How to Develop a Corporate Innovation Strategy

How to Develop a Corporate Innovation Strategy

By Amanda Elliott

Having a plan and executing a plan, as most executives know, are two different beasts.

As you begin the strategic process to innovate internally and start planning for next year’s goals or next quarter’s, keep in mind these best practices as told through one of the most innovative companies, Uber.

State your vision.

Developing a strategic process and seeing it through is similar to goal setting in that you need to be specific about your intentions. The most innovative companies in the world rely on specificity to draw out their vision.

“The most successful companies we found, are those that focus on a particular, specifically aligned set of common and distinct capabilities that enable them to better execute their chosen strategies,” reported Forbes. 

As an example, Uber’s CEO in 2015 announced that it wanted to end car ownership. And since then, the company has not only grown but also tested out a fleet of self-driving cars in Pennsylvania.

Even with that vision, the company also appears to be perpetuating car ownership by making it more affordable to make car payments and thus own a car.

Curbed even supports this argument as the Census Bureau announced that two and three-car garage construction are at the highest that they have been since 1992, when they started collecting data.

But according to Uber’s CEO, if car ownership is less expensive than the service, than they would need to change their business model. But as technology and society change and become more advanced, so does your vision. And that is the case wth Uber. Most recently, Uber announced a vision to include helicopters into their future goals.  Ultimately, being agile is important, and though the visionmay change, a company should always have a clear vision.

Get buy-in from other departments and organization leaders.

When planning out a strategy that will ultimately shift the organization, it’s important to get buy-in from other managers in the company.

Dr. Ralph Kerle, named by IBM as one of the world’s 100 Global Creative Leaders, discussed how organizational innovation is a paradox as a company has to decide between cultivating a new vision or maintaining the status quo.

With a company like Uber, that started out as a disruptor to the automotive industry, it still is evolving from it’s original intentions of being everyone’s private driver. As the demand shifted and as new technologies are emerging, Uber is becoming less of a personalized, convenient experience. Now, it’s service aligns with other goals such as an economical and environmentally conscious option. With high-growth startups and even Fortune 500 companies, as innovation initiatives take place, keeping a copacetic team where everyone is aware and informed about the vision, is vital for success.

In the book “Thinking Strategically,” Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff note that “even a company without an outside competitor must worry about competing with its future self.”

One of the key parts to innovating is the speed of innovation. And this requires the internal team to be on the same page throughout the organization for a successful launch. 

Seek outside help.

Companies like Uber innovate within and they also collaborate with third parties to fulfill their research and development efforts. Uber believes in partnering with academia, a similar initiative that PreScouter uses to help organizations innovate.

For instance, Uber has partnered with the University of Arizona to research mapping and vehicle safety technology. 

How does your business develop an innovation strategy?


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