Just as a high performance pentathlon athlete excels in five sports, for innovative companies there are five key elements for optimum performance.
The development funnel is often used to illustrate the process of idea generation, selection and implementation, but it does not show the link to the company’s strategic direction or culture. So Goffin and Mitchell have added two extra elements – ‘innovation strategy’ and ‘people and organisation’.
A technology strategy – that is aligned with the corporate mission – can help focus R&D on doing the right things for growth.
It enables the R&D manager to: –
Creativity can seem quite a messy discipline, but it can be useful to categorise it into 4 aspects:
An organisation may have many innovation projects running in parallel, allocating resources to ensure optimum value is challenging. There are tools available to help R&D managers to decide:-
After the idea is selected then it needs turning into a reality. This requires a project with resource and good project management skills. Companies often to fail the change of gear that is needed to move from investigation to implementation.
Although many of the processes now in place to support implementation were originally designed to support physical products and hardware, there have been more recent developments. The growth of the software industry has introduced new, more iterative approaches and the digital revolution has created the opportunities for visualisation and prototyping; reducing development times significantly.
The people element is crucial to the success of new product development. The culture of the organisation – individuals, teams, management – and its appetite for risk can impact the development process.
The Pentathlon framework may appear inward looking but, like the Olympics, there is an arena where real business happens, so an innovation strategy needs strong outward links with the external world.
Read more in “Innovation Management: Effective strategy and implementation” by Keith Goffin and Rick Mitchell. Palgrave Macmillan 2016 (3rd edition)