What an innovation strategy is NOT

innovation strategy

 What Innovation Stragey is not …

  • % revenue dollars from new products vs. old products
  • % dollars invested in breakthrough projects vs. incremental
  • Being first to market
  • Being creative
  • Changing your business model

If you google “innovation strategy” you’ll find various definitions that are outcomes, such as:

    1. The types of innovations the company should pursue, such as radical innovations, product improvements, line extensions, incremental improvements, sustaining innovations and disruptive innovations
    2. How quickly the company takes advantage of opportunities, such as introducing new technologies and products, or responding to competitive pressures. Categories such as prospectors/innovators, analyzers/fact-followers, defenders, and reactors are used
    3. A roadmap for product development

These definitions include outputs of innovation, but that is not strategy. These categorizations obscure the purpose of an innovation strategy to ensure the company is able to create the desired innovations now and in the future.

Other proffered definitions list the behaviors to adopt, such as:

  • immersion in the customer’s environment
  • bringing outside experts into the innovation process
  • acting small and entrepreneurial
  • embracing open innovation

Behaviors are perhaps a little closer to the goal, but these are individual tactics or tools. Again that is not strategy.

The goal of an innovation strategy is the establishment of a working infrastructure (the people, systems and processes, technologies, culture and metrics) that efficiently and effectively produces the desired innovations.