If you’re like me (or any of the IOI Partners members), you read a lot. You expose yourself to a wide range of thinking and attempt to synthesize that vast amount of information into a refined sense of meaning. However, every once in a while, an idea is presented that stands well on its own. This post acknowledges one of those ideas and will summarize the ideas of the original authors.
In the book Beyond the Idea: How to Execute Innovation in Any Organization, authors Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble present three models for executing innovation initiatives: small, repeatable and custom.
Innovation Initiative Models
First, small initiatives attempt to fit innovation into the leftover parts or “slack” of the business. Every employee is involved in realizing innovations, but these activities are conducted in a way that avoids disrupting the normal business engine. Small innovation initiatives are constrained to smaller innovation projects because “slack” time is (or should be) limited by efficient business operations.
Next, repeatable initiatives try to make innovation activities look as much like the primary business engine as possible. The goal with repeatable innovation initiatives is to make innovating the standard with every new release being an innovation on the previous model. The authors use the Apple iPhone as their example for a repeatable innovation initiative. The primary limitation of this model is the fact that new innovations are often similar to previous innovations.
Finally, custom initiatives acknowledge that innovation activities don’t match normal business operations and require the business to give the initiative the time and space needed for potential success. Specifically, custom innovation initiatives need a “special team” and a “special plan” to be effective. The authors state that this is the most difficult model for companies to execute, largely because of competing priorities. They even go as far as to say that no companies have mastered this model of executing innovation.
The majority of Beyond the Idea is dedicated to fleshing out the details of custom innovation initiatives, which we’ll leave to the original authors.
IOI Partners claims no rights to these ideas, but believes they offer important insights that will help leaders of innovation initiatives. To this end, we highly recommend buying and reading this book dedicated to these ideas: Beyond the Idea: How to Execute Innovation in Any Organization, by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble. Govindarajan’s latest thoughts on innovation can be found in The Three Box Solution: A Strategy for Leading Innovation.
Book cover provided courtesy of Vijay Govindarajan.