While corporate innovators have a constant push for forward momentum, to get to market faster, and to increase the value of the innovation pipeline, there is value in a regular tap on the business brakes to assess how innovation is working, with a check on the health of the overall innovation organization.
By setting up governance approaches, outside of standard project toll gating, corporations can keep the innovation engines running, while reviewing how the business is doing overall. While portfolio reviews are critical, there are other factors that should be considered. Has the business set an innovation revenue target that is achievable? Is there a 70/20/10 strategy, but 90% of resources are going to incremental innovation? Does the total portfolio optimize the performance of cross-business resources such as finance or supply chain? Are there lingering initiatives that need to be shelved, but no one is pulling the trigger? How is the innovation organization staffed and rewarded, and does this support our innovation goals? What disruptors are expected in our industry, and is our innovation community ready to take them on?
Reviewing innovation health should not be a deterrent to the pace of innovation. No doubt, some day to day innovation resources will be required to report out on individual initiative and team performance, but maintaining on-going reporting disciplines can simplify this process. By establishing a consistent, fact-based governance approach based in the corporation’s innovation objectives, led by nimble, cross-functional forums, corporations should be able to quickly see how the organization is doing, and course-correct where needed.
By having a clear picture of the total innovation health of the business, it becomes easier to make the decisions needed to pivot resources to higher-value work. It should remove a lot of the emotional baggage that can come from killing projects, while building a stronger corporate innovation community overall.