For any organization to have a growth that is led by innovation it must have an innovation architecture that has a built in process which is effective. The leadership should have a clear framework to deliver the smooth management of innovation from the stages of planning, management of the portfolio, development of the new product to the end of the lifecycle in the market where the product idealizes. There are three assumptions that people make in regards to innovation. (Tidd, Bessant, & Pavitt, 2001).The first is that it is only meant for new products or services. This is not always the case, as firms must also consider other determinants such as the new customers they intend to serve and their needs, their value chain and any economic model that is alternative. There is also a supposition that it is only the domain of research and development to innovate, which is not the case because ideas can come from anyone within the company and even beyond such as partners, suppliers or even the customers. The other misconception about innovation is that it comes through luck or from a leader who is visionary. While this may be true in some cases, most organizations come up with designs and systems in the innovation process to help them maximize the probability to identify and leverage on the new opportunities consistently over time
One of the companies that have an effective architecture to promote innovation is Google. It has systems in place that have been intentionally incorporated in its structure to identify and nurture innovation. At Google, the ideas on innovation can come from anywhere or anyone and thus they have adopted both top down and bottom up channels of communicating the thoughts of its staff. Its focus on satisfaction it offers to the user even before the money it can generate from the advertisements is the reason why it enhanced the speed of the capability to search by giving the users suggestions when they type a few keystrokes .By this they created an exceptional customer experience that always keeps the consumers using it more. There is always the push to grow even to ten times better at Google and that why they have remain revolutionary by always entering in new spheres of business to satisfy new customers such as the ambitious digitalization of books that kicked off in 2004. The firm always takes a gamble with technical insights even if they sound unimaginable such as idea of having driverless cars by its engineers from the realization that most of the accidents come about because of human error ("Forbes Welcome", 2017). The company is always looking at perfecting is idea with time and therefore immediately the ideal turns into a product, they ship it and always gets the insights on how to improve the invention from the feedback of the clients. Therefore having an effective and efficient feedback mechanism is important so that you can able continuously make improvements. The company also has adopted policy of giving its employees 20% of the time at work to follow the projects that they love even if they fall outside their main job description or out of the core organizations mission. By doing this they promote creativity that comes from the passionate areas of the individuals and this has become a breeding ground of new business ideas. There is decentralization of the system to determine the projects that are given a go ahead. The employees are only given a guideline of the portfolio but when it comes to deciding on what is to be adopted, it becomes a collective role where the idea posted on the in-house Webb bulletin boards and everyone can join the discussion on the advantages, the risks and the action plan. The making of processes as open as possible to all users by Google has enabled it to tap into developers who are even outside the company to create apps for billions of people that use Android devices. By this, it is able to get solutions for nits customers from even people who are not directly under its employment. There is also an aspect of embracing failure at the company where in case a product does meet the expected potential, they move on and even pull from some of the feature they deem useful.
Samsung is also another leader in the innovative space and it takes a systematic approach. The success of this brand has been through mixing of prioritization by the executive and the processes set up for teams. Its leadership focused on the key competency of design since 1993 and they have continually increased the design budget by a significant amount to support competitive advantage. To this end they came up with design centers in various cities in the world such as; Shanghai, Tokyo, London, San Francisco and Los Angeles. It also created an internal school known as the Innovation Design Lab for the talented designers. It sends them as interns to other unrelated industries that involve beauty such as the cosmetic and fashion to be able to get new inspirations. Samsung also has an immense investment in research and development of up to even ten percent of its total revenues. Out of this it commits fifteen percent of its team in the department to investigating and predicting the lifestyles and wants of as far 10 years from now. The senior management continues to craft a culture that there is always a crisis that is never ending which drives the company to be always on the look-out for threats from competitors and thus enabling it to come up with new businesses frontier to grow. It has a system in place to break down barriers that may exist between groups inside the firm, which facilitates swift innovation that can outdo the competitive challenges. A good example is through the program outside Seoul, more than two thousand participants that include engineers, programmers, designers and people involved in planning congregate for days or even months to be able come up with fine details of specifications of latest products. The center brings together the members who are critical to a certain project from its onset. The teams that come from different functional units in the organization work together by putting across their differences and resolving them for days to shape the ideas. Through this, the teams are able to shatter cultural norms that are stale and give confidence to the junior members to rise up and voice their views even to the senior staff.
Organizations that are systematic in nature such as Samsung visualize innovation through strategies and tactics. Strategies come up when giving attention to the area in which they intend to effect the innovation whereas the tact comes in the way they execute the project by implementing it in a efficient and fast manner.
Another company that has been innovating over time is Vodafone, which takes a collaborative approach. This involves teaming up with outside partners in evaluating the opportunities that exist, selecting the ones to try and using the partner to implement them. In the case of Vodafone, though it is brand that is global known for great customer service, it has partners to help it achieve its success. It gets the supply of network equipment from firms like Ericsson, the software applications that it boasts of come from various third party sources and it usually gets its customers from third party dealers. Vodafone seeks to do extremely well in understanding the customer needs, arranging them in order and then seeking the solution for them through the appropriate associate ("Forbes Welcome", 2017). It acts quick though still ensuring there is control of the quality and plugging the new product into its network. If for instance the solution does not work as well as expected, it has a system to swap to an alternative easily since the technological infrastructure that they have allow for flexibility and there are usually a large pool of ideas to pick. The firm is able to remain relevant by just gathering the innovation intelligence through relationships that are formal with other firms that it can benefit from in terms of shaping the innovative concept as well as implementation of the solution sought.
An innovation architecture that is effective needs to have a determinate set of the rules of governance. There should be established processes and rule on aspects such as who is accountable, who is responsible for what and who makes the decisions (Mathews, 2012). Many aspects of governance arise such as how support innovation to choose priorities, the roles of those involved and how to manage initiatives that cut across various functional areas of expertise. The rules should reflect the culture of the business and its aspirations to innovate while defining the issues of making decisions, approvals and empowering people to become innovative.
There should be lean principles in the innovation process in order to leverage the best practices. Organizations must look at the performance level of their innovation processes critically against those of the benchmarks of the industry they are I to be able to develop the next level. (Tidd, Bessant & Pavitt, 2001) There should be a way of identifying the innovation master data through models such as the value chain by Porter or the balanced scorecards. There should be effort to ensure that the data gets consideration, discussion and investigation. Communication is also important to the innovation process. Directives should be formulated to communicate the firms strategy in a manner that is open, urgent and with practical steps to achieving success.
For a company to be remaining innovative, it should not perceive innovation as activity that it places on the sidelines during brainstorming. An ecosystem of engagement in key innovative behaviors should be incorporated in the day-to-day work. The leaders should be on the forefront in directing people to be on the lookout for ideas that are vital to the business and encouraging them to connect with new environments. (Miller, Paddy and Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg, 2013)They should also challenge people to polish their ideas, provide a guide in the selection of the best of them, help them get through the stages of innovation and provide motivation for people to become creative.
Bessant, J. (2009). Innovation (1st ed.). London: DK.
Establishing an Effective Innovation Process Architecture. (2017). Sopheon. Retrieved 12 February 2017, from https://www.sopheon.com/establishing-an-effective-innovation-process-architecture/
Forbes Welcome. (2017). Forbes.com. Retrieved 12 February 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2007/1112/137.html
Mathews, S. (2012). Innovation portfolio architecture. IEEE Engineering Management Review, 40(3). http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/emr.2012.6291577
Miller, P. & Wedell-Wedellsborg T. (2013) Innovation as usual (1st ed.).
Tidd, J., Bessant, J., & Pavitt, K. (2001). Managing innovation (1st ed.). Chichester [England]: John Wiley.
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