Skip to main content

Innovation Growth Engines

Five lessons for innovation leadership

Disruption is here to stay, but innovation is the answer – putting innovation at the heart of your organisation will build capabilities to adapt and grow sustainably and successfully.

What does innovation have to do with the convergence of emerging technology, shifting customer behaviours and the need for sustainability? The answer – everything. These shifts are pushing organisations to rapidly adapt business models and transform operations, so those best placed will have the right capabilities to undergo the disruptive ebbs and flows now part of our modern world. And it’s here that innovation is key.

Corporate innovation actively seeks, tests and incorporates new, disruptive ideas through the creation of a purpose-built innovation function. This includes a team, or teams, who lead innovation strategy and build innovative processes into the business. Purpose-built innovation functions give organisations the ability to adapt, grow, and find solutions to fit their needs.

Every organisation is different and to build an effective innovation function leaders need to consider the specific requirements of their organisation and the market they are operating in. However, whether embedding innovation capability or building breakthrough ventures, a set of common enablers ensure success.

Our five key lessons, which include red flags to look out for and ways to maximise success, will help your organisation adapt its business model and transform your operations into a sustainable practice.

Five key lessons

When it comes to corporate innovation, there’s no cut and paste option – successful innovation teams are built to reflect the context they operate in – but as a guide, we’ve created four broad innovation function archetypes to inform the focus of your function and the capabilities needed to deliver it.

Find out which archetype is right for your organisation.

You don’t have to rely on your innovation team for all the solutions. There are other valuable sources of innovation to tap into, but you’ll only reach them if you have the right structures – what we call innovation vehicles – in place. There are two types of innovation vehicles, internal, which source ideas from inside your organisation, and external, which source ideas from outside innovators. Both have specific benefits and trade-offs; it’s about knowing how and when to use them to help deliver your mandate.

Find out which vehicles are right for your organisation.

CEO support is critical to the innovation function’s success. Having innovation cheerleaders with organisational clout is the best way to get traction and support from the wider business. Getting all senior leaders on board is important, but success lies with the CEO championing the innovation cause by strongly advocating for the role and value of the innovation function.
Find out how to get your CEO on board and the benefits that come with CEO spotlight.

So, your CEO’s on board, but what about everyone else? From the outside in, the value innovation brings to an organisation isn’t always obvious. For the business to embrace it and stay on board throughout the innovation journey you have to connect and engage with people across your organisation and prove its value to them and the work they do. It takes time and effort to build connections, but there are effective ways to draw people in and show them the positives of innovation.

Find out how to pull people in and how to resource your team.

The value of innovation goes beyond money. Innovation functions must demonstrate the value delivered to the business through financial and other broader metrics, early and often. Setting the right performance metrics is about finding balance – balance between financial and non-financial metrics at portfolio and individual initiative levels that represent actual performance. The most successful way to do this – and enable a more comprehensive and balanced conversation with leaders on performance and impact – is by using six key categories.

Find out the six key categories and how to unlock innovation funding.

Did you find this useful?

Thanks for your feedback

If you would like to help improve further, please complete a 3-minute survey