MVIS: Most basic blocks for an orderly innovation function (part 3/3)

Innovation is a powerful word that all companies use to show to the market they can stay alive longer!

But, how can they assure that they are really applying innovation everyday with dedicated resources, and mostly aligned to the strategic objectives?

Also, How could you try to discipline something so unpredictable and dynamic? ideas have to flow smoothly, they can not be forced to any format.

That is because I really like this HBR’s note. It is not encapsulating processes or ideas, It’s just defining guidelines!

Day 45 to 90: Create a Mechanism to Shepherd Projects

Resuming our post and following the HBR’s note, this is the last step of our innovation system. Next, I am highlighting some statements that I’ve found interesting.

New-growth’s innovation works under a system “that borrows from venture capital practices”. A system “designed to manage strategic uncertainty”.

You will have to define a group of “senior leaders” with the “autonomy to make decisions about starting, stopping, or redirecting new-growth innovation projects”. You cannot get in the same team executives that are leading day-by-day activities into the company. You will probably fail based on the statement about “VC practices”. You’d be able to rewire this initiative into the standard procedures for every department later.

New growth initiatives should be operated as closer as you can to the group of believers for a while. Try to reconnect it with the standard operation’s practices, as long as they don’t hurt any of the key values. You could need to negotiate new conditions and practices to ensure this transition will succeed.

These are three of the “VC operating procedures” that will be important to follow at the time you shepherd any new growth’s initiatives through the organization:

  • “Venture capital partners often disagree about investment opportunities”…. “you shouldn’t require approval from the entire shepherding group to go ahead”
  • “Corporate innovation shepherds should set a threshold investment amount that project teams can spend themselves without asking for leadership approval”
  • “You should ensure that your shepherds are likewise capable of assembling and making decisions that quickly.”

Turn some of the believers into leaders that can take your new-growth projects to a success. Leaders that know and are not afraid to surf into de organization thinking how to move forward. People that can adapt themselves and not whining at every issue. No one else will support its initiative in the way they will.  Leaders that feels It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Scaling Up the MVIS

Some important considerations to scale your initiative up are:

  • “First, consider hardwiring the components of the MVIS that are working well into more-formal systems”
  • “Second, consider creating specialized functions to carry out parts of the innovation process”. You will need believers that can push forward constantly. No matters what obstacles they find on the road to get a sustained contribution to business from this initiative. It’s not time to retreat, and when you scale, you will find additional issues of course.
  • “Finally, work on the MVIS should highlight some of the larger barriers to innovation inside an organization. These often reside within corporate budgeting, incentive, and strategic-planning systems, which, after all, are designed to further today’s business, not create tomorrow’s”

Almost finishing…

Two final pieces of advice that I’ve found very important to take to your boss if you are a guy that need to push new growth innovations:

  • “One area that absolutely cannot be shortchanged is personnel. If you have no one fully focused on new growth, you’ve decided not to focus on new growth”
  • “How you treat failure is more important than how you reward success. Hiding or fearing failure spawns projects that never die and that suck up all your capacity for innovation”

Well, see you soon!

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