Practically every company innovates.But few do so in an orderly, reliable way.
In far too many organizations, the big breakthroughs happen despite the company. Successful innovations typically follow invisible development paths and require acts of individual heroism or a heavy dose of serendipity. Successive efforts to jump-start innovation through, say, hack-a-thons, cash prizes for inventive concepts, and on-again, off-again task forces frequently prove fruitless. Great ideas remain captive in the heads of employees, innovation initiatives take way too long, and the ideas that are developed are not necessarily the best efforts or the best fit with strategic priorities.
There’s an important intermediate option between ad hoc innovation and building an elaborate, large-scale innovation factory: setting up a minimum viable innovation system (MVIS).
What it will require is senior management attention—most critically from some member of the top leadership team.
Creating an MVIS won’t miraculously turn you into Pixar or Amazon, but it will help you make tangible progress in increasing the predictability and productivity of critical investments in future growth.