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Gary Hamel
, ranked by The Wall Street Journal as the world’s most influential business thinker, believes that innovation is a key factor in business success. “Most of us understand that innovation is enormously important,” says Hamel. “It's the only insurance against irrelevance. It's the only guarantee of long-term customer loyalty. It's the only strategy for out-performing a dismal economy.”


Most of us understand that innovation is enormously important. It's the only insurance against irrelevance. It's the only guarantee of long-term customer loyalty. It's the only strategy for out-performing a dismal economy. 

- Gary Hamel


While many business leaders agree with Hamel about the importance of innovation, only a small number back it up by investing in the innovation management software they need to support organization-wide innovation.

Here are a few reasons why technology designed to foster and accelerate innovation might be worth your consideration:

Why Technology

Everyone Can Innovate

Innovation is often misconceived as something that happens behind closed doors, with experts focusing intently until someone yells “Eureka!” But this isn’t how innovation (usually) happens. Innovative ideas can come from anyone, in any part of the organization, and impact any element of the business. Innovation management software captures those ideas wherever they originate.

Steven Johnson, business management expert and author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Everything Bad is Good for You once said, “If you look at history, innovation doesn't come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.” Innovation software accomplishes exactly that; creating an environment where your employee’s ideas can connect.

If you look at history, innovation doesn't come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.

 - Steve Johnson


Progress Requires Process

Coming up with innovative ideas is only the first part of the challenge. In order to drive the idea through to implementation, activity must be managed with structured workflow and active notifications. Progress must be tracked and the team kept apprised of next steps. Roadblocks must be identified and resolved, and results must be measured. All of this is difficult to achieve without innovation management software, especially for companies that are trying to innovate on several fronts.

The Focus Challenge

One reason that companies fail to innovate is that they focus exclusively on the crisis of the day, and neglect the bigger picture. Gary Hamel said, “The single biggest reason companies fail is that they overinvest in what is, as opposed to what might be.” An investment in innovation management software is certainly an investment in what might be. It helps enforce focus and discipline, puts each project in the spotlight, and makes progress transparent. This helps keep the momentum and ensures that great ideas actually become improvements.

Advantages of Innovation Management Software:

  • Increased employee engagement – Employees participate in a culture of continuous improvement and innovation more when they are empowered to enact change and recognized for their contributions. Innovation management software has a variety of features that do just that.

  • New thinking about old problems – The people closest to the problem may be able to suggest an innovative solution more readily than disengaged leadership. Software includes them in the conversation to that their voices can be heard.

  • Cross-functional collaboration – Innovation requires cooperation so innovation solutions are designed to bring people from different work areas together to see projects through from beginning to end. Software connects the entire organization around improvement and innovation, regardless of location, shift, or function.

  • Financial justification – Few people innovate just for the sake of innovation. Innovation management software aggregates the impact for you, increasing visibility into the outcome and proving the ROI of continuous improvement and innovation.


5 Things to Look for in Innovation Management Software:

  1. Start Where the Opportunities Are

    One of the most important functions of your innovation tools will be the capturing of opportunities for improvement. Your front line employees are closest to the work and therefore more likely to come up with ideas, so your software choice should make it easy for them to identify and document each one. You’ll run up against heavy resistance if you choose a platform that is complicated or limited to one device, and adoption of the software likely won’t spread.

  2. Support the Process

    Once the ideas for improvement have been captured, your innovation software choice should support the entire process of reviewing and implementing the idea to ensure sustained progress. Alerts and active notifications that keep everyone in the loop are an essential element of driving innovation.

  3. Enhance Communication

    Many innovative projects require cross functional collaboration in order to secure a variety of perspectives and skills. Tools that improve communication and make the process transparent help to strengthen cooperation and encourage deeper connections within the organization.

  4. Measure the Impact of Innovation

    You want to make sure that the innovations and improvements you’re making are having a positive impact on the organization, so make sure that your software selection helps you to keep track both the individual and cumulative impact of your efforts. This analysis can help guide decisions about which future opportunities to tackle, and promotes executive buy in for innovation and improvement.

  5. Broadcast Success

    The funny thing about people is that when you recognize and reward them for doing something, they do more of it. When it comes to innovation, that’s exactly what you want. Innovation tools with built-in recognition of achievement help foster a community of employees who are ready to actively engage in making changes to improve the business.

  6. Enable Daily Continuous Improvement

    It’s common for organizations to get caught up in looking for the “next million dollar idea” and brush aside small, daily, continuous improvements. Innovative companies know that these little improvements add up to have a significant impact on the organization, and select an innovation management platform that supports and emphasizes the value of small improvements as well as larger innovations.


For more information about continuous improvement software, check out this free eBook:

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