We are not doing a case this week. Instead, I want to solicit your opinion about how best to foster innovation inside companies. Specifically, I’d like you to think about the innovation pipeline. Where do ideas come from, where should they come from, how should the be vetted, how developed and who should develop them?
For example, some organizations have centralized R&D departments and new product ideas and innovations are explicitly supposed to come from there. Is that right? Should R&D be centralized? If you have a big organization, should R&D be put at the business unit level — let’s say you do TV and books and magazines — should R&D be handled for each of those units or centrally? Let’s add another dimension to that … should we be getting ideas from everywhere in the organization or just from a recognized center of innovation like R&D? Can innovation come from anywhere? Are scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs the innovation engines or can I get great innovations from my marketing department and HR and accounting?So, with that as a backdrop, please discuss how you would foster innovation in your organization. Talk specifically about:
- who gets to contribute ideas
- how these ideas are vetted (managers decide, peer review, darts are thrown 🙂
- how ideas are tested (soft launches, market launches, developed in full, what?)
- who would do the work (small teams, big teams, what team composition?)
- how would you tell if you were successful?
Answer these questions for one page…