What Is Innovation Strategy?

An innovation strategy will identify:-

  • Where innovation is needed?
  • What type of innovation is needed?
  • How will the innovation be implemented?

Innovation strategy can be developed as part of an organisation’s overall strategy development process.

The strategy development process may reveal a gap between what the organisation wants to achieve at some stage in the future – say five years hence, and what the forecast shows it will achieve by continuing its present policies.

The innovation strategy is needed to determine the innovation activities required to fill this gap.

Just as developing corporate strategy involves analysing both the factors inside the organization and also the external environment within which it operates – so is this the case with developing the innovation strategy.

Firstly, there is a need to analyse the capabilities, technologies and resources within different parts of the organisation. During this analysis it may become clear that different degrees of innovation may be required in different parts of the organisation in order to meet the future targets desired by stakeholders.

One part of the organisation may need to innovate in an incremental way. Another may require more radical innovation to ensure that they can still compete in a rapidly developing market where competitors are developing new technologies quickly.

Developing innovation strategy also requires that you look at your markets and determine how well your organisation’s products and services are satisfying customers. How does your organisation’s customer satisfaction compare to that of your competitors? What areas do you need to focus on for product innovation and service innovations?

A useful framework for analysing this is Kano’s Feature Analysis.

This framework enables the strategist to analyse product features for  both the company’s and competitors’ products by splitting them into three categories:-

  • Basic features. These are attributes without which a product or service would be unacceptable. A mobile phone needs to be useable to make and receive calls.
  • Performance features  These are features that provide a real benefit to the customer – long battery life on a mobile phone.
  • Excitement features These are the features that the customer is unlikely to demand because they are not part of the way that the product is usually seen. However, when they appear on a product the customer is surprised and pleased. In order to identify which things might delight customers the manufacturer needs to have a good research and insight process which will help identify these’ hidden needs’.

A successful new product needs to have the right combination of basic, performance and excitement features.

After classifying features into these three categories, they can be mapped. Mapping can be useful for determining whether the organisation can continue to develop product features and benefits at the rate at which customers require them – or at least as fast as competitors are doing.

The Kano Framework can also be useful for analysing whether customers will continue to demand the same balance of features in the future.

After developing an Innovation strategy, the strategy team and probably a broader team of colleagues need to develop the detailed innovation plans to deliver the innovation strategy.

Creative thinking can play a key role in creating plans that closely align with the innovation strategy.

Innovation Strategy: Business Benefits

The innovation strategy provides direction for the organization in the area of innovation. This helps productivity and motivation.

Many if not all parts of the organisation will need to be involved in order for the organisation to innovate successfully. Teams will need to co-operate on research programmes and partnerships, project selection and prioritisation, innovation training and recruitment and investment decisions. The innovation strategy provides a useful framework to guide these teams.

An innovation strategy also helps the organisation to allocate resources to where they can be used to best effect.

Why Choose Anatellô To Help You Develop Innovation Strategy?

Anatellô consultants are experienced in helping clients in diverse sectors develop innovation strategies. Specifically we can support your teams with:-

  • Analytical frameworks and processes to evaluate your current position and help identify strategic choices, such frameworks provide structure for the process and ensure that all relevant aspects of your business are considered.
  • Creative thinking tools and techniques to generate ideas to fill the gaps. This can help you to further differentiate and ‘future proof’ your strategy.
  • Facilitation and team working skills to help you gather input into the strategy and planning process from a diverse cross section of people in your organisation. This will help you achieve greater buy-in to the innovation strategy.