Agile innovation

“Execution is everything” – Michael Jordaan, renowned former CEO of the world’s most innovative bank – First National Bank. These were the foremost words of advice from Michael during the concept development of Nectir.

Innovation management software plays a major role in the process of creating an environment where innovation can bloom. It has the ability to create a fluid culture of innovation through:

  • Collection of ideas from employees,
  • Community review and manager selection of the best ideas to progress with,
  • Crowd sourcing ideas for the solving of business challenges,
  • Tangible employee engagement,
  • Strategy alignment and focused ideation,
  • Analysis and reporting

All of which can be automated through the smart use of social collaboration methods. But, what’s most important is that ideas turn into actual innovation. For this to happen people need to move ideas from concepts to execution. How they do this decides the level of success of their innovation efforts.

More success, more often.

“Fail often and early”, as John C. Maxwell says. To do this you have to create an environment that firstly allows for “often”, which means there needs to be many opportunities to create and test ideas. By implication this means a business needs a lot of ideas to start with. Secondly, “early” testing means two things – 1. a business needs to be able to pressure test an idea earlier in the decision-making process and 2. that testing also needs to be fast. The result is more success, more often.

Nectir has created the function called Sprints for idea execution, which is based on the agile process. Originally the agile process is a method of software development but is quickly becoming a broader principle of business development. It focuses on quick iterations of multidisciplinary teams to create solutions from problems. Barclays and ING are some of the many large corporates that are successfully implementing this as a method of working. (Watch ING’s agile process here.)

Innovating in a sprint.

The Sprints function means that dynamic, short-term, sprint teams can be created for multidisciplinary idea validation and planning. This stops the process of inter-departmental baton-passing and speeds up the per-idea-lifecycle from months to weeks. Also this means that instead of relying on different stages of disciplines to review and flesh out ideas there is only one. The total innovation lifecycle, using this method, is dramatically reduced.

How sprints in Nectir work

  • Selected ideas are promoted to a Sprint
  • Inter-departmental specialists are assigned an idea by a manager
  • The Sprint creators set key objectives and requirements for a business case (or proposal)
  • Sprint teams can post requests for help from the rest of the business – to quickly solve smaller pieces of the Sprint.
  • Sprint teams can set themselves tasks to complete before the end of the sprint
  • All sprint requirements are deadline driven to rapidly create viable business solutions

 

By creating an agile process within the innovation process, businesses can actively move ideas into execution by setting up more pockets of delivery than before. The process does not rely on older stage-gates and gives executives clear decision making across more implementation-ready ideas.