It is bringing innovation to the company effectively, bypassing the difficulties of old organizational processes. Here’s how it works.
Approaching innovation correctly is the most complex issue that modern insurance companies face due to the difficulties encountered in changing organizational models, processes, corporate culture, strategic objectives. Tendayi Viki’s “Innovation Framework” is a starting scheme that can guide and support companies in all the management processes of innovative projects.
The strategic nature of innovation in companies
Many argue that innovation must be part of corporate strategies and can no longer be relegated to the classic Research & Development department. It can be said that the large international corporations have now understood this concept, a little less the large companies of our country, but, summing up, we can see how the open approach to innovation is now becoming increasingly popular.
Certainly, the current historical moment, characterized by such sudden changes that impact practically every area of human life, has positively stimulated those companies that have found themselves displaced because they have remained anchored to outdated business models.
In this same scenario, an ever-increasing number of startups are gnawing market share, establishing themselves with Lean (“lean) schemes and approaches capable of making them more flexible and agile than large corporations.
Corporations are not startups, but they were. Unlike startups, they have consolidated methods and techniques, gained thanks to the experience in the field, the skills they have, investments and research activities. Yet precisely, this solidity causes companies to remain often trapped in mental schemes and rigid organizational structures that are inappropriate to guarantee dynamism and flexibility in current contexts.
Corporates have all the resources indispensable for innovation (skills, structures, means and financial resources). Still, they cannot take advantage of them because they lack the approach and mindset that a startup would have.
The solution, perhaps, is right in the middle: adopting typical startup processes and mindsets would also allow large companies to manage innovation paths within their reality, integrating them into strategic objectives and adopting a much more challenging vision of the future.
How to introduce innovation in the company with the Innovation Framework
An excellent approach is to follow a methodology, a scheme, and a framework to help the management adopt processes that allow managing innovation.
In this direction, Tendayi Viki, author of “The Corporate Startup” and Lean Innovation consultant, recommends the adoption of a very useful Innovation Framework to map the status of products, services, and innovative ideas generated and to be monitored during the modelling process.
The framework told by Viki is divided into three blocks :
# 1 Innovation Strategy
In the first part of the framework, the company’s most strategic aspects of innovation management are considered. In particular, we talk about Thesis and Portfolio.
It is a question of identifying a key concept, a phrase very similar to a corporate mission, which must aim to be perceived by people clearly and decisively. The Thesis must include the organization’s vision of the future (understood as a long-term ambition), the most relevant market trends to be taken into consideration and what the company must do to survive, i.e. the strategic objectives of innovation.
The Innovation Strategy must also report the set of innovative projects followed by the company, possibly divided into:
– Core activities ;
– Activities considered parallel to the core business;
– Transformational, i.e. disruptive, activities that propel the company towards new emerging markets.
Projects belonging to these areas may also have other key aspects to be mapped, such as the advanced phases of innovation (startup, development, launch).
# 2 Innovation Practice
In the experimental phase of the framework, all the generation, testing and evaluation of the scalability of business ideas are carried out.
The development approach must necessarily follow an agile and iterative style and foresee the involvement of external and internal actors in the organization to collect feedback on the innovations being tested.
In this, the company can benefit from already having a pool of customers who can validate new business ideas, so why not involve them?
# 3 Innovation Management
The third and final phase of the methodology concerns the more managerial aspects and is divided into the phases of Innovation Framework and Innovation Accounting.
How to identify feasible projects? How to test and concretize them?
These fundamental questions must be answered by a methodology shared by all the teams involved. Coordinating a laboratory dedicated to innovation requires a dedicated framework and well-defined processes.
You can choose from many frameworks, all to create, test and scaling business ideas.
From the most famous Ash Maurya’s Running Lean, passing through the Lean Product Lifecycle (Tendayi Viki) or the Investment Readiness(Steve Blank), up to Exploration-Pilot-Commercialization (Brock Kolls). Each company can choose the method with which they feel most at ease, with the awareness that the goal is always the same: to manage innovation in the company in a shared and structured way.
Finally, how to understand the advances made and the benefits obtained from these processes?
Simply by measuring the performance of innovation teams.
To effectively measure innovation, however, it can be misleading to use traditional financial KPIs. A new form of accountability is needed, called innovation accounting, a form of accounting that uses alternative metrics, such as:
– the number of new ideas generated by an organization
– the percentage of innovations with a proven product/market
– the speed learning
Below is an example of a KPI:
The challenges of the framework
The framework represented follows the traditional canons of innovation development; therefore, it is a simple, streamlined, open scheme based on transparency and knowledge sharing.
The use of an instrument alone is not enough: you have become ambassadors of a culture change (cultural shift) that covers the entire organization.
We need to question the way of thinking, to act, working, collaborating, favouring the adoption of new solutions capable of improving the status quo, aligning with market needs and being reactive to changes.
There are many other aspects to consider: attention to the customer experience and the loyalty of its consumers, employee turnover and their commitment to the corporate mission, the organization’s tolerance to risk, the target growth objectives, the budget for the investments and, above all, open management culture and proactive.
There are certainly many aspects at stake; you can’t think of leaving with everything on board. The advice is to try, test, evaluate and, if necessary, change. Adopting a methodological framework can simplify initial management, but it is up to management to apply it effectively to their organization.