Digital BusinessInnovation

The greatest challenges of an innovation director

Innovating in the different processes of the company can mean many things: redefining those processes, applying new technologies, looking for points of improvement to increase value. It can be a big, radical change that means a break with previous procedures, or, more gradually, small changes that seek process improvements. Whether radical or gradual, the only mood to innovate becomes a big challenge. What are the biggest challenges an innovation director or CIO faces in a company? 

Challenge 1

Convince managers to invest in the project:

 As fantastic as they are, bosses don’t want you to sell them ideas, – they want business and growth potential -, moreover, they see risks from all angles and sometimes they prefer to do nothing. So, as innovation managers, we need to be loaded with arguments to make it easier to understand business value. Some of the practices that facilitate this work are:

  • Through agile methodologies and processes, prove quickly and at low cost, the success of the project against real users. 
  • Trace and teach metrics where it is clear the importance of investing in the project and talk about the project in terms of tangible results.
  •  When presenting your project, carefully choose every word of your speech, prepare answers to possible questions that could knock down your project. Analyse the possible negative effects that could be generated to have an efficient solution or opportunity prepared in advance, that is, it turns a possible weakness into a strength. 

Challenge 2

Convince the company to incorporate new processes: 

You have to accept it, there is nothing more complicated than changing the way people do things in their day to day. Implementing new ideas and tools in a company usually involves a change in the procedure and the way of working, requires an investment, and possibly an adaptation time. These changes are necessary and require a commitment from all involved, so managers may be afraid to implement changes that involve the risk of the usual operation. To more efficiently argue the value of these changes, you can consider: 

  • Deeply investigate the new process to be implemented. 
  • Research and test. 
  • Then do some research and try a little more. 
  • Expose the change in terms of how the company and team will improve. 
  • Perform recognition strategies, so the team is motivated and flexible to change. 
  • Empower people to understand the importance of adopting these new processes. 

Challenge 3

 Demonstrate project effectiveness:

 Now, how do we show the results? One of the most common concerns in companies is that their innovation projects do not generate enough impact or are not effective enough on business outcomes. Well, to demonstrate the effectiveness of your project it is necessary: 

  • Structure a clear strategy in each new innovation that demonstrates the scope of KPI’s.
  • Make use of agile methodologies and processes, with which you can quickly and at low cost, check the success of the project against real users. 

Did you know that companies that measure their innovation efforts have the opportunity to improve their results instantly? This is true for companies that have the right metrics. 

Challenge 4

Culture of innovation: 

Without culture everything gets complicated. Innovation aims to solve problems or develop opportunities. In order to innovate, it is required that the people who have to participate in the process – all the employees of the company – have an internalized culture of change as an engine of continuous improvement. If the company works on its culture of innovation, changing its processes will be much easier than doing so without it, speeding up the three challenges mentioned above. Therefore, consider the following recommendations:

  • Diagnose the culture of innovation in the company and identify the behaviors that need to be corrected to support innovation.
  • Train the organization’s leaders in innovative leadership for a change of culture, setting an example for the team.
  • Empower staff in general to understand the importance of innovation and its role within it. 

In conclusion, we, innovation directors, have the future of the company in tow, we live in a changing world and this is something that few in an organization have internalized, so bringing easy-to-analyze arguments makes it easy to overcome daily challenges: Don’t forget to create a deep connection with users of new platforms and channels, streamline innovation in products, processes and services, and keep an open mind to learning the way you think of those who don’t see things the same way.

 The capacity for innovation in an organization is no coincidence, on the other hand, it is the result of a good leader and a committed team that understands the importance of innovation and its impact on the growth of frontline revenue.

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