Starting an innovation project

Starting an innovation project – 5 steps to help you choose the right innovation goal.

Innovation is all around us. Everyone does it, so, naturally, you want (and must) innovate as well. But starting an innovation project can be intimidating. How do you ensure that you’ll make the most of your innovation process? Or, more fundamentally, where do you start?

New innovations appear all the time. Competitors continually come up with something new and consumers are no longer shy about sharing their wishes. As an organisation you certainly do not want to be left behind and you are probably eager to dive into the world of innovation. We can only applaud this will to innovate. However, make sure that you innovate with the right intention. “Our competitors do something with technology, so we want that too” sounds progressive, but can be a major pitfall at the same time. That something works for your competitor does not automatically mean it will work for you. Furthermore, technology is never a goal in itself. It is a way of achieving a goal.

Before starting an innovation project, make sure you have a clearly defined innovation goal. Only when you know why you want to innovate, you can easily choose the right type of innovation.

To make the search for your innovation goal run as smoothly as possible, we have listed 5 points for you to think about:

  1. The competition

Competition often forces organisations to innovate. It’s important to know what’s going on in your field. By studying the innovations in your field, you’ll know what the competition is up to. And more importantly; you’ll know what you can do to do it better. It’s great to use your competitors as motivation, but don’t let the competition be your sole reason for innovation. Competition-driven innovation may lead you to develop a new product, but success is certainly not guaranteed. To know if you’re on the right track, more insights are needed.

  1. The foundation

A really good innovation suits the core of your organization. Look at your organisation’s vision, mission and core values. What are your goals and dreams? What do you want to achieve? By keeping the innovation close to yourself, you will not only develop something new, but will strengthen your organization. A win-win situation, who doesn’t want that?!

  1. The topics

There are plenty of things on which you can innovate. Do you want to solve problems, improve matters or utilise opportunities? To make it easy for you, we have collected 20 of these topics in this blog article: Read them (again), and see what may apply to your organization.

  1. The target audience

Are you going to develop an innovation for internal use, for your customers or for the rabbit that happily hops through your backyard? In short, who is your target audience? What do they value and what are their needs? Talk to them and involve them in your innovation process. They will certainly offer you important information, and often very good ideas as well. By involving them, you ensure support, which increases the chance of adoption of your innovation.

  1. The degree of change

With how much impact do you want to innovate? Are you going for incremental innovation; an improvement on your current product or service? This degree of innovation is relatively cheap, the effect is often reasonably predictable and the chance of adoption is high. Or do you want to shake up the market and go for a completely new product or service by opting for disruptive (radical) innovation? With this degree of innovation, you can have a huge advantage over your competitors, but it is harder to predict the effect as you don’t know how it’s going to be picked up.


Now what?

You have now collected all the information you need to define your innovation goal as clear as possible. Perhaps it confirms the idea you had before reading this article. It is also possible that you’ve suddenly stumbled upon a completely different perspective. Either way, it will help you select the right innovation type. We will cover the different types of innovation to choose from soon, in a follow-up article.

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