There seems to be a lot more talking about innovation than actually doing it. Innovation now feels like the most overused business buzz-word today. In addition, as my friend Dick Lee of Value Innovations has noted, most of the time the chatter is just one innovation consultant trying to impress another in conversations that do not influence business leaders and innovation doers. Innovation is the key business tool (profit and nonprofit) that can improve economic growth and create more jobs that are relevant to the future. So I am an optimist that, in spite of the heavy innovation jargon being passed around today, real innovation is more relevant to our future and organizations’ success than ever.
Speaking of optimism, the old joke about the glass being half full or empty comes to mind. I have also heard the glass could just be too big, full all the time of water and air, or just irrelevant. It just depends on the context and the task. Innovation is much the same. The InnovaSpec™ approach recognizes that a full spectrum of innovation tools and processes exist. The client’s needs and opportunities must be first diagnosed in context before jumping to the latest innovation buzz-word or process. We want to roll up our sleeves and work in the client’s context and its customers’ shoes before prescribing an innovation specification. Improved innovation results are our goal as opposed to more chatter.
InnovaSpec™ intends to think broadly but have several key focus areas. Getting good customer-focused ideas into the innovation process gets us 80% of the way to successful innovation results. The concept of the “fuzzy front end of innovation” needs to be banished and replaced by lean concrete tools. That is why InnovaSpec has partnered with “Value Innovations” http://www.valueinnovations.com to apply their 10-step “Value Innovation Process.” This is a great roadmap to get the “fuzzy part” in focus.
InnovaSpec™ would also like to focus on lean tools in innovation to make things move fast and efficiently. Some may find using Lean Sigma in the same sentence with innovation an oxymoron. I think it is an opportunity. We need more repeatable and better targeted innovation today. The application of design principles to product and service innovation is another approach that compliments lean tools.
Finally, InnovaSpec™ can’t do it all and will be developing the alliances and partnerships to bring the right tools and support when needed. InnovaSpec is about helping focus the innovation spectrum to find our client’s innovation specification.
Bruce W. Janda, MBA
Principal and cofounder