The short answer is: The task of translating innovative ideas into successful products is becoming an increasingly complex and demanding challenge. A challenge that is of fundamental importance for the survival of companies but turning into a highly contested field of the modern business world.
Why? Well, looking back on 2020 is giving us quite a few hints to start with. Last year highlighted almost every transformational process there is and, in some cases, even accelerated them. Most transformations have been around for years now, gradually reshaping entire industries and introducing a new logic of competition.
Until recently companies could still come up with shortcuts and workarounds to avoid dealing with this. But the developments in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic have eventually made it impossible to ignore the need for change any longer – demanding a holistic and profound as well as sustainable approach to lay the foundation for the future.
Digitization comes to mind here. Not only on how products, services and business models need to be digital, but also in terms of digitizing the very way of getting to them. However technological progress and its implications for product development are just one part of the story. It’s also about how companies position themselves in a dynamic market.
Not only products, services and business models need to be digital, but also the very way of getting to them.
How do they handle the overall speed of things, showing in rapidly changing customer behavior and short product life cycles? How do they react to the dissolution of specific industries, connecting previously separated business areas and making way for new disruptive players? And how do they prepare their organization in the face of growing uncertainties?
The pressure to keep up, adapt and find solutions is constantly rising. As mentioned at the beginning, the ability to innovate plays a vital role in this – with product and organizational innovation being equally important factors. But knowing what to do is one thing, actually doing it is another. Especially when it’s something complex as driving innovation.
For the leading innovators and pioneers on the market, innovation is a fast and agile end-to-end process, driven by strategy, culture and the commitment to always explore new possibilities. But such an ambitious approach is not worth much if it’s not accompanied by a matching framework. The right tools are needed to plan, manage and implement innovation successfully.
Five benefits an innovation management software can offer:
1. Establish a digital infrastructure
Imagine having only one central entry point for all innovation activities of a company. One hub uniting everything needed for innovation – whether it is ideas, data or people. Imagine all the resources and skills being easily accessed and used for new projects without any restrictions in time and place. Imagine how fast innovation could be done this way.
Well, this isn’t an unattainable wish but the exact purpose of an innovation management software. It streamlines processes, provides structure for all assets and connects relevant innovation dimensions along the value chain. Instead of dealing with many individual solutions across various departments, all capabilities are merged into one powerful tool.
An innovation management software enhances your innovation strategy by equipping it with an infrastructure to meet the requirements of digital times. It helps building bridges between physical and virtual business areas as well as being a sustainable and effective driver for digital transformation within the organization.
2. Make innovation a company mission
Having a digital infrastructure gives companies the opportunity to include more stakeholders in innovation activities without facing any additional efforts or costs. Thereby they can now efficiently integrate all their employees and make full use of their combined wisdom, skills and experiences, establishing innovation as a true company mission.
An innovation management software facilitates collaborative projects on a large scale, making sure every voice is being heard and taken into consideration. Having the opportunity to be an active part in projects und to be taken seriously then sparks the entrepreneurial spirit along the employees and significantly increases the motivation to participate.
More engagement is eventually the driver for a new culture. One that enables and encourages all employees to join and do their best. The culture is further driven and promoted by the software, because it has the ability present the rather complex topic of creating innovation in an intuitive and understandable manner while still being easy to use.
An innovation management software facilitates collaborative projects on a large scale, making sure every voice is being heard and taken into consideration
3. Integrate valuable partners in your ecosystem
Employees aren’t the only relevant stakeholder group for innovation. Valuable partners can basically be found in every step along the value chain of companies. Customers, suppliers, start-ups or research institutes, just to name a few. All of them offer helpful insights, ideas or even technologies for innovation initiatives.
With an innovation management software, the integration of these stakeholders is just a few clicks away. Various interfaces enable organizations to quickly connect them to already existing projects or initiatives. Digital structures allow uncomplicated and goal-oriented collaboration, while giving the company full control over the process.
Creating more and more of these connections across company boundaries is the perfect way to internalize competencies which would have taken a lot of time and resources to build internally. At the end the sum of these connections forms an innovation ecosystem containing all stakeholders as well as all data, information and other sources of knowledge and creativity.
4. Boost ideation and implementation
One of the biggest advantages of an innovation management software is the massive boost it will bring to ideation and implementation stages of innovation projects. With all stakeholders and assets being directly connected and available, the rate of learning and adapting rises to previously unimagined heights.
Ideas are being discussed and optimized within quick, iterative loops and nourished by the thoughts of potentially endless numbers of stakeholders. Feedback is directly aimed at the responsible department or person in development. And new skills, technologies or know-how are immediately absorbed and made accessible to the whole company.
These examples show that an innovation management software brings a whole new level of speed to an organization, particularly in terms of searching, identifying and connecting urgently required solutions. This speed later translates into hard facts like a faster time to market and decreasing production costs.
An innovation management software brings a whole new level of speed to an organization, particularly in terms of searching, identifying and connecting urgently required solutions.
5. Increase resilience and foresight
A well placed and operated innovation management software also delivers great results in making an organization more resilient against external influences like crises or technological disruptions. On the one hand it helps companies to identify relevant transformations in their market early on and on the other hand it enables the quick adaption to these changes.
Digital structures are just better suited to support an agile framework that is needed here and can be customized easier than their physical counterparts. Furthermore, digital structures are by their nature more connectable for handling and analyzing large amounts of data – the currency of the digital world.
Big data helps tremendously in making the right decisions as it contains all the information from the countless touch points inside and outside of the organization. Modeling forecasts with this data support and with the insights from all stakeholders connected through the software, is a great method for aligning company strategies with current market needs.
What to do next? Digitalize innovation.
As stated, an innovation management software is the best companion for pushing innovation in uncertain times. Nobody can tell for sure which products, services or business models will be successful 10 years from now, which technologies will have to be developed then or which strategic partnerships with competitors one might have to realize but having the right foundation for all of this already in place is of great value.
After deciding to invest in a digital solution, one should consider a few things before getting the software up and running. Especially when planning to build an ecosystem with many different stakeholders.