When innovation and business objectives are equally valued, broadly promoted and fully communicated, a culture naturally exists that fosters alignment of the two. In order to achieve this cultural shift, top-down business objectives need to be communicated throughout the firm. It then becomes your team’s responsibility to align their innovative activities to support the objectives of the business.
Create a plan
The business should have a strategy roadmap which shows the firm that the impact of aligning everyone’s objectives creates more value than working in silos. Objectives should be related to creating product enhancements, intellectual property and continuously improving operations.
Be more joined up
Jointly developing technology, product, service and business innovation, roadmaps encourage discussion and debate and help the firm to forge links between teams that guide actions and keep everybody moving in the right direction.
Lead from the top
Fundamentally, innovation should be an integral part of your business objectives. The Chief Executive of your business should create and communicate a business strategy that includes an innovation pillar in addition to the usual pillars such as financials, sales, IT, etc. Each business unit should have a number of objectives that cascade from the overall business strategy and each unit should have at least one objective that encourages innovation within their team.
Focus on growth
Growth of most businesses is fuelled by innovation. Whether that innovation is faster, cheaper or better products / services, the business will grow as a result.
Innovation means finding solutions
Everything in business can ultimately be boiled down to “finding a solution to a problem”, but not every problem should be solved with an innovation. By taking a portfolio approach to your business you can identify problems for which you already have solutions. Outside of those, there will be problems that require improvements to an existing solution, and those that require entirely new, differentiating solutions. That’s where you need to focus your innovation efforts in order to gain a competitive edge in your market.