Yesterday a question was posted on a LinkedIn group I belong to asking who is in charge of innovation in a firm? While this is an interesting question, a deeper question might be how does innovation happen in a firm?
According to Abbie Griffin, a professor at the University of Utah, these are the characteristics of innovative firms:
- They use a formal New Product Development (NPD) process
- They have a specific NPD strategy
- They measure innovation outcomes and having high expectations of their NPD
- They use cross-functional teams (which really gets at the who question raised earlier
- They use different types of qualitative market research to identify customer needs
- They use engineering design tools like CAD
- They close NPD efforts with completion dinners or other public means of celebrating team accomplishments
Others have suggested additional characteristics of innovative firms including:
- They invest in new tools, including information technology, connectivity, computing power, genomics, and nanotechnology
- They have a management team that doesn’t just talk the innovation talk, but walks the walk
- There are significant rewards (both financial and intrinsic rewards) for being innovative and no punishments for innovation failures
- They have relationships with customers and other firms that keep them current on what others are doing
- They have special metrics for innovation projects and new products, rather than using ROI or other metrics more appropriate for established products
- They are risk-takers
Notice that these directives do not include having the smartest people or the most money, but rely heavily on creating a culture of innovation within the firm. Possibly more important than creating innovative products and services is the task of commercializing the innovation.
How can innovations be commercialized?
What are the steps involved in commercialization?
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