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House of Innovation - systematic and holistic innovation management

Inventing something new is one of the core tasks of every company. Nevertheless, it makes sense to outsource innovation management to external partners. Read in this blog post which parts of your innovation management are suitable for outsourcing and why you are more successful with your developments in the market.

By smartly outsourcing certain parts, you can make your innovation management many times more powerful.


According to Peter F. Drucker, an economic innovator with Viennese roots, marketing and innovation are the core tasks of any company. All other departments within an organization would only cause costs. Despite the great importance of this area, it is not necessary to have this area handled exclusively by internal employees. When inventing the cash-cows of tomorrow, your company even benefits from outsourcing your innovation management.

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This does not mean that a company should give up its innovation management. And not every area is equally suitable for outsourcing. In order to show which tasks are suitable for outsourcing, a look at the structure of a structured and holistic innovation management helps first of all. This consists of the four dimensions strategy, culture, processes & methods and structure. In order to illustrate the structure and interaction of these four areas, Lead Innovation has developed the House of Innovation in cooperation with its innovation partners.

The innovation culture forms the basis to successfully build and animate such a house. The foundation for the House of Innovation is the structure. If this is missing, then the entire innovation process would run completely uncoordinated and the invention of new, successful products, services or business models would be left to chance. Above this there is an innovation process that is individually adapted to the needs of the company with the associated methods, which leads from an innovation trigger to an innovation. The strategy forms the roof according to which all innovation activities are to be aligned.


External partners can help with any building block of the House of Innovation

First of all: Your innovation management becomes more powerful if you work together with an external partner on individual modules of the House of Innovation. This can be seen in the analysis of each individual point:

Strategy: How should your company develop further?

In order to plan an innovation strategy, you need to find answers to the following two key questions. What goals does your company pursue and how does innovation management contribute to these goals? In doing so, it is necessary to deal with your own innovation past and trends. The analysis of which inventions your company has been successful with in the past is best done by yourself. You and your employees also know very well which trends are relevant for your company or may become important in the near future.

When collecting and evaluating these trends, however, you should not rely solely on an internal view. Nokia, Kodak and General Motors show that this can be extremely dangerous. These former leading companies of the world economy have completely misjudged important trends such as the smartphone, digital photography or environmentally friendly cars and have had to fight for their economic survival, although not every company has won this battle.
Through technology scouting, for example, it is possible to use the expertise and perspective of external partners to collect trends. These experts should not only come from their own industry. This is because partners from similar fields, i.e. often completely different economic fields, can provide valuable input for the generation of trends.

In most cases companies know corresponding experts from their own industries. However, many companies have difficulties in engaging external partners from other industries. Lead Innovation can help here with its international network of experts from numerous industries. In addition, Lead Innovation can generate executive market studies and in-depth know-how on trends in a specific industry at very short notice.

External experts can also provide valuable help in evaluating the trend collection. A temporal classification from an internal point of view can often be compared with an external classification to create a great added value. You can then compile your individual roadmap from these ingredients by deriving search fields. This "map" then offers you a methodically secure path into the future that takes into account the challenges of all foreseeable changes in technologies, social conditions and market trends.

In a nutshell: When formulating your innovation strategy, let external partners and experts prepare the basis for your decisions as well as possible. It is up to you to decide which search fields your company wants to work on and what your roadmap will look like in concrete terms.

Culture: How do you create an "innovative" environment in your company?

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is one of the most frequently used quotes in management theory, attributed to the aforementioned Peter F. Drucker. In research and development, too, it is one thing to define the path (strategy) and quite another to actually follow it. The latter depends on the culture of innovation in your company.

Their management must design the framework conditions in the company in such a way that an innovation-promoting climate is created. This is characterized by the three dimensions "may" (innovation opportunity), "can" (innovation capability) and "want" (willingness to innovate). You can take many measures yourself in your company to create and strengthen an innovation culture. For example, you can set up innovation labs in which some of your employees can develop ideas independently of day-to-day business. Or you can provide some employees with a time and money budget to pursue new business ideas. An innovation contest is not only a very good way to get a lot of ideas very quickly, it also quickly improves the innovation culture in your company.

Thanks to many years of experience, Lead Innovation can advise you on how best to promote the three dimensions of the innovation culture in your company - i.e. the three dimensions of may, ability and will. Some measures also work better if an external partner is entrusted with the operational implementation. The success of workshops and many other meetings necessary in the innovation process depends on professional moderation. Education and training is also an important tool to promote a culture of innovation and empowerment. Lead Innovation offers seminars and a wide range of content on its own innovation blog. You can be sure that you will always be provided with the latest know-how.

Processes & Methods: How do you turn ideas into innovations?

There are many processes and associated methods that lead to innovations. And it depends on many aspects - such as the innovation culture of a company - which innovation method delivers the best results. Lead Innovation relies on Open Innovation and, with more than 15 years of experience, knows exactly when and in which phase of the innovation process external partners and experts can contribute the most to a project.

When using its own Open Innovation network, Lead Innovation makes sure that all participants are not in competition with each other and can therefore benefit from each other. Lead Innovation has been using the Lead User Method  developed at MIT since 2003. So far, it has been shown that 14 out of 15 projects lead to new patents and, subsequently, to innovations. For comparison: According to studies, between 60 and 80 % of new products generally fail on the market.

Lead Innovation also ensures that you quickly have your own prototypes after the creation of a patentable concept. Lead Innovation can also offer you valuable support in marketing or take over parts of it. Even if the best technical invention is not marketed professionally, it becomes a flop. Lead Innovation not only relies on inbound marketing for innovations, but also successfully uses this innovative method itself. In practice, it is generally shown that innovation projects run faster and more purposefully if an external partner is on board. Customers of Lead Innovation regularly confirm this.

Structure: Stay innovative for the long term

Innovation is not an everyday business for most companies. For the majority, it is rather a task that has to be done "on top". At a time when the market demands inventions in ever shorter times and competitors are increasing the pressure, such a situation can lead to problems. You can counteract this dilemma by aligning your company in such a way that systematic innovation is possible.

A company can hardly manage this on its own, because the perspective and expertise from outside is absolutely necessary. A partner who walks through a company with open eyes and also addresses issues outside the actual project assignment can be of decisive help here. Lead Innovation sees it as one of its duties as a partner to draw its customers' attention to problems, untapped potential and possibilities for optimization. Lead Innovation can also help in situations where promising innovation projects are initiated by employees without a management mandate or budget. Thanks to many years of experience, Lead Innovation knows how to convince with submarine projects and ultimately lead them to success.

Conclusion: House of Innovation - systematic and holistic innovation management

Most markets today demand something really new at ever shorter intervals. Technical complexity continues to increase. In addition, it requires a certain foresight to discover potential competitors who are currently still active in completely different industries but who are already using new approaches to swirl up their own tomorrow. These drivers place ever higher demands on innovation management. By smartly outsourcing certain parts of it to the right partner, you can make your innovation management much more powerful. In addition, you can turn your business into an organization for which inventing is not always something extraordinary and unusual, but - to a certain extent, of course - already part of everyday business life.


Daniel Zapfl

With his comprehensive experience in holistic innovation management, Daniel brings valuable insights and best practices from various industries to your innovation project. He boldly and disruptively challenges conventional ways of thinking. As a TRIZ-certified sparring partner, Daniel will support you with creative solution-finding in a reliable and structured manner. More critical than the most discerning customer, he always has an eye on the big picture.

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