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FCW : May 30, 2014
Bookshelf The decisions you make regarding strategy guide where you focus your innovation efforts. The structure you put into place acts as the foundation for the innovation process. However, even with the proper strategy and structure in place, innovation could fail if your systems are inadequate. The management systems are the mechanisms that, to a great extent, make innovation happen. In small organizations, innovation usually happens as a natural occurrence through the insight, talent and interaction of a small group of people. But as organizations expand, innovation no long happens so naturally --- the right people may not interact, the information may not ow to the right places, and the motivation to take risks may diminish. Organizations as large as General Electric or Proctor & Gamble may develop silos --- compartmentalized departments that barely communicate with each other, much less strive to innovate. This is why larger organizations need systems to manage innovation. Ignoring this and staying anchored in the idea that innovation naturally occurs lead to frustration and failure. The argument that large institutions are not able to innovate may re ect the lack of acceptance of this basic idea: Innovation has to be managed; it does not just "happen." Many managers wrongly assume that structure and process are the natural foes of creativity. What they don t realize is that structure can enhance creativity if you build it and use it the right way. Innovation systems ful ll ve important roles: • Ef ciency. The rst role of an innovation system is to increase the ef ciency of the innovation process. The system needs to move great ideas from concept to commercialization with speed and minimum use of resources. This role is especially relevant for incremental innovation, when following a de ned set of stages and decision points accelerates time-to-market and increases the return on resources invested. This function is comparable to that of systems in manufacturing that codify the stages of the process (according to cost, speed or quality) to increase ef ciency. However, innovation systems are not as detailed and structured as in the systems of an assembly line, where standard operating procedures dictate the actions of each person. Innovation systems --- even those where ef ciency is paramount --- de ne relatively broad stages, leaving room for the team to maneuver. • Communication. The second role of innovation systems is to create the appropriate lines of communication within the organization and with outside constituencies. As the innovation team demands specialized knowledge from other parts of 24 May 30, 2014 FCW.COM This article is adapted from "Making Innovation Work: How to Manage It, Measure It and Profit from It." Building the systems for innovation BY TONY DAVILA, MARC J. EPSTEIN AND ROBERT D. SHELTON Federal agencies can't operate like Silicon Valley startups, but even the largest organization can manage for great innovation
May 15, 2014
June 30, 2014