Planning and Implementing Innovation-Led Growth

Gone are the days when a central innovation team would check off an annual innovation campaign like some technical beancounter.

"If you look at history, innovation doesn't come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect" -Steven Johnson

It's time to innovate together

Today’s innovation leaders obsess about over delivering high-value experiences at every stage of the innovation journey.

They team up with marketing and sales. Find initiators in engineering. Collect ideas from sales. In other words, innovation is woven into the fabric of modern companies. We call these organizations “innovation led.”

Add layers for innovation growth

Innovate on a spectrum of openness.

  • Local idea collections are middle-management driven with a narrower focus and audience.
  • Global idea collections are top-management driven with a broader strategic focus and audience.
  • Public idea collections involve customers and partners in co-creation.

The key is to choose initiatives that complement each other to create a mini-ecosystem of initiatives that feed off each other and drive growth.

Start local

Starting out, you’ll have to make a tough decision: Where do you want to start?

Do you want to launch a one-off idea collection campaign? Do you want to go for continuous idea collection right off the bat? Do you want to collect ideas internally or launch open innovation?

If you are new to idea management, we recommend starting out with a single limited-size internal innovation idea collection.

A local idea collection.

It’s best if at least a part of your organization has made it part of their DNA before you push it out all the way. Of course, if you’re a veteran don’t let us stop you from starting big.

Scale with patience

Good innovation is like really good cheese: It takes patience.

Do you want to launch a one-off idea collection campaign? Do Good innovation is like really good cheese: It takes patience. If you want the very best innovation, you must let it ripen slowly as you perfect it over time.

If this is your first time introducing idea management into your organization, it’s important not to rush things.

Instead, take your time and slowly find your legs by letting things grow organically from one local campaign to your first global campaign and on.

We recommend starting out in e.g. one team and then adding from there as you test, improve, and reiterate to find your own unique style that fits both your innovation goals and your internal culture

Mirror existing structure

You could structure the platform in a thousand different ways - so where to start?

Most idea management platforms offer a flexible structure that caters to a wide variety of possible setups.

Our advice for 90% of companies is to mirror their existing business structure. Create a workspace for each major market to keep things secure and separated. Create team folders for every department. Business challenges are then created in a department and shared from there.

Mirroring the structure is a surefire way to be able to scale the structure across the entire company.

People understand it because it’s familiar and you’re never in doubt. Where’s that marketing challenge? It’s in “Marketing”. Easy.

Set expectations

So, what can you expect to achieve in your first year of Innovation-Led Growth?

It’s important to settle on the right expectations with leadership on your goals for the first months of Innovation-Led Growth.

In our experience it is possible to get familiar with the platform in a day. But give yourself a month to get the basics in place and involve the right people.

In the first year you might not run concurrent Flywheels. It might take a week of planning and some weeks of execution to get the first  on the road. The following Flywheels will be bigger in scale and take a 3-4 months to plan and execute.

How to get familiar

Idea management platforms have come a long way since 1990.

It’s really just clicking around. It’s all there. And if it isn’t, a friendly helpchat is just one click away.

You want to feel ownership of the platform and make people you invite feel at home.

Add your brand colors. Choose a font. Add a logo. Reach out to IT to get Single Sign-On up and running.

This might not seem important but it is surprising how it’s sometimes the little things, you know? For someone visiting the platform for the first time a little familiarity can go a long way.

Why it is time to be open

Get some of your people on board today. Being coy has no place in innovation.

One of the best ways to do this - apart from meetings - is by inviting them to the platform as early as possible. Just add 2-5 relevant people you think might be useful on your shared journey.

Let them know you’re still in the early stages. Most people appreciate openness and who knows, you might uncover some hidden innovator geniuses in the organisation already.

Idea management platforms have come a long way since 1990. It’s really just clicking around. It’s all there. And if it isn’t, a friendly helpchat is just one click away.

Make innovation an internal competency

"What we’ve done to encourage innovation is make it ordinary." -C. Wynett

Your culture will make Innovation-Led Growth a habit, not the exception.

To be able to consistently outcompete other companies, while keeping innovation lean and inexpensive your company needs to  build innovation muscle.

An internal competency is a consistent pattern of behavior that your organisation learns to apply.

By spinning the innovation flywheel across different layers and business areas over time your people will train the right skills, knowledge, goals and motivations to excel at out-innovating your competition.

Innovation will be a natural behaviour. A trained muscle. A known skill. Not an expensive, external measure.

Where will Innovation-Led Growth lead you?

You'll master frictionless and goal-driven innovation across all layers.

You’ll make innovation an internal competency not just an external resource.

You’ll benefit from internal, external, continuous and bottom up innovation.

You’ll use innovation to as a lever to drive cost-savings, revenue increases and reach strategic goals.

Innovation-Led Growth will make you a more resilient, more competitive and future proof business.

When Ideanote was founded by Rune and Andreas Mehlsen in 2015 it was to make ideas matter. We believe every idea has a right to be considered; and every team deserves a simple and efficient workflow for their ideas to make that possible.

Let’s make ideas matter together.

CEO at Ideanote