The results of the BCG Global Innovation Survey (2015) have highlighted a concerning reality – twenty-two per cent of global executives claim that not enough great ideas are an obstacle to achieving the highest possible innovation return on investment (ROI).
As an innovation consultant, this is something that I’ve seen time and again, and organisations must take action if they are to make the most of their innovations.
I believe that the answer lies in people-driven innovation.
While investing in ideation processes at first glance may seem like a viable solution, there are other ways companies can address this issue beyond just creating new ideas.
Here I explain how more mature businesses should be looking to capture existing ‘great ideas’ through knowledge transfer processes, ultimately leading to higher ROI from innovation activities overall.
Getting Back To Basics – Ideation
Creating new ideas is undoubtedly important for any organisation looking to innovate.
Processes such as brainstorming and design jams allow everyone to share their thoughts and opinions. The power of collective intelligence can often lead to some truly inspiring and revolutionary solutions which have the potential to create real commercial advantages for companies.
However, an increased focus on ideation doesn’t always guarantee returns, particularly when these processes don’t stimulate the long-term creativity necessary for sustainable success.
As businesses become more established, they tend to adopt key roles that often require experienced personnel who stay with them longer.
The scalability that comes with adding certain individuals into these roles can help drive further growth, but it also means that if any one person leaves suddenly, there is a risk that some essential knowledge or experience could be lost with them. Having processes that ensure maximum transferability of skills and information between staff provides much greater ROI security than relying solely on new ideas generated through ideation activities.
Innovation Transfer & Knowledge Capture
A successful business must plan for ‘what comes next’ by creating a knowledge transfer process that captures information from departing team members and distributes it across other departments or teams.
This ‘innovation transfer’ method allows organisations to capitalise on existing skillsets within their workforce, giving them a much higher potential for long-term gains from their investments in innovation projects. It also helps them track new projects more easily whilst providing common goals for employees throughout different areas of the business, thus placing all stakeholders at ease about their investment into fresh talent or initiatives going forward.
Trust And Encouragement Are Key To Success
Ultimately though, companies need acts of trust between staff and management if these systems are going to work effectively; something every thriving business places huge value upon anyway to promote team morale and productivity levels overall.
Investing in positive company culture will pay dividends by creating an environment where employees feel comfortable enough to share insights without fear – helping build understanding towards the objectives set out by managers at all levels within an organisation. Commitment towards such methods gives organisations confidence that their knowledge-sharing investments will generate tangible ROI results over time, particularly when allied with suitable incentives or reward systems directly attributed towards performance improvements generated by the successful adoption of such initiatives.
Ideation is an important part of innovation, but it’s only one aspect. Companies should also be looking to capture existing knowledge and ideas from their teams through knowledge transfer processes that enable them to drive higher ROI from their investments in innovation activities overall. By creating a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable enough to share their insights, businesses can better trust in the abilities of all those involved in a project and ultimately achieve much greater success.
This is even more relevant as companies look to embrace new technologies like AI, AR and VR, which open up even more possibilities towards how they approach innovation across different areas of their operation. There has never been a better time for businesses to commit to a knowledge transfer approach, and the results could be truly transformational for those who do.