In a globalized market, competitors from the other end of the world are close to you; they may even come from another industry and bring with them their own development cycles, shorter than yours: you have to react fast. Reversely, rapid innovation may offer you the possibility to enter a new business because your speed will give you a competitive advantage over the industry’s incumbents.
While it’s difficult to secure consumer loyalty, innovation is key to seduce them and has to be done fast because it quickly becomes obsolete. Fast innovation is also necessary since the second version is often the right one!
If development speed increases the qualities of the forecasts that can be made, it strongly impact the return on investment, much more than the cost of development itself.
Fast innovation, how?
Through the academic thesis I have completed this year at HEC business school, I suggest a model for fast innovation. It comes out a thoroughful analysis of academic sources on innovation, review of 15 corporate cases of innovation champions, and identification of key points to speed innovation process.
Model for fast innovation is based on 3 principles:
- A mixed entity outside and inside, focused on innovation: install a new entity, with its own innovation oriented process, where priority will be given to speed and flexibility, moving fast towards new opportunities and markets. This new entity will be mixed, both “in and out” the established business parent company, to let her build its own organizational DNA, while borrow and leverage on resources from core company on a selected number of area to strenghthen competitivness of its innovations.
- A creative tension: while innovation culture will prevail in this new entity, a culture of diversity will be promoted within the innovation process; within the company, setting-up cross-functional teams and outside the company as well, interacting with technological research and markets, taking adavantage of the outside market of innovation: variety of point of view will generate new ideas and accelerate development thanks to open innovation; knowledge circulation in short cycle will be carefully monitored, notably by fast prototyping, looking for incremental development at fast pace ; innovation process will be managed with high skills, evolving over time from “creative-reflective” domain to the “mechanic-structured” domain as development goes along and product finds its identity.
- A consistent innovation strategy between core and new company, including an executive sponsor from the core company supporting the development of the new company, reinforcing the differences between new compagny and core company, and explaining why those differences are important. A set of common axes of innovation and innovation objectives for executives from the core company will also be key to align innovation between new company and core company. New co will develop a cooperation culture and tight connections influencers and decision makers within the core co so as to prepare further engagement and ensure full support for the innovation roll-out.
Fast innovation, what results?
Though the fast innovation model is more specifically focused on helping established companies to speed their innovation management, it can also contribute to optimize start-up innovation process.
Companies that have adopted a fast innovation process have cut their development time from 25 to 50%. From one to another industry, it may result in years or in weeks savings; it can be analyzed in terms of customer base , product portfolio, impact on share value, competitivness, but the truth that it is really about managing your leadership on your market.
You will see more details about this model in the linked document below and in the video interview about fast innovation at Orange Business TV.
Have you experienced fast innovation? Would you have your own tips to develop products twice faster? Please feel free to comment!