Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Time for a Total Innovation System

By Ricardo Dos Santos
Director, 4iNNO
Lecturer of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, San Diego State University

My days as a practitioner and student of Lean Production at AutoEuropa (VW) and MIT taught me a simple, but value lesson – “It’s the System, Stupid”

All the different components of “how to do more with less” were available (production efficiency and reliability, quality, supplier integration, employee involvement, etc.) – Toyota was first to put them all under one umbrella and “drove” the company by a well-integrated, waste-reduction system – and a strategic battle cry to boot (win by being the best)!

When I turned my attention to Innovation Management (beginning with internal and external benchmarking studies I conducted at Qualcomm and continuing today), I noticed it was “way behind” production management. No company had a complete and reproducible system and the few individual intrapreneurial heroes that were succeeding, were succeeding intuitively (or thru luck), succeeding despite not because of a system. Every company has innovation efforts to showcase, alas mostly disjointed, territorial, subservient (to sustaining R&D spend or prolonging existing business models), boring, unambitious, delusional, over-bloated or starved. The corporate innovation situation isn’t just wasteful, it’s shameful. Professional innovation management has not arrived, not surprisingly, since Innovation as the strategy has not arrived (Strategy today is largely about controlling what one can see, not commitment to creating new sources of happiness for mankind, aka, Innovation).

Steve Blank whom I didn’t know at the time, was pointing out flaws in the startup system – which was even more depressing!  The good thing was that Lean Startups were becoming a thing, with a promise to match the impact of Lean Production (again, with the same simple motto of “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing systemically.”)

So I think we can now begin to think about Innovation or the production of ideas as we think about production of things.  All the individual components seem to be there (Design Thinking, Agile Development, Business Model Generation, Experiential Learning, Staged Risk Investments, Horizon/Portfolio Management, Disruptive Innovation, Open Innovation, etc.).

Thus, for a single company, we can migrate from talking about innovation in disparate terms to a Total Innovation System comprised primarily of:

  • Values & Mindset
  • Governance
  • Strategy (Functions)
  • Structure (Forms)
  • Processes & Tools
  • People & Incentives

My personal term for Total Innovation is “Collective Entrepreneurship”, emphasizing an ultra-connected support ecosystem and the bold nature of entrepreneurship – Florence and Silicon Valley are good regional examples.  Regions can become this, but companies cannot under current design – they must change several structural components, mindset, and governance.

So if we really believe “it’s the system, stupid”, the corollary big idea is to NOT do an innovation initiative in a vacuum (been there done that myself!).  Things have to be done, rather explored, in concert.

Thus, for example, if you are having an innovation pilot project within a business unit to see if they can use Lean Startup Processes to best develop their idea, what else is being assessed?

  • Is the nature of the idea itself testing the strategic boundaries for the company (i.e., what it will and what it will not do)?
  • Is the idea fitting a portfolio gap of some importance?  Is it chipping away at a bigger thing?
  • Is there a structural support system that is also being tested?  (Doing ideas within the BU’s themselves, supported by a corporate staff/R&D/mentors?)
  • Is there a commitment to Decision Making based on innovation vs. execution metrics?
  • Is there a unique “pay back” tool being tested? (e.g. Value of Experiments™:  Option Value + Strategic Value + Exit Value)
  • Is there a unique employee development and incentive system being tested?
  • Are the foundational values being grasped ?

Time to see innovation as a holistic practice, imbedded in the fabric of the corporation much like what we have done with Lean Production (including Quality Management).  We now take for granted that Excellence in Execution happens everywhere throughout a company and its supporting partner ecosystem – It’s part of the “job to be done” by the system as whole, as Tony Ulwich would say. Isn’t it time that Innovation also becomes part of the job to be done, the very nature of the corporation (and not just of startups and government)? Skeptical? Fine. We can always stick to maximizing shareholder value as the purpose of the corporation… but not if I can help it.

This article originally appeared on

About the Author

Ricardo dos Santos is a leading expert on entrepreneurship and innovation, having amassed more than 20 years experience driving internal ventures at major corporations and founding and leading early stage startups.

In 2012, Ricardo brought that experience and his vast knowledge of the Lean Startup methodology he learned directly under its creator, Steve Blank to Biological Dynamics, a molecular diagnostics startup focused on oncology. Serving as Biological Dynamics’ chief business officer, Ricardo has helped the company search for a scalable business model while successfully securing multiple rounds of funding

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Competitive Intelligence: The Innovation X-Factor

By Celeste L. Corrado, MSIS, MBA
Strategy, Innovation and Information Systems Expert 

Over 90% of CEOs cite innovation as a top priority and driver of growth for their companies. With many organizations focused on innovation as a growth driver, there is an increasing emphasis on creating innovation systems or platforms that can systematically enable and deliver the next generation of products/technologies or venture opportunities. Many of the larger established organizations have developed innovation systems comprised of processes (e.g. stage and gate), tools, technologies and the expertise required to enable a continuous pipeline of ideas and growth opportunities (see figure 1). How and when Competitive Intelligence (CI) is leveraged and delivered within these innovation systems creates the basis for determining which opportunities to fund and develop further. The right CI artifacts delivered at the appropriate stage of the venture lifecycle is considered the “Innovation X-Factor” because it is a critical factor in determining venture success.

Figure 1: Corporate Innovation Systems

How CI Helps Companies Innovate 

Large organizations are inherently risk-averse yet the very nature of innovation is risky business. An agile and reliable CI program strategically embedded within an innovation system is of great value because it can significantly decrease uncertainty, offsetting the inherent risks of innovative initiatives. With the right CI artifacts, uncertainty and risk can be managed and mitigated. For this reason, many companies choose to incorporate a stage and gate process, where each gate has a set of criteria corresponding to the type of information required to make an informed investment decision, very similar to Key Intelligence Questions (KIQs).

In this process, after the idea is discovered, investment decisions are made at five points:
  • Stage 1 – Scoping and preliminary investigation
  • Stage 2 – Building the business case
  • Stage 3 – Developing the idea into a feasible plan 
  • Stage 4 – Testing and validating the new product
  • Stage 5 – Launching the product
As an opportunity or venture is evaluated and proceeds through a “gate” with a “go” decision, it is moved to the next stage. Each progressive stage and gate requires a significant increase in CI rigor and fidelity to drive down risk and uncertainty (see figure 2) and inform decision making. At the later stages of venture development, a company is investing significant resources, making it critical that key insights be built upon a CI fact base that is as accurate and relevant as possible. Strategically embedding CI capabilities tailored to an organization’s innovation platform and risk tolerance can significantly draw down the degree of uncertainty at each stage of venture development and facilitate informed investment decisions.

Figure 2: CI Rigor vs. Investment vs. Risk

8 Key Components

Innovation systems typically run lean and require a CI capability that supports agile, flexible, high precision, and affordable solutions. To be effective, CI diligence should be integrated throughout each stage and gate of the venture life cycle (Ideation to Commercialization). Below are some of the key components of a CI functionality embedded in an innovation system:
  • Success (Gate) Criteria: A clear set of progressively rigorous decision criteria or questions is developed for each gate of the venture development lifecycle. These are very similar to Key Intelligence Questions (KIQ). 
  • CI X-Factor Resources: Staffing this type of CI function is challenging because it requires access to entrepreneurial multi-functional talent and the ability to quickly identify the unique information requirements critical to a venture’s success. 
  • The CI Cycle: The CI cycle when embedded in innovation systems must be agile and efficient in order to meet time-to-market requirements.
  • Actionable Insights: The CI X-Factor team must be able to respond quickly in providing relevant, high quality and “actionable” CI artifacts that lead to “go” or “no-go” investment decisions at each gate.  
  • CI Tools & Data Sources: Acquiring fundamental tools and data sources to support the type of research and analysis required at each stage and gate is critical yet can be an on-going struggle given funding constraints.
  • Metrics: The closed nature of innovation systems provides an opportunity to measure the impact/effectiveness of the CI function and its outcomes. These metrics are important in demonstrating CI value and continuously improving the process.  
  • Searchable Repository: Since each stage and gate builds upon the next, it is critical that all CI artifacts, including key gate decisions, be captured and stored so they can easily be accessed and reused throughout the venture’s lifecycle.
  • Lessons learned: Incorporating a method for sharing lessons learned is important in continuously improving CI efforts.  
Monitor, Measure and Improve

Many innovation systems are designed to closely track a portfolio of ideas/innovations from inception to launch or divestiture. In other words, the entire lifecycle, including every stage of development, is captured in a searchable repository including CI artifacts and corresponding “gate” decision documentation and evaluations. These artifacts are easily accessed and can be leveraged, revised or augmented at each stage of development. This type of closed system is a unique opportunity to closely monitor, measure and improve the effectiveness and impact of the embedded CI program as it relates to venture outcomes.

What’s Next?    

In summary, a CI function embedded in an innovation system is instrumental in reducing uncertainty and driving venture success.  However, the CI function within these systems must be agile, low cost, lean and effective at delivering the right information at the appropriate stage of development. Of interest is the fact that innovation systems typically track and monitor the progress of the venture through the venture life cycle, creating an opportunity to measure CI efficacy (e.g. the quality of the decisions made at each gate, number of ventures launched, return on investment, CI cycle time).

As innovation systems continue to evolve, there will be an increasing demand to advance the CI capabilities and techniques embedded within these systems. They must be more agile, affordable, reliable and flexible than core CI programs. Could the evolution and proliferation of innovation systems drive the demand for newer more agile CI platforms, tool, and techniques? Could advances in information systems and technologies create lower cost/higher fidelity CI solutions? Could these solutions pave the way for the next generation of CI programs, expertise, techniques, and tools?

About the Author

Ms. Corrado is a competitive intelligence professional and an expert in strategy, advanced technology (R&D) development and corporate innovation systems. She offers a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities of incorporating competitive intelligence capabilities within innovation systems and platforms. In addition, she is the founder of Vizeon Solutions, providing results-driven innovation, competitive intelligence, technology, and business solutions to Fortune 500 clients. Prior to Vizeon Solutions, Ms. Corrado developed, launched and led the start-up commercial “innovation platform” for Lockheed Martin’s New Ventures organization. Through that effort, she is credited with developing a lean, agile competitive intelligence program tailored to the company’s innovation objectives and funding availability. For more information please contact the author at

Monday, August 11, 2014

Act Now to Reserve Your Company’s Spot at Our Next IT Think Tank

Never before have CIOs and IT team been so critical to the company's growth strategy, and never has it been so important to showcase IT's impact on the business. While there are definitely challenges ahead, this is a time of significant and electrifying change for IT executives. New industries, business models, and products will emerge, organizational roles and relationships will be redefined, and IT will be at the epicenter of it all.

Frost & Sullivan is pleased to announce the 3rdAnnual ConNEXTions 2015: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, featuring a unique format designed specifically to help CIOs and other IT professionals navigate this new environment and plan for the future. In an effort to maximize the value of this think tank and its interactive discussions, Frost & Sullivan has invited a selection of cross-vertical IT leaders. Most of the content will be PowerPoint-free, relying instead on interactive discussions to engage peers in small groups to facilitate candid discussions and cross-industry leaning. The date and location have been confirmed for February 8-10, 2015, in San Francisco.

For this year’s event, Frost & Sullivan has invited representatives from sectors such as:
  • Information and Communication Technology (eBay, Expedia, Yahoo!, Xerox, Honeywell)
  • Financial Services (The Blackstone Group, Charles Schwab, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo)
  • Government Administration (U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Commerce, City of Palo Alto, California Department of Public Health, Office of Management and Budget)
  • Healthcare and Medical Devices (Abbott Laboratories, Cardinal Health, CVS Caremark, United Health Group, Quest Diagnostics)

Building close relationships with peers in other organizations and industries will be critical for IT leaders to develop the innovative ideas and best practices needed to help their companies succeed in the future. Past participants agree the unique format of a Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange offers the best opportunities to network, build relationships, and share best practices with peers.

To make sure your company is represented in this innovative information technology think tank, be sure to take advantage of Frost & Sullivan’s new Colleagues and Clients referral program. If you refer a colleague, you’ll receive a $100 discount on your next Frost & Sullivan event. And If the person you refer registers for ConNEXTions, that discount will increase to $250.

To maximize your savings, let your company’s IT leadership know about the 3rd Annual ConNEXTions 2015: A Frost & SullivanExecutive MindXchange today.

Submit Your Nomination for the 2015 CIO Impact Awards

All industries are changing fast, and no business can survive without serious digital innovation. As a result, CIOs and other IT leaders have never been more integral to their organizations’ success than they are now.

At the 2015 CIO Impact Award and Gala, Frost & Sullivan will honor those IT leaders who are true game-changers and have stepped up to help their companies innovate, overcome challenges, and capitalize on new opportunities. To make sure your organization or others are considered, submit your nomination today. Nominations will be accepted through October 17, 2014, and are open to companies and their IT teams from around the world. For each nomination submitted, nominees are required to identify a senior project sponsor at the VP level or above.

Held annually during CoNEXTions: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, The CIO Impact Awards honor enterprise teams and individuals that are enabling breakthrough new business models and strategies through the innovative use of transformative technologies.

The CIO Impact Awards recognize top performers in the following categories:

  • Enterprise Social Networking
  • Advanced Software Development
  • Advanced Analytics and Big Data
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Mobility
  • Cloud Computing
  • Unified Communications and Collaboration
  • Data and Network Resilience

In addition those award categories, the CIO Impact Awards will honor two CIO Innovators of the Year from among all of the project award winners. These winners are CIOs whose teams had the most positive impact on their enterprises’ strategic innovation and who delivered a significant competitive advantage.

Winners of the CIO Impact Awards will be presented with their award at the gala on the final day of the event, February 10, 2015, in San Francisco, and will be recognized in front of their peers as global IT leaders.

The People Who Innovate: Hiring, Managing, and Empowering Innovation Teams

James Stikeleather
Executive Strategist

We live in unprecedented times. Over the past twenty years, nothing has transformed business as thoroughly, or as frequently as the need to innovate – our products and services, our operating models, our business models, and now our management models. Though innovation can happen by chance, that shouldn't leave your company crossing its fingers and hoping for the next big idea to come along. How can we prepare ourselves, our teams, and our organizations to be continuously and sustainably innovating? In this keynote presentation from the 8th Annual Innovation in New Product Development: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, James Stikeleather, Executive Strategist at Dell, offered some insight.


Most people think that innovation is defined by a new product or a new service. However, the newest technology does not drive change, Stikeleather said, but rather just accelerates the change that is already occurring.

The real key to sustainable innovation is having the right people, the right leadership, and the right culture in place.


Innovation requires three different types of people, Stikeleather said:

  • The innovators who create new ideas
  • People who can manifest those ideas and make them feasible, and
  • Those who can function as a market driver to communicate the innovation to people so they buy it or invest in it. 

Those people don’t need to come from outside the organization, Stikeleather said. Dell believes companies can train employees they already have to innovate, and to do that they must create an environment that allows people innovate. That requires developing a common way of talking about innovation that’s consistent with the organization’s culture, as well as offering the right rewards and incentives for new innovations.

One key that Stikeleather stressed is that this cultural change must come from the top. When innovation is the goal, the leader’s role  changes compared to other management situations, Stikeleather said.

Leaders must be actively engaged as participants and function more as mentors, rather than managers. It’s important for executives to listen to ideas without judgment, and to break the rules in order to stimulate innovation.


When it comes to innovation, businesses often struggle with knowing where to begin. To get started, Stikeleather said, organizations should:

  • Create an “innovation group” to function as mentors, facilitators, and accelerators of cultural change.
  • Alter management styles to encourage cultural change from the top down.
  • Develop the necessary structure for innovation, including the processes, frameworks, and systems for generating, refining, and implementing new ideas.
  • Establish an “innovation portfolio,” and evaluate the group based on how many of those innovations the group can kill off, either through successful implementation or by trying new ideas and failing.

This innovation group should be a temporary arrangement, Stikeleather said. Once everything is working, the company should dismantle the group and make innovation the responsibility of everyone in the organization.


Most companies can do anything once, Stikeleather said, but the real key when it comes to innovation is whether they can do it sustainably. Doing that requires an adjustment in how the entire organization thinks and functions.


How can a company become more innovative? One key is to move from convergent to divergent thinking.
Convergent thinking is objective, rational, and analytic, and it revolves around specific details, Stikeleather said. Divergent thinking, on the other hand, is more creative, holistic, and qualitative.


For organizations moving to a more innovative culture, Stikeleather offered three dimensions of success:

1. Attitude – Leaders must move to a more visionary role in order to drive innovation, but at the same time they have to be pragmatic and practical.

2. Focus – Innovation can only do so much at one time, so it’s important to focus efforts on key areas. Leaders should ask:

  • What creates the most value for our customers? 
  • What can we do better than anybody else? 
  • What are we required to do for legal and regulatory reasons?

3. Technology and business models – For innovation to be sustainable and repeatable, organizations must standardize what they’re doing and make sure the right processes and systems are in place.


When people think about innovation, they most often think of it in terms of creating new products and services. However, organizations typically get more value out of innovating with business models and business processes, Stikeleather said.

In fact, research has shown that the return on investment is 30 times greater for business model and business process innovation than with products and services innovation.


To help drive that process innovation, organizations must ask themselves: What are you going to do differently than you do today?

A key area to look at should be how the organization can be simplified, Stikeleather said. The hardest thing will be figuring out what parts to give up, but it’s important to understand that letting someone else handle those processes can help the company focus on what it does best.


When encouraging business model and business process innovation, leaders must let people sound off their ideas and help them determine if they are valuable and viable.

In addition, as with any other business initiative, measuring success is critical. Organizations need to develop and track appropriate metrics, Stikeleather said. Unless companies can measure success, they won’t know if the efforts to improve innovation are working.


To create an innovative culture, leaders must limit regulations and laws in the organization, Stikeleather said. Companies shouldn’t make people do things just for the sake of having a rule in place. Rules are often the biggest barrier to innovation, and breaking the rules is critical for creativity.

For more valuable insight from the 8th Annual Innovation in New Product Development: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, be sure download a copy of Frost & Sullivan’s Executive MindXchange Chronicles, a collection of the key take-aways and best practices from all of the event’s presentations and interactive sessions.

Lessons from Tesla: Why Patents Are So 20th-Century

By Pramod Dibble
Analyst, Visionary Innovation
Frost & Sullivan

Tesla has promised it will not enforce its mountain of electric car patents against anyone producing electric vehicles “in good faith”. This surprise move is consistent with Tesla’s narrative, as well as having definite strategic benefits which position the world’s premier electric vehicle manufacturer very well if other companies take advantage of all the technology that is now free.

Tesla has been site-shopping for its much touted GigaFactory, which when completed will more than double the world’s capacity to produce lithium-ions batteries of the type that can power a car. If other automakers begin using Tesla technologies to build mass market electric vehicles, they will need a steady supply of high-quality lithium ion batteries. Tesla will have effectively created the market for electric vehicles parts, while simultaneously positioning itself as the vendor of choice for those parts. It’s an incredibly savvy move, and sets Tesla up as a channel partner rather than direct competitor to the largest, most globalized players in the market.

Historically, a major hindrance to the adoption of electric vehicles has been the lack of charging infrastructure. Currently, 97 Tesla stations are operational in North America, and can provide a half charge in 20 minutes for free, or a fully charged battery-pack swap in less than half the time it takes to fuel a gasoline vehicle for a fee. Tesla has continued development of its charging infrastructure not only in the US, but also in Europe and Asia as overseas demand increases. If electric car manufacturing explodes the way it could, given all the free technology, Tesla stations will be the best way to charge. Elon Musk has said that for Tesla owners “supercharging… is and always will be free”, but that promise doesn’t extend to owners of other electric vehicles. And if those stations use renewable energy (like SolarCity panels), stored in lithium-ion batteries from the GigaFactory, that’s an awful lot of electricity sales to bolster Tesla’s revenue from parts and vehicles.

While this move is strategically sound, I believe that Tesla’s statement is genuine. Mr. Musk writes:

“Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”

I believe this is all true. Tesla’s behavior has consistently supported their rhetoric of enabling new technology and maximizing customer value. Whether it’s debating dealership-funded legislators for the right to sell electric cars directly to consumers, or Mr. Musk personally guaranteeing the value of all Tesla vehicles out of his own pocket, they seem to genuinely believe in delivering the best quality product available on the market. And according to Consumer Reports, the company has done exactly that, and built “the best car we [Consumer Reports] have ever tested.”

There is no reason that open-source has to stop at software. For example, Facebook has developed an initiative to build open source data center hardware. Tesla’s move to open the market for electric vehicle market to its competitors, at its own expense, may both solidify Tesla’s position as well as bring about the electric vehicle revolution for which we’ve all been waiting.

7 Steps to Creating a Successful Innovation Framework

Heidi Hattendorf
Director of Innovation Development
Motorola Solutions

Great ideas can come from anywhere. This includes:

  • Outside in – customer and partner feedback, consumer technology and market trends
  • Top down – executive vision, existing products or technology framework
  • Inside out – your employees’ domain, customer and business knowledge

At Motorola Solutions, our process for “outside in” and “top down” innovation is based off of immersive customer research. We observe and work side by side with our customers. For example, we put on uniforms, participate in fire and SWAT training, ride along on patrol and follow first responders as they address emergencies. We do this to better understand their personal challenges and end-to-end operations, and then we identify opportunities to innovate to help them be their best in the moments that matter.

From an “inside out” perspective, we have an innovation framework that takes internal crowd sourcing to a new level, giving us a balanced approach to cultivating employees’ best ideas and protecting them through our patent strategy. These seven steps will help you implement a similar “inside out” approach to innovation at your company.

Step 1: Create a Scalable Platform for Success

An innovation framework is a global, scalable platform created to harness the creative talents of your employees while staying in alignment with your corporate strategy. It’s a strategic approach to innovation from the inside out that provides a way to act on new ideas. And without a framework, you would just have a collection of ideas.

The goals for an innovation framework are straightforward:

     1. Positively impact your organizational culture;
     2. Increase employee engagement in the innovation process; and
     3. Generate a constant stream of ideas that have measurable business impact.

A framework, infused with social media tools, helps facilitate collaboration among global employees and creates an online environment (with offline local leadership) where they can build on existing ideas, comment, vote, or submit their own ideas. In our innovation framework, we welcome random breakthrough ideas. However, we have found that building targeted challenges (see “step 5”) helps us build on our collective expertise from across the globe.

For example, we are creating a global, virtual water-cooler conversation and ideas exchange. Employees from Poland are exchanging ideas with others in Malaysia and the U.S., and seeing comments by teams in China, Germany and the U.K. Now that’s powerful!

Step 2: Establish the Right Organizational Principles

A key to promoting innovation across your organization is to establish a community of innovation champions. They are highly-talented, hand-picked advocates with extensive business connections and reach who represent business units and regional teams. They promote a powerful exchange of ideas for large challenges that have a significant impact on the business. At Motorola Solutions, they support our hub-and-spoke innovation framework model that is centralized within our Chief Technology Office.

Step 3: Engage your Organization’s Employees

The true test of any concept is how others ultimately grasp and accept it, and make it their own. Bringing the right people together in the beginning can mean a better chance for success in the end. That’s the power of the innovation framework and the network of innovation champions that support it. They consistently promote, evangelize, coach and encourage teams to innovate. Because innovation champions are embedded in the businesses where decisions to adopt new ideas are made, they are the ideal candidates to evaluate, challenge and decide whether to bank ideas or pursue them. This close coupling of resources is essential to the success and sustainability of the program.

Step 4: Build an Idea Management Tool

An idea management system comprises a critical part of the innovation framework. It makes it easy for employees to participate and brings transparency to this process. Ours begins with an interactive portal where every idea is tracked and a history is established. All ideas submitted must be reviewed and feedback is stored in the system. As ideas progress, innovators are automatically updated when a new state is reached or a comment is submitted. The tool also supports social collaboration with both innovation champions and subject-matter experts to filter ideas and focus more resources around high-potential ones.

Step 5: Focus on Targeted Innovation

In addition to fostering the open exchange of ideas, having an innovation framework also functions to challenge internal stakeholders to solve specific problems. We call this “targeted innovation.” It begins with a challenge from a business, customer or industry trend. Background, scope and duration information is provided to ensure focus is applied to the right areas. By focusing ideation activities where there is a business need, the probability of a concept being adopted is much greater.

When we first established our innovation framework, we used targeted innovation campaigns—focused on improvements to existing products and features—to train employees on this new approach to collaboration and innovation. These have since evolved to address cross-business and technology challenges to spur more disruptive thinking and ideas.

Step 6: Manage the Backend of Innovation

A rigorous triage process helps ensure that ideas are reviewed frequently and efficiently. Concepts that immediately show promise or align to business strategy move forward, while those that do not are banked for later consideration. This process consists of a number of idea states, beginning with “submitted (new)” and either ending with “adopted” or “banked.” Our triage process is built on the premise of reducing risk, while providing incremental funding, rewards and recognition as ideas move forward. The ultimate goal is to quickly identify and adopt high-impact business ideas.

Step 7: Celebrate Successes!

With a rich history of innovation, Motorola Solutions has long recognized contributions to our breakthrough solutions, technologies and intellectual property rights (IPR) portfolio with both monetary and performance-based awards. Our innovation framework makes global contributions more visible at the individual, facility and business unit level. This promotes a more innovative and accountable culture. Several innovators have commented that their greatest reward is having their idea acknowledged and acted upon.

Pulling it all Together

From leadership sponsors to employees, it takes engagement from all levels across a company to make an innovation framework successful. The rewards of seeing ideas grow to prototypes and, ultimately, to new customer deliverables, keep innovators looking for what’s next. And when pulled together, these seven steps create a powerful, collaborative system to ignite innovation at your company.

About the Author:

Heidi Hattendorf is director of Innovation Development at Motorola Solutions. She brings more than 20 years of experience in telecoms from public safety and two-way radio, to consumer mobile phones and network solutions on 3G/4G. She heads up an Innovation team focused on identifying and creating new opportunities in adjacent markets and technologies to drive growth. Learn more about innovation at Motorola Solutions.

- This article first appeared in Innovation Management magazine.