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Becoming MORE successful with innovation (Part 2 of 2)

Now that you have a sense of WHAT innovation is (see Part 1), you can begin developing a process for institutionalizing innovation in your own organization.

Idea submissions will likely only focus on a subset of context (scenarios and problems they are trying to address). A separate effort will need to be made (by business analysts presumably) to fill in missing context.

Ideas typically don’t exist in a vacuum, but it’s important to first explore the concept behind an idea (informally or via a discipline like Lateral Thinking – see DeBono’s works). This is where divergence occurs (before the funnel) that goes far beyond the conventional process of brainstorming. Brainstorming provides a useful "dump" of ideas, which for some teams is very valuable when time constrained. If a bit more time (and discipline) is applied, you can develop a large repository of ideas, some of which may lead to breakthroughs for solving problems and/or creating new opportunity in the market.


Where possible ideas may be further enhanced and expanded upon. Affinity analysis around ideas can yield greater impact, so additional attribution may be useful to impart via the alignment with scenarios and problems within the context of the evolving ©BizDNA.

  • The term scenario refers to a process “instance”.

  • Example: Maintain equipment on line (new product build)

  • Example: Maintain equipment on line (product support)

One of the first challenges with Ideation is capturing and warehousing ideas. If you consider ideas as just another “type” of issue, you can include these in the larger “virtual” Demand Repository (central or federated warehouse), which provides a way to index, search, discover, and align ideas (which may be complimentary and/or help aggregate into a larger concept for providing value).

Assuming you can establish a Demand Repository (issues, ideas, requests), the next step would involve a way to capture ideas (presumably a simple form). Once ideas are captured, you will need a way to review, align, evaluate, and (where possible) enhance ideas.


Once ideas are deemed “ready” for consideration, they can be reviewed and scored like any other initiative where resources can be applied to develop the concept. The typical funnel diagram shows the flow addressing convergence, associated with critical thinking applied in an operational setting.

A more elaborate process is outlined below since this is where project and portfolio management need to be expanded beyond the normal PPM approach.


"Build it and they will come"

So, all of that sounds great, but how do we get there ? Most of this involves designing a roadmap of initiatives to operationalize the above concepts, processes, training, and automation. Some of the steps include:

  • Review process & lifecycle with subject matter experts (business, technology, operations). Establish the process with internal staff and over time you may want to extend it to your supply chain and value chain partners. This is a more collaborative model and one that can pay dividends (win-win for all players).

  • Design and build a Demand Management Repository. Most organizations don't have this in place. It requires some engineering and modeling skill, but it's a huge return on investment when done right.

  • Draft process for issue management (incorporating ideas). Issue management is much larger than articulated by ITIL and operational tools like ServiceNow. This is an enterprise capability that incorporates a number of disciplines and leverages the Demand Repository and ©BizDNA (find out more here).

  • Identify criteria to promote ideas through the innovation process, incorporating both forward and backward chaining (via mapping to other ideas).

  • Develop your own ideation form for capturing ideas and agree on a set of criteria for aligning ideas (solution concepts) to address one or more problems for vetting and approval.

  • Develop a communication plan for socializing the process, establishing a discipline, and institutionalizing the right behaviors and complimentary decision structures for building a Learning Culture in your organization.

To find out more about becoming a more innovative organization, contact us.


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