You Can’t Get There From Here

The January edition of Best’s Review contains an article titled, “AM Best’s Innovation Criteria”. According to the article:

AM Best defines innovation as a multi-stage process whereby an organization transforms ideas into new or significantly improved products, processes, services, or business models that have a measurable positive impact over time and enable the organization to remain relevant and successful … AM Best expects the output of the innovation process—those new or significantly improved products, process, services, or business models—to have a measurable impact. Some level of risk-taking and possible project “failure” is an expected part of any innovation program … innovation is a dynamic and ongoing process, as well as a long-term commitment. Companies [should] that treat innovation as part of a continuous cycle of organizational growth and development and … integrate their “new-stream” innovations with their mainstream legacy operations.

As criteria go, those are pretty sound. But criteria aren’t directions, and you can’t get there from here.

How To …

Creating or improving products, services, or business models requires a number of things:

  • Philosophically, it requires a purpose, a why. It requires adherence to that why, while checking egos, territorialism, and other manifestations of bureaucrap at the door.
  • Strategically, it requires plan, a what. It requires democratic ideation, with contributions from all levels of the organization. It requires balancing a willingness to fail with opportunities to learn. It requires managing talent, projects, knowledge, and risk.
  • Tactically, it requires a series of activities, a how. It requires clear roles responsibilities, decision-making authority to go along with those responsibilities, and consistent accountability.

Most of all, creating or improving products, services, or business models requires a matrixed framework — engaging everyone across the organization — that considers the future, as well as the present state, and in which to capture and organize everything necessary for making innovation systemic, systematic, and sustainable. It requires that framework to manage things from concepts to capitalization, from ideas to ISO 56000 conformance, from talent assessment to organizational alignment, from qualification criteria to funding, from market strategy to market delivery, and from ideas in the present to success in the future,

With that framework, you can map out your strategic direction. And you can definitely get there from here.

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