When one innovation is successful, companies inevitably want more. But the challenge then becomes innovating in a bigger, faster, and more productive way, so that you can bring as many new products to market as possible. If this sounds extremely difficult under your current model, it may be time to create a scalable innovation process that works well no matter how many different projects are going on at once.
Here’s how to get started:
1) Define the stages of your innovation process.
For your process to be truly scalable, everyone on the team needs to know what stages are involved. Structure is critical because it keeps your team organized and on the same page. For example, a simple three-stage process might include the following steps: identify the challenge, explore opportunities, trends, and insights, and prioritize ideas. Then, break down the key actions that are associated with each individual stage.
2) Find the sweet spot between randomness and structure.
Once you’ve structured your process and gotten everyone on the same page, make sure you leave a little room for the randomness that fuels so many successful innovations. Remember that there are always exceptions to the rule, and your teams should be flexible enough to adapt when inspiration strikes in an unexpected way.
3) Iterate, iterate, iterate and improve.
The key to a successful and scalable innovation process is to constantly seek opportunities for improvement. Continually look for new ways to streamline and produce more effectively. Never be complacent and remember that there’s always room for growth.
4) Leverage technology.
The reality is that if you’re exclusively working with whiteboards and notepads in a physical space, you can only scale so far. Global companies in particular need to leverage the technology and mobile tools that are available to them, so that your team members can work together in a meaningful way no matter where they’re located.
In short, a scalable innovation process is an absolute necessity for all companies, but especially for those that are operating globally. It ensures that you can develop and bring as many new concepts to market as possible – edging out the competition and ensuring that consumers stay connected to your brand.
Here’s a terrific example of rethinking the approach to innovation. Before adopting Batterii, each team at adidas had a separate process for saving consumer insights and product inspiration. By adopting Batterii, adidas had the structure to share information and consumer insights globally, helping to fuel their product innovation process and speed up time to market. To learn more, check out our Adidas case study here.