differently?
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4 comments on “Sustaining your innovation process
  1. Siddiq Bello says:

    To many steps!

    Good lord how would anyone follow all of these steps? 100% commitment from management? Thats crazy talk! Management is looking for the next bonus and maintaining their job which I assure you isnt measured on how innovate some people in another group are.

    I think your suggestions are spot on buy they are clearly impractical in an entrepreneurial context and counter to the corporate context.

  2. theideahunter says:

    It certainly would be a challenge to get that 100% level but the list was starting from a blank sheet of paper. It is idealistic but they are listed to show the type of activities that would achieve the end goal rather than a series of steps to follow.

    Maybe the remuneration of management should be the next topic?

    Thanks, Greavsie

  3. Hi

    Where you have the link to Idea Management Systems, you send it to one Idea Management software vendor (JPB/Jenni). Jenni is a good product and highly worthy of praise, but if you are providing general advice for your readers you might like to use a more general link to a range of Idea Management Systems such as my Idea Management Systems blog at, the Innovation Tools page on Idea Management Systems, or a Wikipedia article on Idea Management Systems.

    Hope this is useful!

  4. Anthony Kuhn says:

    Your list is comprehensive enough that I mentioned it in my blog post today for the Innovators-Network. Thanks for picquing my interest and I hope to send some of my readers you way so they can check out your entire list for themselves. Keep up the good work!

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