In February, we posted a survey designed to serve as a quick assessment of the maturity of corporate innovation programs — and how well they are being accepted by the culture. We’re sharing some early results from it — though you can still take the assessment if you’d like.
The above slide deck shows what more than 100 respondents told us about some of the organizational issues they’re wrestling with, and about the level of maturity their program has achieved.
What Stage of Maturity Is Your Program At?
This break-down is based on the answers to 19 questions, some captured above, about various aspects of the respondent’s innovation program. Here’s how we defined the stages:
Stage 1 (orange): You are just starting to lay the foundation for innovation success. There are relationships to be established, processes to be put in place, and skeptics to be won over. This is likely the era of a small team with limited resources working to eke out a few wins it can point to. There is still a need to spread the innovation gospel within the company and help people understand what other companies are doing, and how they are investing in their innovation programs.
Stage 2 (green): This can be the most dangerous phase for innovation programs processes are in place, resources are being allocated, you have some support around the organization and everyone is waiting to see tangible results. (Or, after an initial hit, what you will do next.) At the emerging stage, a foundation is likely in place for new ways to gather customer insights, partner with outside entities, engage employees in new ways, and work with business units, but there is still a need to learn from what others in your industry and adjacent fields are doing, and how they are achieving impact. Some groups within the company may still be in wait and see mode, withholding support or resources until they know your team is going to be here, and have CEO support, over the long-term.
Stage 3 (blue): The innovation program is beginning to achieve a level of stability, support, and respect though it may still be under-resourced. Basic processes are being put into place, and communication throughout the organization is becoming more regular. There is still plenty of work to do, resistance to be overcome, and allies to be won over.At this stage, productivity is beginning to really kick in. Customers provide input to the innovation process, and business units support it. There is a realization that not all great ideas are born on the corporate campus. Metrics are being tracked, and success stories are starting to be shared internally and externally. Innovation is getting some if not all of the resources it needs. But chalking up some high-profile successes will likely change that…
Stage 4 (yellow): At this stage, productivity is beginning to really kick in. Customers provide input to the innovation process, and business units support it. There is a realization that not all great ideas are born on the corporate campus. Metrics are being tracked, and success stories are starting to be shared internally and externally. Innovation is getting most if not all of the resources it needs. Stage 5 (red): In this most mature stage, the organization has truly become innovation-focused. It has established, well-oiled innovation systems and procedures, and has repeatable processes for rapid innovation. It can pursue projects quickly and kill them off just as fast for rational reasons. Metrics are in place, and efforts are delivering clear value. From the top down, the culture supports innovation, and does so without fear of failure or innovation climate change, when priorities suddenly shift.
Feel free to share the quiz with others if you’d like — it’s available to both IL subscribers and non-subscribers