Are your innovation efforts tied to corporate objectives which are clearly communicated?
In corporate america aligning to goals and objectives is critical to keeping resources and expenses in check. Teams going off and spending wildly on misaligned initiatives siphons off funds that can be utilized elsewhere. Often times objectives are either not clearly communicated, change and are not updated or simply lack the clarity needed to resonate with the majority of employees.

All your companies innovation strategy is forming, keep in mind the early checkpoint of making sure the initiative is aligned with a corporate objective. The goal is to not micromanage, which ultimately will impact the teams drive and outcome of the effort, but to point in the right direction early. Then its key to get out of the way and let the effort take shape and gain momentum.

randominnovate2

When referring to the overall innovation effort, I suggest to classify as random or aligned. When looking at historical data is will be a key data point to determine where to make changes in your overall corporate innovation strategy. Tiring an idea or innovation campaign early to an objective and then having occasional check points to determine if the effort is still aligned with current objectives will provide benefit in the long run and present a more complete picture of corporate investment tied to each objective.

I am not dismissing the value of spontaneous innovation often perceived as random. Thinking outside the box which results in ideas that can immediately be related to corporate objectives or shelved for a period of time only to be used in the future is still of value. It is the truly random effort that has no chance of benefiting the company or takes resources away from urgent needs that needs to be monitored and measured.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” — Steve Jobs

And a leader knows where and when to invest his or her companies resources and how to measure the impact. And as Drucker points out, the hardest part is measuring the impact…

“The problem in setting innovation objectives is measuring the relative impact and importance of various innovations. – Peter Drucker

Key to success is ensuring alignment with objectives,  measuring progress and then capturing the outcome in order to quantify the benefit.