Most ideas fail. Not that they are necessarily bad ideas, but the organisation might be bad at managing the portfolio as projects and products and launching them into the market. Some simple steps and processes can help you to maximise success and profit.I hosted a joint event by the Institute of Directors and Biztech last night on ‘How to profit from innovation’ which went down extremely well.
First up was Keith Goffin, Professor of Innovation & New Product Development at Cranfield, who regularly acts as a consultant on innovation management to leading organisations. During 14 years with Hewlett Packard Medical Products he worked on the development of the world’s most successful patient monitor and designed the marketing campaign that took defibrillators from 3% market share to market leadership within six months.
Keith explained the origin of the term ‘thinking outside the box’, and went on to illustrate through examples that directed thinking is much more productive than ideas schemes in use by many organisations. After a recap of trends in management thinking on innovation, from Cooper’s Stage and Gate to current focus on Business Model Innovation, Keith used case studies to show that breakthrough products are created by identifying customers hidden needs, the title of his latest book.
Anna Copeman from Dentons was next up to talk about getting more bang for your buck. She gave an overview of the different types of intellectual property (IP), how to assess what you have and value it, how to protect it, and most importantly how to exploit it. Anna was acknowledged as a ‘Future Star’ in the legal 500 in 2011 and certainly showed her mastery of the all things related to innovation and IP, not to mention public speaking.
Glyn Dodd, Managing Director of Centrex Computing Services based in MK gave a perfect case study of how they used innovative thinking and follow up processes to identify an emerging trend with systemic failures in financial payments hardware. Their in house think tank process produced a solution involving emerging technology of 3D printers and put it into production in a very short time to solve a problem that most customers had not yet realised they were about to have.
Paul North, Technical Director at Illuminis IT Systems, gave a follow up case study on how similar queries from clients had led him to develop a software product that extracted financial information from a widely available but ageing software package and bought it up to date by putting it into a web front end that allowed full analyses in minutes rather than days.
We rounded off the evening with a lively panel Q&A and many people going away with thoughts of how to profit from their innovations.
Speaking after the event I remarked to Keith Goffen that I too had started out in portfolio management of innovation following on from my PhD and post-Doctoral work, going on to produce a final dissertation on ‘Best practice for project management of R&D’. That in turn moved me deeper into the world of projects. And now things have come round full circle, with the project management bodies adopting those techniques like Coopers Stage and Gate for Portfolio Management of all their projects. But then arent all projects, like innovation, about change?
Let me know how you are managing innovation or using innovation in you projects by leave a comment below
PS Thank you to James Fairburn and Emma Jordan from Dentons fabulous new offices at the Pinnacle in Milton Keynes for hosting the event and to Fredi Nonyelu from Biztech for co-promoting.