There has been a lot written about open innovation concepts and the value of broad collaboration with experts in different fields. There is also a large and growing cadre of consultants that can help improve different aspects of innovation. What I don’t see very often is a structure that incorporates outside perspectives on an ongoing basis on the major decisions facing a Chief Innovation Officer.
Last month in the Wall Street Journal, Dennis K. Berman called out corporate executives for overuse of the word innovation. In his opinion companies misuse the word to describe product line extensions or upgrades when it should be reserved for true breakthroughs that create new product categories. His prime example was Kellogg’s Gone Nutty! Peanut Butter Pop-Tart, which the company touted as one the most important products of the year and an innovation. According to Berman, this is going too far.
Does the portfolio contain a diverse mix of innovation types?
In my ongoing series of portfolio review questions we now come to a question of scope. It is natural in product-based companies to have portfolio reviews that are exclusively focused on new products or new versions of existing products. This question is designed to get the portfolio review committee to think beyond the product and take responsibility for a broader definition of innovation.