Last week, we introduced our model for viewing innovation from a team and organization perspective. The model, named the “Innovation Field,” is described in our bestselling book, The Seeds of Innovation . The Innovation Field incorporates eight key areas or elements that, when considered together, create a systematic and systemic view of how to create and improve the conditions for innovation.
Let’s take a look at the third and fourth elements of the “Innovation Field” model:
3) Innovation Resource Allocation
4) Innovation Process Networks
Innovation Resource Allocation
Without adequate resources, the Innovation Field model cannot be fully implemented. By resources, we mean time, people, money, information, facilities, and other tangible supports. In order to ensure that the organization has a true culture of innovation, leaders must support their intentions with resources! A team, for instance, needs to understand if it is allocating enough time to explore the external world (for example, by attending conferences, workshops, tradeshows, by exploring the Internet, and by reviewing the competition, other categories, etc..) and enough time to investigate and develop new ideas. A team also needs to understand where funds are not being maximized and where funds should be reallocated to better use to support innovation. Importantly, a team must be open to new ideas that arise throughout the year outside the budget cycle, so that they can also be fully investigated and, when appropriate, supported.
Innovation Process Networks
One of the biggest challenges facing Innovation Management has to do with capitalizing on insights and ideas across the organization and, in effect, counteracting the so-called "silo effect" that prevents the cultivation of innovation in a systemic and sustainable way. Yet, an organization’s competitive advantage depends on its ability to identify innovative ideas, share these ideas, and implement them quickly. Organizations, therefore, need collaborative processes or networks for identifying, developing, and implementing innovative ideas across the organization. These processes should be fully integrated into the day-to-day processes an organization uses in order to reinforce a true culture of innovation. All processes should also be designed for speed so that the members of any organizational group can quickly access new information, develop, and then implement ideas that matter. Better information, as well as better information “flows,” allow organizations to identify better ideas and to make better decisions!
Are you Innovating with Meaning by cultivating the Innovation Resource Allocation and Innovation Process Networks elements of your organization’s "Innovation Field"?
Dr. Alex Pattakos is the author of Prisoners of Our Thoughts  (www.prisonersofourthoughts.com ) and Elaine Dundon is author of The Seeds of Innovation  (www.seedsofinnovation.com ). They are co-authors of Innovating with Meaning (forthcoming).