Interpreting the Strategic Discussion for Innovation

The struggle for innovation alignment is one of those real challenging issues that are seemingly very hard to resolve, or so it seems. I’m not setting out a comprehensive solution here, well not in this blog, of the suggested ways to address this strategic/innovation alignment issue, as that is far more complex. All I will offer at this point of time is this alignment concern is becoming increasingly top of my mind.

Constructing an innovation conversation framework

What I am offering here is an innovation conversation framework, on how we can approach different strategic value propositions, and where we might need to debate these across the organization, as the points of impact so we can make this move towards a higher degree of innovation alignment.

If we take the three ‘classic’ strategic thrusts of product leadership, operational excellence or customer intimacy, just for illustrative purposes here, then we need to make clear the potentially different emphasis points within any suggested innovation approach that we should take. We must, within any innovation approach, be clear on what and where we should be placing our primary focus.

Aligning innovation within a strategic conversation framework

This framing can be most useful to remind people who are involved that there are significant points of difference. There is a need to agree and align on what we are driving our innovation activity to support any selected strategic direction. This framework can really open up the discussion. It can begin to show the possible implications and challenges ahead.

Equally some might argue that you actually need to combine all three, well I’d certainly want to question that really hard on whether this is possible all at the same time. I would really doubt it, if you just consider some of the aspects I’ve laid out within this framework above.

If it is still demanded, and some leaders can be just that, demanding,  I would suggest you really do need, even more, a framework to remind you of the critical differences and what aspects need clear focus to deliver to the distinct value proposition parts. Each strategic value proposition has significant implications to plan and work through.

Having a top picture in mind certainly helps

Having a top picture of the where to place your emphasis makes some sense. I’m not saying these shown are the ones you will have within your boxes but all I’m offering here, is a suggested framework that captures the key strategic emphasis points, so as you can engage in a deeper discussion before you launch yourself in blue yonder.

This framework can help you to contribute to achieving a greater alignment between the strategic direction (product leadership, operational excellence or customer intimacy) and the key innovation aspects that help to align to this that the organization will need to think about and work through.

Does it make sense to you?

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