Seventhman Blog

Innovation: Managing Risks and Portfolios Explained

"managing innovation"Everyone in business knows that exploiting new technologies in search of the holy grail of innovation is crucial in the goal of gaining optimal returns, while choosing the right levels of risks and managers to work on the project.  Without proper systems in place, it’s not possible for R&D to flourish and as such, a certain process is in place to help everyone understand on how to work as one team for the goal.  Yes, the Web provides businesses these days with easy access to gather ideas and yet, when was the last time that you really took a dive into your customers’ feedback? How about those of your employees?

Ideas Incubator: Addressing the Real Issue

What you conceptualize today will dictate the marketing profile of your company tomorrow.  You may have a Lean Canvas to make this planning stage much faster and yet,  optimizing your product research and development will mean higher chances for you to win in the battle of creating something new.  Just how do you do this?  There are many ways, but these answers are not that simple.  The challenge to create and maintain cutting-edge products or services is something dynamic and will need to undergo careful evaluation and selection.  Along the way, you may find yourself going over your drawing board and start again from scratch.. when you’re in the middle of accomplishing plan A.  The most crucial of them all is the ‘Go-Kill syndrome’ – Do you go for the concept or kill it when you’re in the mid-stage process?

The Underlying Principle Behind Managing Innovation Portfolios

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years in business, it comes down to this:  With innovation comes risks.  You can succeed or fail and sometimes, it can be both.  It’s like working on a science project and the degrees of success or failure will help create the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  In a market that changes in a blink of an eye, it only makes sense to assign various portfolios for every type of innovation, business models or new ventures… and a mother portfolio to manage them all.  This can be done by tracking your prototypes through a database system, like an idea factory, and assigning someone to manage it.  Without this management, you may end up with too many projects, which may not even be the right ones to start with.  Or, it can take too long for your concept to get in the market and when they do, it has low value or worse, your competitors beat you to it.  The last thing you want is to have your resources spread too thin.

The Anatomy of a Well-Balanced Portfolio

It is only normal to fail in your efforts.  The key here is to fail fast so you can learn faster and apply what you’ve learned to perfecting that innovative product.  Therefore, striking a healthy balance between success and failure rate is necessary.  Managing your innovation portfolio is all about doing the right projects that will produce the biggest impact to your business, in terms of ROI ( return on investment ).  You have to communicate this value to your executive team, those who participate in the R&D process, so that you can balance how they will do the job and how they will contribute to the goal.  You can have everyone vote on an idea or ask people to rank ideas.  Refining these ideas is not an easy task and as everyone is engaged, your team will become better at identifying and working on projects with the most potential.

Innovation… is a work in progress and optimizing what you’ve learned is just the start.  How do you value your innovation efforts and communicate it to your organization?