A lot of businesses have embraced technical innovation at a strategic level aiming to leverage its escalating influence and deliver improved productivity and bottom line results.
We musn’t forget, innovation isn’t just about the large enterprise developments, it is also about the smaller below the line advancements created by employees who have bought into that strategy and are a key part of the delivery of it.
The vision and inspiration to create new advancements is necessary , but on its own this is not enough, it’s also important to put in place a basic structure and process by which you can support the innovation & ideas being created by your team.
As a software company we often see the impact on a business where innovation and ideas are not managed. These tend to be solutions with a high level of dependency on the creator who has limited levels of technical expertise. Initially the solution has made a positive contribution to the business but is now causing issues and poses a risk as a result of a change in the status quo.
Moving to a more structured environment isnt complicated, I have picked 2 simple steps, which should be easy to implement. To support innovation in your business I would recommend the following;
- Setup a simple process to capture new concepts and ideas. Develop a simple form which can be accessed by people within your organization.
- Manage & regularly audit the below the line tools & innovation being used on a day to day basis.
Both are really important, the 1st simply to encourage and embrace innovation within your business and to provide a structure and reward mechanism for those that come up with new ideas.
The 2nd is needed to control the innovation which is helping to deliver improvements to the way the business operates or makes decisions day in day out. It is often these ideas & innovations which propel the business forward and deliver significant productivity gains. Equally they often pose the greatest risk when the status quo changes.
Initially conduct an audit of the key tools, spreadsheets, databases that all areas of the business rely on and ask the key questions to help you prioritise the gaps in knowledge so that you can minimise and limit the risks moving forward.
- What influence does it have on business decisions?
- Has the output been checked & validated?
- What value does it add?
- Does it pose any risks?
- Who’s responsible for maintaining the solution/spreadsheet/database?
An added benefit of Auditing can often help deliver improvements too as the analysis of the tools can identify further productivity benefits.