Keys to Innovation Success

There are preconditions to innovation success.  And there are important implementation considerations – how things are done.  The key is that the overall team works intentionally on innovating in the areas that are most important.This is the third part of a series of four articles on innovation.  This article, Part 3 in the series, “Keys to Innovation Success“, looks at the preconditions and critical execution factors for innovation success.   Part 1, “What Is Innovation?“ looks at a number of definitions and perspectives on innovation and tries to isolate what innovation really is.   Part 2 in the series, “Where to be Innovative“, identifies that innovation can take place anywhere…but needs to be prioritized.  Part 4, “How to Be Innovative“, looks at how an organization can intentionally be innovative.

There are a number of key success factors for generating more of the best kind of innovation in an organization.

  1. Culture – The biggest thing relating to culture is that an organization must tolerate failure.  Otherwise, no one will take the chance to innovate.
  2. Leadership – Organizations must value innovation from the top – and need to carefully consider the priority put on innovation versus other values.
  3. Strategy – Innovation must be part of the fabric of a strategy…and systems need to be put into place to institutionalize it.
  4. Implementation – Innovation needs to be a passion, a way of life, and even a matter of survival, where failure is not an option.

But innovation success, like success in many areas, lies in choosing the right thing to work on.  Let’s look at an example.

Amazon initially chose the book market to build on its vision of building e-commerce capability.  However, since this capability and strength has been in place, it created the Amazon Prime program in order to lock in customers to its system.  The promise to customers and members of Amazon Prime is a frictionless experience for all, or at least a large portion, of their shopping needs online.  Because Amazon has the strength of scale in so many consumer product areas, they can off this fee-based service that makes it beneficial for consumers to buy more of their purchases from Amazon to amortize their fee.  Over time, Amazon Prime, initially a loss leader that enabled more sales, seems like it’s becoming a profit center of its own, as Amazon has tremendous pricing power with the service. No one else has the scale to match it.

Very innovative!

Now, not everyone can be an Amazon.  But every company does have a competitive advantage in some area that they can build upon through innovation.  The process is to pick the right area and to focus a lot of effort on innovating to do it better and better. And remember, with careful thought put into setting the right conditions through building an innovation-friendly culture, innovation-oriented leadership, prioritizing innovation as an embedded part of strategy, and implementing passionately, there is a lot of opportunity for innovation success.

What are some key leverage points in your organization where you could apply innovation?  How would you organization the project and set the conditions for success?

This Post is Part of the Series: Innovation

This series of four articles teaches about innovation.

  1. What is Innovation?
  2. Where to Be Innovative
  3. Keys to Innovation Success
  4. How to Be Innovative