The Innovation Pyramid
The Innovation Pyramid is a guide to allow you to focus on what needs to happen in your organisation to make innovation work. There are 4 components of the pyramid which are all underpinned with having the right mindset. When you have the right mindset in the organisation and everyone is singing off the same hymn-sheet, you create an environment to nurture the right behaviours to build your innovative culture. Use all of the steps to make sure your innovation project succeeds!
We have built this pyramid with number one at the top, when you have all of these steps in place and you reach the pinnacle of innovation at the top, step number 1 will seem easier than number 4. Build the foundations successfully and the pyramid will build itself.
So, in reverse order……
Number 4: Mindset & behaviour – You have to have the right mindset which leads to the right behaviours. You should encourage people in the organisation to operate within specific boundaries, but give them enough room to explore. If they fail within the boundaries then as long as they have learnt something, it shouldn’t be deemed a failure. Celebrate the learning and allow people to iterate and move forward. The mindset needs to infiltrate the organisation, it should be viral and the vocabulary and lexicon of everyone in the organisation should be the same when discussing innovation.
Number 3: Autonomy to Deliver – Innovation teams or intrapreneurs need to have the right to ownership. What I mean by this is that they must be able to deliver an innovation project from inception to production. Yes, there needs to be communication at all times, but in order for a project to succeed, an entrepreneurial mentality needs to occur. Entrepreneurs are focused on the whole project (business), they see the vision and the scope of the project and iterate towards it. A break in the chain towards success will mean a step backwards and a whole new thinking angle. If you give the innovation team autonomy to deliver, they will see the project through and deliver a quality product/offering with a full understanding of the customer journey and development process.
Number 2: Leadership engagement – The stakeholders at every level need to be bought in to the project from the start. Communication throughout the project means that you limit the risk of delivering something that one of the stakeholders doesn’t want. There will be no ta’dah moments in a successful innovation project because everyone will be up to speed every step of the way. This mitigates risk, builds credibility and confidence in the project and builds trust for the innovation team.
Number 1: Vision and values – Every step of the journey must be started by consulting the wider vision and values of the organisation. Use them as guidelines for the project. If you step away from them at any point, step back, iterate and make sure you change course back towards the vision and values. It is crucial that any innovation fits with the strategic and operational direction of the company. Failure to keep one eye on the purpose will mean a failure to get buy in, decrease in trust and increased probability of the project failing.
So, the big question is; Where is your organisation on the pyramid? What do you do well and what are you not doing so well? Its worth learning from previous mistakes and asking yourself where it fell down. If you underpin everything you do with the right mindset and build from there, the chances of success will be greater and your organisation will have a relevant and sustainable future.