Innovation Management Strategy

Bridging The Gap Between The Corporate Culture And The Desperate Need To Innovate

Bridging The Gap Between The Corporate Culture And The Desperate Need To Innovate
By Jama Bradley and Chad McAllister

Billion Dollar Question:

How does an organization bridge the gap between its need to innovate and its corporate culture?
We think of SILA as both the philosophy and activities concerned with fitting the pieces of the organization together from the perspective of product leadership and innovation.
For an organization to compete in the market place requires a focus and understanding of its competitive advantage. Research provides knowledge of the marketplace but strategy indicates how the organization will compete. Product leaders are those that can create buy-in from the top down to align the business strategy with the plan for innovation across all functions.

The Problem

Only about half of the most innovative companies have a corporate culture that supports their innovation strategy. Additionally, a majority of companies lack alignment between their innovation strategy and the corporate strategy. According to Booz (2011, p.1) “…companies with unsupportive cultures and poor strategic alignment significantly underperform their competitors.”

The 2011 Global Innovation 1000, Booz and Company’s seventh annual study of the world’s 1000 largest corporate R&D spenders, focuses on the links between culture, organization, and innovation strategy — and their impact on financial performance.

The key finding: culture is key to innovation success, and its impact on performance is measurable.

An Innovation Plan identifies the necessary changes that add value for customers in the form of products and services. Organizational alignment and leverage provides the framework that binds focus and talent.

The Solution = SILA

Where does one start to identify the gaps and reality check?
Product Leaders start with the S.I.L.A. to determine whether competitive advantage is attainable and sustainable.

Strategic Innovation, Leverage, and Alignment

SILA stands for strategic innovation, leverage, and alignment. SILA encompasses the concepts that frame innovation and decision making in the context of an organization or group.
SILA focuses on these inquiries:

  • How do the pieces of the organization fit together?
  • How can each of the pieces of the organization support each other?
  • Is the organization staged for success?

Strategy is a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. We want to think of innovation as a strategic capability.

We are focused on innovation as the means to achieve our strategic goals.

Leverage conveys that we are wisely using the resources of the organization and seeking innovations that will be effective given the capabilities and reach of the organization. Simply put – the innovations make sense for the organization.

Alignment is the most powerful aspect. Alignment creates congruence between the mission of the organization, its culture, and the resources to maximize the effectiveness of innovation.

There are several tools for analyzing and creating alignment such as using portfolio to align strategy and organizational resources.

Why is SILA important to product leadership and innovation?

Without SILA, competitive advantage and sustainability over time is almost an impossibility. SILA provides the framework to enable an organization to identify the gaps between its corporate and innovation strategies and formulate steps to alignment.

Now is the time to become an innovation leader!

About the Authors

Jama Bradley, Ph.D., NPDP, PMP
Consultant, Product Innovation Educators
Jama has trained organizations and individuals from across the country and the world to help them improve new product development and management practices. Her background includes New Product Development, Project Management, Organizational Behavior and Leadership, and Higher Education. Since 1995, Jama has also taught onsite and online college courses in her free time. Currently she is a faculty member at Colorado State University Global with their Masters of Management program.

Chad McAllister, Ph.D., NPDP, PMP
Founder, Product Innovation Educators
Chad is certified by PDMA as a New Product Development Professional and is licensed to provide NPDP training. He is also certified by PMI as a Project Management Professional. He is an experienced product and project manager who has conducted corporate training, workshops and presentations for more than 20 years. His education includes a PhD in Organization and Management, and MS and BS degrees in Electrical Engineering. Chad also teaches on the ground and online graduate classes, as well as mentors PhD students.

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