Creating a culture of continuous improvement within your organization is not something that happens in one step. Innovation is a process much like an ongoing journey for your business. Fostering an innovative culture is one part of the process, but developing a new system of record for innovation is also very important. Just like the continuous improvement loop, documenting your processes and feedback is crucial for the health of your company. To better understand what lies ahead in the innovation journey, you must know where your business is in the process currently. The best way to identify where your business is in its innovation journey is to get an innovation health checkup. In this article, we discuss why this is important and what the different stages of innovation look like.

Benefits of an Innovation Health Checkup

True innovation is a never-ending loop of change and feedback, but that does not mean that continuous improvements will keep rolling once set in motion. Once you have decided to make innovation a priority in your business model, the company will begin its innovation journey. Your business may fluctuate between different levels of innovation or not be as integrated as you thought, and that is okay! Regardless of how long you have been working on improvements, there is no magic formula or time requirement for successful innovation. As we discussed in our previous blog 5 Things Most Innovative Companies Have In Common, there are certain innovative characteristics that your business can strive to adopt  to support healthy, ongoing innovation programs. However, you can make sure that continuous improvement is on the horizon if you are aware of the current strengths and weaknesses of your business.

It is important to be aware of what stage you are at in the innovation journey so that you can adjust company goals accordingly. Knowing where innovation fits into your goals is also helpful for understanding your place in the innovation journey. Innovation health checkups are a great way to analyze what your business is doing right and wrong. Also, these insights highlight what part of your company should be the next focus for improvement. Looking at the big picture of the various moving parts of your business will help you discover and strengthen your organization’s weaknesses. Technology solutions like Enterprise Innovation Management can centralize  all your innovation activities in a single system of record for innovation to make these analyses and changes much easier.

Stages of the Innovation Journey

Each company has unique strengths that present various opportunities for improvement. Due to this, the innovation journey can look different for every company. These stages measure where and how innovation is occurring within your organization. Overall, innovation can be summed up in three basic stages:

Emerging – In emerging organizations, innovation is proactive but not widely integrated into the organization. Innovation is isolated by specific teams or labs. These processes are unfocused and one-dimensional and driven by specialists. Metrics are department-specific rather than company-wide, and data is isolated.

Coordinated – In coordinated organizations, innovation processes begin to exist across departments, and data is more widely available. Innovation methodologies are outlined and understood throughout the organization, and departments are encouraged to work together. Hybrid skills are promoted at this level.

Transformative – In transformative organizations, innovation methodologies set the organizational standard across the company. Commercial strategy is joined with innovation, and the widespread methodologies are standardized. Teams are adaptive and diverse. Agile characteristics are embraced in all levels of business.

Unlike waiting in a doctor’s office for your own personal health checkup, an innovation health checkup is quick and easy. Once you understand where your business is at, you can monitor improvements yourself. It is important to regularly evaluate how innovation and other functions are operating within your business. To submit your organization for a quick online Innovation Health Checkup, click here.