Preparing innovation

Innovation, the heartbeat of high-tech companies, is like a building. It rests on four basement walls - four foundations:

  1. A good idea.
  2. Management support.
  3. Money.
  4. An environment without fear.

Take away just one basement wall, and innovation is doomed:

By the way: innovation is just a buzzword for - entrepreneurship.


Realizing innovation

Innovation is like a building: on top of the foundations comes the visible building. To realize it, innovation requires professional planning and professional execution.

  1. Start from market demand.
  2. Clarify the goals and the customer advantages of the innovation project.
  3. Clarify the goals and the customer advantages even more: compare them with the competition.
  4. Communicate the goals and the advantages of the innovation project.
  5. Implement the best project management possible.

Innovation is often destroyed by unprofessional behaviour:

Check yourself: Are the goals in your environment well chosen? Are the goals crystal clear? And next: is the project management professional?


Managing high-risk projects

High-risk team projects, especially in high-tech, are best organized with the following management principles:

  1. Ensure fast decision taking - especially about alternative paths.
  2. Ensure drive behind every milestone of the project.
  3. Listen to all project members. Collect their advice. Ponder it.
  4. Listen to all project members. Absorb all intermediate results.
  5. Respect all opinions and values - especially critical views.
  6. Never punish or ridicule mistakes.
  7. If the project is successful, it is the team's merit.
  8. If the project is unsuccessful, it is the management's fault.
  9. Spend half your time preparing for mishaps and disasters.
  10. Spend the other half of your time motivating project members.
  11. Use humour.
  12. Value and praise your colleagues.

With such leadership, every innovation project will be successful. The higher the risk, the more you need these principles.

By the way: most companies are high-risk projects.