Organizations invest enormous resources to strengthen their capabilities and capacity to innovate but are often disappointed by the results. Building an innovation capability is a systems design challenge that requires a system solution; if instead you try to build it by cobbling together isolated point solutions, each is likely to fail in entirely predictable ways.

To address this, leaders need a model to help them understand the components of a well-functioning innovation system, how they fit together, and how they connect to the rest of the organization. The innovation performance model can be used to map an organization’s current approach to innovation, assess what’s working well and identify areas for improvement. This, in turn, can help leaders to strengthen their own systems for innovation, building on the foundations already in place.

The innovation performance model describes the five primary components of a complete innovation system — performance, priorities, pathways, portfolios, people. The model is best understood by considering each “P” individually, including the unique role it plays, the enablers that comprise it and how it relates to the rest of the system.

Every large organization has, at some time, demonstrated its capacity to innovate successfully (or it would never have achieved success). However, that sense of achievement can calcify leadership structures and shift focus away from customer understanding toward product or operational excellence.

Leaders who seek to understand their system today and take steps to strengthen it across the five dimensions of innovation performance are investing in the engine that will help their organizations own the future.