I read a nice post on Drew Boyd’s blog, Innovation in Practice, discussion the idea of linking innovation with company strategy. In it, Drew discusses two models of interaction between company strategy and innovation:
Strategy informs innovation – in this model the company defines a strategy, then innovation efforts are pursued to find way to deliver on and enhance the value of the strategy;
Innovation informs strategy – in this model, innovation activity first generates scads of potential concepts which are subsequently mapped to a strategic evaluation model to select the innovation path that builds the optimal strategy.
Whichever approach you select, it is critical that your corporate strategy and innovation efforts are aligned. Without alignment, you have no chance of achieving the level of execution required for successful innovation delivery.
However, I would like to highlight a third model: Innovation and Strategy inform each other. In other words, you are only looking at half of the picture if the dialogue between strategy and innovation is a one way exchange.
If you are responsible for strategy, you don’t want to lament “Gee, if I’d only known that was an option I would have set that as a strategic goal.” As an innovation practitioner, you hate saying “Gee, if I had only known that was important, I could have helped achieve that objective.”
Optimal value is achieved through an on-going dialogue between these two drivers of corporate value.