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We’ll come to you.

As with most things, when it comes to innovation there is a huge difference between getting it and getting it done.  Everyone wants to get it; but the rewards of innovation are only enjoyed by those who get it done.

There is a great confluence of pressures today that are raising both awareness and understanding of need to drive product and service development through innovation.  Executives are talking about innovation more than ever before.  When they talk, they convey an understanding of innovation’s value, and they certainly look ready to act.  But the gulf between words and action is as wide as ever.

Recently, I saw a bit of interview footage in which Martina Navratilova was talking about her dominance of women’s tennis in the ‘80s.  She remarked that the big secret to her success was that she was the only woman player at the time who was putting the level of effort into training that she was doing.  What a powerful statement that is.  One that is also relevant to the business of innovation.

It is not enough to get innovation; you have to get it done.  Whether you are in management or you are an innovation practitioner, you need to be doing the things every day that drive innovation success.  Stop worrying about if you are talking about innovation enough, and focus instead on innovation execution.  How do you know if you are on the road to closing the gap between innovation thought and action?  Here are some simple question to ask yourself about your contribution to making repeatable, high-value innovation a reality for your company.

For practitioners:

  • Are you integrating innovation practices into your daily routine?
  • Are you using technology to harness internal & external knowledge resources to expand your box?
  • Are you collaborating with all constituencies in your innovation environment?
  • Are you consistently creating value through your innovation efforts?
  • Are you effectively communicating the ROI on innovation to management?

For management:

  • Are you actively engaged in supporting and promoting innovation in the enterprise?
  • Are you making the needed investments in people and tools to build innovation competence?
  • Are you ensuring the alignment of corporate objectives and innovation strategy?
  • Recognizing and rewarding innovation contributors?
  • Encouraging people to practice innovation techniques in all they do, every day?

If you can answer yes to all these questions, you are on your way.  If not, you need to ask one more vital question: "Why am I not committed to driving corporate value through innovation?"