5 reasons why your business needs an innovation framework now

When your company is facing a slow-down of ideas or losing its competitive edge, an innovation framework can make all the difference.

Innovation frameworks are an effective way businesses can regain a competitive edge over their competitors by tapping into already existing talent and ideas to help create something new, innovative, and impactful for the business.

What is an innovation framework?

Innovation frameworks are a strategic structure designed to give organizations the ability to tap into ideas, evaluate the strengths and weakness of each, make informed decisions and build strategies to turn ideas into value-generating opportunities for the business.

Whether you’re a locally based SME or a global enterprise, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not taping into the potential talent and idea within your organizations.

Why your business needs an innovation framework

So, you now know what an innovation framework is but how does it impact and benefit my business? Here’s our top 5 reasons why an innovation framework would be essential for your business.

1.      Innovation frameworks helps businesses solve problems

Innovation frameworks can help address existing problems by using resource from within the organization itself, because who knows you better than the people that are doing it – day in, day out. But innovation frameworks aren’t limited to just internal talent. They can help businesses effectively source ideas from pretty much anyone and everyone.

Introducing proper innovation frameworks encourages employees to be more willing to put out their ideas, from the simple to the complete out-of-the-box ideas. Never underestimate the out of the ordinary solutions that can pop up from unexpected people.

LEGO’s Shared Vision strategy is primary example. The company which was struggling in the 1990s started Lego Idea, a open innovation model which allowed consumers to design their own LEGO sets and vote for their favourite designs. This strategy gave LEGO direct insight into their consumers wants, reducing the risk of innovation and increasing consumer interaction.

2.      Innovation frameworks helps businesses adapt to change

The world is changing faster than ever before. One day you have got a new technology and the next thing you know a whole industry has been replaced by automation in less than a decade. The fast rate of technological innovation is making business adaptability a complete necessity to remain relevant.

Innovation frameworks, when coupled with business cultures that encourage innovation and fosters out-of-the-box thinking, opens the doors to unexpected ideas that can even pre-empt revolutionary changes or effectively adapt to changes in the market.

These frameworks can also help reduce barriers to change by pulling on perspectives and practices that employees currently use and incrementally adapting them to be more future-oriented.

Businesses should never fall into a position of complacency. The case of Nokia is a cautionary tale to those who do not heed the warnings of change. The lack of adaptability brought the world’s best-selling mobile phone brand and household name down to a mere nostalgic memory lost in the past.

3.      Innovation frameworks help maximize on global opportunities

Our world is becoming more and more interconnected and there are growing opportunities as well as emerging challenges that come with it. Innovating quickly and appropriately will allow your business to properly capitalize on these global opportunities.

Innovation frameworks are particularly helpful for global enterprise with employees from different backgrounds and cultures. Sometimes a local problem can benefit from an external perspective to help put a unique twist the businesses strategies.

There are also times when strategies could translate across cultures and regions and give the business of bigger, overarching strategy that aligns all its separated global arms.

Ikea is the perfect example of a business that effectively uses innovation frameworks to maximize on their global opportunities. With nearly 450 stores in 58 countries, Ikea has been able to stay the world’s largest furniture retailer by their intentional culture of innovation across all fields. They are constantly gathering ideas from top-level managers to everyday employees to identify new trends, ideas and opportunities.

4.      Innovation frameworks helps evolve workplace dynamics

By 2025, millennials will make up the largest percentage of the global workforce and will bring with them a whole different outlook, culture, and ideas.

Millennials are masters of digital communication, creatively-oriented, feedback-driven and group-centred workers. They value collaboration and equality. Businesses need to adapt their engagement models to bring the best out of their employees.

Innovation frameworks are an effective tool to help bring in these workplace changes and foster the culture of equality and openness millennials seek in their workplaces. Virtual innovation centres are an example of how businesses are adapting to the millennial tech-savvy nature and tapping into their ideas.

5.      Innovation frameworks helps businesses adapt to changing customer tastes and preferences

Consumers have a wide range of products to choose from and businesses can’t always keep up with all the changes. Very often employees themselves are customers and can identify certain gaps, opportunities and trends the business could benefit from, so don’t overlook them.

McDonald’s Japan is constantly adapting to the unique local culture of seasonal products. From sakura-themed drinks in the spring to Halloween limited special menus. They have even had innovative collaborations with PokemonGo which took the country by storm. This strategy moved McDonalds from your everyday, boring fast food joint to a constantly innovating and creative food business that has customers on their toes waiting for their newest product.

How can I build an Innovation Framework?

Now you know why your business needs an innovation framework but how do you start building one? Sadly, building an effective innovation framework isn’t as easy as copy-and-pasting someone else’s system. Gary Pisano from Harvard Business School explains this perfectly.

“There is no one system that fits all companies equally well or works under all circumstances. There is nothing wrong, of course, with learning from others, but it is a mistake to believe that what works for, say, Apple (today’s favorite innovator) is going to work for your organization. An explicit innovation strategy helps you design a system to match your specific competitive needs.”

But don’t worry, we’ve put together a guide to building effective innovation frameworks to get you started.

Be sure to keep an eye out for more insightful posts like this on our blog and put your business in the lead.

Maurizio Marmotta

Maurizio Marmotta

Maurizio is a PMO Specialist at EPM Partners and has 25 years of experience in workflow software, data-driven decisioning tools, digital marketing.

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