“We just don’t have the time.” How often have you heard this familiar refrain? Just yesterday in a conversation with a leading company in the petro space, I heard a manager say, “We have a lot of stuff going on for the next two months. I really want to get moving on innovation, but we don’t have any time to spare. I hope we can get to it in a couple months.”
If you are procrastinating with respect to innovation because you think you don’t have the time, think again. Here are five reasons you can’t afford to delay your journey toward building a high-performance innovation organization.
Eat your own lunch before someone else does it for you.
The pace of innovation is getting faster in every industry. Product teams that were stretching to meet 7 year delivery cycles are now being asked to compress the cycle to 3 years. A few things that one can always count on in business are that markets evolve, requirements changes, and competitors are looking for ways to leverage these changes to their advantage. If you are not looking at the ways in which your market and customer needs are evolving, the macro trends that influence these changes, and thinking about where these factors will converge in the future and what you need to do today to be positioned for that future, you are headed toward a serious business problem.
Eliminate business risks
Much of business success is about managing risks. It is because of this that many people who don’t have a clear understanding of the power of innovation best practices will avoid pursuing innovation. Unfortunately for them, this is wrong thinking. Sustainable innovation practice is not about taking on greater risk, it’s about eliminating risks. By doing the right things to identify and assess new opportunities, by using proven methods to drive aligned and precise opportunity and technology down selection processes, by pre-validating conceptual designs before moving them into downstream processes, companies are able to make better choices and invest with higher confidence that they are targeting the right product and market futures.
“What may be done at any time will be done at no time.” – Scottish Proverb
If you are not integrating innovation best practices into you value creation and delivery processes, you are wasting time. People waste time every time they pour effort into solving a problem that someone else in the organization has overcome. Valuable time is wasted with each prototyping cycle that could have been avoided with proper feasibility analysis and validation in advance. Time is lost when mistakes of the past are repeated for the umpteenth time. Conversely, time is saved by using repeatable methods that drive speed to solution and identification of the optimal strategy the first time. When you really look at the full scope of impact achievable through sustainable innovation, there is a net gain of resource time efficiency. It is not an accident that high performance innovation companies seem to move so fast—they do.
The net result of making the right choices, eliminating risks, and saving time through innovation is that you will be driving a more efficient and effective organization. Your teams will be doing more with the same resource footprint. Your company will be finding the lowest cost approaches to delivering the highest quality solutions for your markets. This in turn will give you greater latitude to manage your strategic investments.
While there are cost saving benefits that companies derive from innovation, it is in the dimension of revenue, market share, and profits that innovation delivers its greatest benefits. What is the value of successfully opening a new market? What is the value of grabbing a couple points of market share from your biggest competitor? What is the value impact of increasing your EPS? How important is driving strong top line growth? These questions speak directly to the impact point of successful innovation. But while companies can occasionally stumble into successful innovation, driving corporate value over time requires being able to successfully innovate on a repeatable, sustainable basis. This is the value of building a high performance innovation enterprise.