Innovation Archetypes

For each successful company built on innovation there are thousands of other struggling to replicate the innovative DNA enjoyed by companies like Apple and Google. Frequently, companies try to copy outstanding innovators, but the efforts never catch on, and quickly become morbid and end up engendering cynicism. Research by IBM Global Business Services and Innosight has shown the fallacy in the assumption that successful innovation will come simply by replicating the approach used by successful innovators. The reason for this is that there is no single archetype of innovation, and companies get into trouble by trying to replicate characteristics that are not natural to their own business. Success comes by following one of the four successful archetypes of innovative enterprises as shown in the “Innovation Archetypes” figure. When embarking on strategic planning it’s important to make sure that the leadership, staff, processes, environment, are all in place. If not, successful execution of new strategies is likely to fail.

In large companies there may be various innovation archetypes in use by business units in different industries. From a corporate standpoint the overall strategic planning process for a diverse organization is shown in the “Strategic Planning Process” figure. In this process the organization first looks at where they are today. It then looks at the future through each Division’s eyes. The advantage a large organization has in participating in various industry segments is the opportunity to look for consistency, opportunities and gaps that may be visible to one Division in one industry but harder to see in others. From these inputs, project priorities for a corporate research group are created by using radar maps to assess fit, return, costs, and capability. Once projects are selected they are tracked on “time in stage” status maps.

Strategic Planning Process A final note on the organizational elements of strategic planning has to do with the integrated Strategy Crafting approach. As shown in the “Strategy Crafting” figure, this is a continuous iterative process touching all parts of an organization’s human capital. Crafting is a curious blend of virtues and skills: two parts sheer dedication and persistence, two parts dexterity and skilled artistry, and one part pure imagination. Crafting strategies is about using personnel skilled in innovation and design thinking to augment traditional planning

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