A lack of key technical and commercial skills represents a chronic problem in our ability to deliver business results from innovation. We differentiate the issue of the overloaded pipeline from a lack of key skills. One is a function of aggregate capacity, the other is specific to the knowledge, experience and capabilities of the people you rely on to execute the process of development and commercialization.
The Chief Innovation Officer must look beyond strategy and process to create and nurture a culture conducive to innovation. This can be a tremendous challenge in large, established enterprises that have been focused on efficiency for decades. Nurturing a culture of innovation means redefining success for those that work in the functions supporting innovation. It doesn’t mean changing the entire company.
The ability to sustain innovation performance over time requires the Chief Innovation Officer to evolve innovation business disciplines and competencies. We can get a short-term improvement in performance by shifting the mix in the innovation portfolio and pushing breakthrough initiatives into market, but the ability of the organization to do these things repeatedly is the key to long-term success.
Over the past couple of months we have explored the twelve questions that should be asked and answered during comprehensive reviews of an innovation portfolio. While these reviews take place infrequently, they provide us with the opportunity to clearly evaluate the choices we are making – or not making – in the management of our innovation investment portfolio.