There are many books on innovation management. Maybe too many. So, why write another one? Quite simply because the majority of existing innovation books are written either for start-ups or for large corporates. Nothing previously focused exactly on mid-sized businesses (MSBs) and strategic business units (SBUs) that want to achieve growth through business-wide innovation. Such businesses face unique challenges and opportunities and so we have written this book for them. It is a practical guide for their journey to innovative growth that addresses four issues.
First, so much has been written on the topic of innovation that MSB and SBU managers face an information tsunami, a myriad of ‘hot’ innovation topics and tools on top of proven classics. Managers do not have the time to wade through all of these. So, we provide a carefully selected set of tools and techniques that can be applied in an integrative way to drive innovative growth.
Second, globalization, digitalization and newly emerged environmental and social consciousness have created not only opportunities but also challenges for MSBs and SBUs. This creates a pressing need for business-wide innovation—new products, services, experiences, channels, processes and entire business models. Nowadays, innovation must address the needs of multiple stakeholders: from customers, employees and partners to the wider community and of course investors. So, in this book, we consider innovation in its broadest sense and with a broad set of stakeholders.
Third, although senior managers have the autonomy and responsibility to create new growth, their mindsets tend to focus on operational efficiency and incremental innovation. Other books concentrate on innovation processes but do not tell you about the mindsets—the mix of thoughts, feelings and behaviours you and your fellow travellers will experience. These will include moments of doubt and moments of elation. Remember that processes make innovation possible, but people make it happen.
Fourth, achieving innovative growth is like going on a journey; a journey that will be distinct for each and every business. Making the journey a success requires you to understand your starting point ‘A’, to declare the desired destination, point ‘B’, and to develop the innovation capabilities ‘C’ needed to get there. We clearly map out the phases of this innovation journey, providing a no-nonsense guide for not only senior managers but also the employees and other external collaborators who will be making this journey.
This guidebook takes you through five phases. Phase 1 helps you shape Your innovation strategy and Phase 2 will organize the journey by balancing both the hard and soft mechanisms required to go the distance. Phase 3 will develop deep customer insights and novel solutions, to address market needs. Next, Phase 4 will enable you to select the optimum portfolio of projects to implement and to achieve your strategy. Phase 5 supports you in tailoring your processes to get innovations to market. The end of the first innovation journey marks the transition to the next journey. Therefore, we explain the importance of taking the time to reflect in Phase 6, focusing on enhancing your capability to innovate, time and time again.
We deliberately present the journey from ‘A’ to ‘B’ while developing ‘C’ as a set of distinct phases, which is simple for MSBs and SBUs to follow. We’re not saying that everything about the journey will be easy, but it will be worthwhile. Innovation requires energy, determination and patience. We’ve accompanied numerous managers and teams on their innovation journeys and we have learnt from them just how satisfying it is to launch successful innovations. Many of the managers and teams we’ve worked with have contributed directly to this book. So, it is ideas from managers and innovators working at the leading edge that we share in this book.