Innovation is perennially at the top of CEO agendas, yet many executives continue to be frustrated with the hit-or-miss pace and results of their transformation programs. The problem isn’t usually a lack of good ideas. Initiatives take too long, non-strategic projects get greenlighted at the expense of game changers, dynamic ideas remain captive in the heads of employees.

What’s missing is a system of enablers that work together to support innovation. Our experience with industry leaders shows that when the right people, processes, and metrics come together in a “growth factory,” they can transform how innovation happens, galvanize employees’ creativity, and create long-term competitive advantage.

Our innovation capabilities practice team works with top leadership to make help improve innovation discipline by:

  • Evaluating innovation readiness and benchmark against best practices
  • Building a capability to define and launch new growth businesses
  • Creating or renewing a culture of innovation with a shared vision, a world-class skill-set, and committed leadership
  • Improving customer-centricity by organizing around customer jobs to be done
  • Developing the next generation of innovation leaders
  • Establishing governance systems that enable fast and smart decision making

Building a Growth Factory

Innovation is not inherently unpredictable, and it does not require a heavy dose of serendipity to be successful. When companies take a systems approach, they can pursue innovation in a way that reliably generates repeatable results. A growth factory goes beyond piecemeal efforts like hackathons and special task forces to strengthen four essential organizational enablers and get them working in concert. The framework is based on four components:

  1. A growth blueprint that details the innovation type you are pursuing, along with goals and guidelines for getting there.
  2. Production systems that transform the raw materials of innovation—ideas—into tangible new products and services.
  3. Governance and controls that enable the management structure to scale innovations to deliver impact and growth.
  4. Leadership, talent, and culture that feature the right people, in the right roles, doing and saying the right things.

We work with companies to benchmark and assess current innovation efforts, identify gaps, blueprint a detailed roadmap, and design and put into place the enablers for the development of a smooth functioning growth factory.

Our work with leading companies like Citi and P&G, as well as hospitals and other institutions, points to the dramatic benefits– from leadership alignment to resource optimization to dramatic improvements in innovation success rates.

Starting Out: A 90-Day Innovation System

For organizations just starting to build an innovation capability, or looking to bring more discipline to ad hoc efforts, a lean and mean approach can generate quick wins and lay the groundwork for broader change. Our “minimum viable innovation system” (MVIS) approach helps organizations put into place the essential building blocks that will allow them to begin creating a reliable, strategically focused innovation function.

The MVIS concept is inspired by the world of lean start-ups, where a “minimum viable product” allows entrepreneurs to design and launch new concepts and gain insights quickly.

An MVIS enables companies to ensure that good ideas are identified, prioritized, resourced, developed, rewarded, and celebrated. The payoff is often profound. We work with companies across a range of industries to build capabilities and create innovation systems in as little as 90 days by:

  • Determining the gap between growth goals and current operations
  • Creating distinct core and new-growth innovation efforts
  • Identifying priority areas to explore that align with what customers need and you can deliver
  • Creating a small, dedicated innovation team and embedding with the team on its first set of projects
  • Ensuring the right mechanisms and leadership are in place to accelerate good ideas

To exercise these innovation capabilities, Innosight often works with clients to launch a demonstration project. This involves selecting from a portfolio of proposals a concept that can lead to a quick win. Such demonstrations serve as a powerful proof point to the rest of the organization.

Creating the Jobs-Focused Organization

Many companies that start out with an intense focus on customers can, as they get bigger and more successful, lose sight of what their customers really value and want. We help successful companies restore that focus by organizing their people, purpose and operations around customer jobs to be done.

We use the jobs to be done framework because it provides deep insight into what truly drives customer intent and purchase. Unlike traditional ways of understanding who customers are – by looking at characteristics and demographics – jobs to be done looks at what customers are trying to accomplish – the fundamental progress a person is trying to make within a circumstance.

It’s a distinction with an important difference. Understanding customers at a more fundamental level provides a superior guide for innovation, yielding better and more predictable results. It is also a powerful way to organize and focus your company’s key activities so that they are working in unison to deliver unique, differentiated customer experiences.

The benefits of a jobs-focused management approach can be profound. Leaders can articulate their company’s purpose in a way that unifies its culture around a customer-centric mission. Employees can make better, more autonomous decisions. Resources are optimized because priorities become clear, enabling work to focus on what matters to the customer. Measurement of the right things provides more meaningful insight into how the business is doing.

We work with leading organizations to help them align strategy, organization, systems and culture around customer jobs to be done. We focus on a wide range of enablers such as:

  • Using an understanding of current and future customer jobs to determine where to play and how to win
  • Organizational design that is optimized for the delivery of an exceptional customer experience
  • Establishing metrics and key performance indicators that focus on what customers value

Our work with Innosight showed us how to transform our organization to seize tomorrow’s opportunities.”

Gerry Ablaza, CEO, Manila Water

Creating a Culture of Innovation

Many clients tell us their most critical issue is tapping into the latent innovation capacity that exists in their organization to build a culture of innovation. Such a culture is one in which innovation habits, such as understanding customers, bringing diverse groups together to develop solutions, sharing rough ideas, and experimenting come naturally and are part of day-to-day routines and rituals. That kind of culture is not the natural state in most organizations, where the default is to focus on executing today with ever-precise discipline, not inventing tomorrow.

We can help build a culture of innovation through applied work where we diagnose the root causes inhibiting success, implement key systems, work on initiatives to showcase new ways of working, and serve as active members of key governance functions. We also work with clients to design and execute special-purpose leadership development programs that help leaders experientially develop the skills to run tomorrow’s enterprise.