Motivating innovation

The reasons you decided to innovate determine how you measure the success of your innovation. Your reasons could be as varied as trying to increase market share, improve processes or increase staff retention, all of which require different innovation strategies and have different benchmarks.

Innovation is a dynamic process, whether it be incremental, radical or a combination of both. The objective is to achieve your desired outcome. Innovation can change as you adapt to changes in your environment, whether due to resourcing issues, technological changes or economic changes. Your own expectations of what you require out of the innovation process may also change. So while your motivation innovating has been fulfilled, you may not have achieved what you initially set out to do. You may have even achieved far more than expected.

Innovation requires collaboration. You need to review whether the motivation for all the stakeholders has been achieved; their motivations may differ from yours. While you may be looking to develop a new product, your employees may see this as an opportunity to broaden their skills. Both motivations can be achieved through the innovation process, but the enthusiasm to continue to innovate diminishes if one is not.

Think about where you started, your baseline, and what you have achieved, whether it be:

  • an increase in market share
  • a reduction in process costs
  • an increase in staff retention.

Motivation drives the innovation process. Align it with stakeholder motivations and frame it so that it does not limit the potential of the innovation.

Revisit your targets periodically. See how far your business has progressed at the end of your innovation adventure. Also review your business's ability to meet the innovation targets. Did it take longer than expected to reach the targets and was there much variation in the targets reached?

Look not only for difficulties in reaching the goal of the innovation but also for positive impacts due to the innovation. You may have exceeded expectations. Determine by how much and what factors contributed to this outcome. These factors need to be incorporated into your learning and improvements for the next innovation adventure.