The last thirty years have revealed a continual shift in R&D spend and innovation from large organizations to small firms containing fewer than five-thousand employees.¹⋅² To illuminate why, we identified seven chronic problems that we see trip-up innovation efforts in large organizations daily.
Over the last few weeks my co-author of The Chief Innovation Officer’s Playbook, Bill Poston, has drilled into each of these chronic innovation problems in an effort to help executives spot symptoms in their organizations.
As a Chief Innovation Officer, you should identify where these problems reside in your organization and the impact they have on your innovation performance.
I highly encourage you to use the links below to see what Bill has to say about these problems and what you should be doing about them.
The Seven Chronic Innovation Problems
- Lack of an innovation strategy
- What are our organic growth growth goals?
- How much should we invest in innovation?
- What is our tolerance for risk?
- Lack of cross-functional alignment
- Do functional business leaders recognize the value of innovation?
- Is innovation “thrown-over-the-wall” from function to function?
- Overloaded product development pipelines
- Are resources booked over 150% capacity?
- Are projects getting stuck in our pipeline?
- Is there never enough time in a day to focus on fun, high-value projects?
- Rampant incrementalism
- Do incremental projects comprise over 70% of our portfolio?
- Do we balance sustaining core business performance with long-term growth from innovation?
- Do we use different evaluation metrics for innovation initiatives and ongoing operations?
- Unclear accountability for results
- Who has accountability for innovation results?
- Where do they sit in the organization?
- Short-term orientation
- Is employee role turnover impacting project success in-market?
- Is “innovation” something that only happens after the urgent work has been done?
- Lack of skills
- Do our employees have the knowledge, experiences and competencies to innovate successfully?
- What is the average age of our technical and commercial resources?
- Are we actively grooming innovation leaders?
¹ National Science Foundation, Science Resource Studies, Survey of Industrial Research Development, 1991, 1999, 2001, 2013.
² Joseph Schumpeter, The Theory of Economic Development [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1934].