Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Innovation dashboard: examples of process goals

In an earlier blog, I have proposed that an innovation dashboard is the defining characteristic of a basic form (level-2) of innovation maturity. Most innovation dashboards have a bias for outcome goals – ideas, patents, experiments, participation, savings, revenue, profit, etc. However, those who exercise would know the importance of process goals. For an outcome goal such as weight reduction, it helps to have a process goal such as 10,000 steps a day. What could be the process goals in an innovation dashboard? Here are a few suggestions bucketed under four categories: brainstorms, customer visits, events, and campaigns.

1.     Brainstorms: These are meetings where divergent thinking is encouraged. Types of meetings could be:

a.     Challenge book brainstorm: where challenges relevant to a business, function or customer engagement are brought out / prioritized. The team may decide to take a position on one or two key challenges.

b.     Solution brainstorms: Ideas in response to a challenge are explored together

c.      Journey mapping: Observations from the journey of a product/ service/ issue/ ticket are mapped onto a journey board from which patterns/insights could be derived. 

2.     Customer visits: These could be meetings at customer premises or in the field but these also could be focus group discussions where customers are brought together on vendor’s premises.

a.     Field-visit: The objective here could be to interview customers / potential customers. The intent could also be to validate prototypes.

b.     Focus-group discussion: A toy-maker may bring kids while a medical device maker may bring doctors for a focussed group discussion.

c.      Co-innovation workshops: These are workshops where various stakeholders associated with a challenge area are brought under one roof. For example, for a challenge related to education, one may bring students from different schools, teachers, parents or even dropouts if relevant to understand various perspectives. 

3.     Events: could last half day to 2-3 days. Here are a few possibilities:

a.     Innovation review: This could be a half-day event where all innovation projects get reviewed and resource allocation happens.

b.     Hackathon: This 1 or 2-day event might bring people with ideas related to a challenge area under one roof where they build prototypes and bring their ideas alive.

c.      Training: These programs could be a few days to a few weeks long. As part of these training programs, participants may work on business-relevant challenges, create solutions, build prototypes and even present business cases to a panel.  

d.     Innovation day: This day-long event typically showcases innovations from teams within the organization, gets external speakers, and gets people to talk to each other. 

4.     Campaigns: This is arguably the trickiest category. It involves running a campaign around a challenge perhaps over a month or two. It combines some of the elements mentioned earlier. It begins by identifying a sponsor – a CXO or a business head – who is willing to sponsor promising ideas solving business-relevant problems. Some of the steps involved in a challenge campaign area: finding a sponsor, throwing open a challenge, inviting and selecting ideas, organizing a hackathon for selected ideas, mentoring promising teams to develop the ideas further and making a business case and finally presentations to a panel which selects one or more ideas to carry forward.

Hope these examples help in identifying a few process goals for your innovation dashboard.

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