Why you need an innovation strategy

I’ve long argued that for an organisation to be sustainably innovative – it needs to have an innovation strategy. In my own work of clients, I helped organisations develop the innovation strategy with a dedicated internal, cross functional multilevel team over several days spread over several months. Over this time, we develop a strategy which covers overarching goals, and tactical plans to achieve them, including designating responsibilities and allocating resources. They are highly effective (as you will see in my other blogs)

A recent article by Gary P Pisano (You Need an Innovation Strategy HBR, June 2015) beautifully articulates the essential questions such a strategy must uncover namely:

  1. How innovation create value for your potential customers?
  2. How will the organisation capture value from the innovation it generates?
  3. What types of innovation should your organisation pursue?
  4. What resources should each type receive?

For those who have used our innovation value chain diagnostic – you will see how this follows the steps on innovation goes through from ideation to completion.

Pisano then goes on to articulate how having an explicit innovation strategy helps leaders manage the trade-offs. When strategies are implicit (i.e. when there is no explicit innovation strategy) – it is difficult to manage shifting priorities and trade-offs.  So the first takeaway here is – develop an innovation strategy for your organisation. If you want some more help – download our free article – “10 Must Haves for Your Innovation Strategy“.



He then goes on to articulate, the leadership challenges in developing and permitting an innovation strategy:

  1. Answer and explain to the organisation “how are we expecting innovation to create value for customers and for our organisation?”
  2. Create a high-level plan for allocating resources to innovation activities.
  3. Manage the trade-offs
  4. Evolve the innovation strategy with the times, and organisation (we’ve always said that innovation strategies should be living, breathing, changing documents)

Sound advice and we couldn’t agree more.

If you’d like some help to develop your organisations innovation capability, creative thinking skills, or to diagnose your Innovation Value chain - please get in touch with Cris.