March 20, 2011 at 7:41am
Setting up an organisational system that enables a market-like scenario for supporting and funding innovative ideas.
In most organisations, innovations are often individual-driven or assigned to specific teams. Often, the lack of support in terms of expertise and funds results in many innovative ideas never getting fulfilled. Also, a lack of information sharing leads to a situation where the best ideas or innovations could be ignored, thus resulting in the use of resources towards projects that might end up giving lower returns than those that went unsupported.
- Building the Innovation Market
- The first step is the creation of a centralised database across the organisation where people can share their ideas. This idea could either be in terms of a concept or a technical proposition.
- This database is the information pool for the Innovation Market. The Innovation Market consists of two kinds of individuals: Innovators and Entrepreneurs.
- An Innovator is an individual who provides an idea, called Innovation in this model, in the Innovation Market. He/she could also help another Innovator with expertise to help bring the idea to fruition.
- An Entrepreneur is someone who funds a certain idea via the Innovation Market so that it can be converted into an Innovation. Ideally, all employees in the organisation would be Entrepreneurs with the level of resources available with them arranged as per their position in the organisation. Only giving managerial-level employees resources might result in the lower-level employees failing to develop the ideas due to lack of resources - they can fund themselves initially.
- How the Innovation Market works
- An Innovator (the Initiator in this case) posts his/her idea in the Innovation Market. Now, he/she has the ability to choose from three different statuses about the Innovation (this could be customised as per the organisation's needs): Needs help from other Innovators, Needs funding from Entrepreneurs, or Both.The Innovation would also have an Open or Closed status (open would be any of the statuses mentioned above). In a closed status, the Innovation would be categorised either as a success or a failure.
- Now, say if the Innovator A has posted an Innovation Z (Innovator A is thus the Initiator for Innovation Z), and needs help from other Innovators. Innovators B and C propose solution that could enable the Innovation move forward. Innovator A likes B's suggestion and accepts it and rejects C's solution. Hence, B becomes a Collaborator with A on the Innovation.
- Just like Innovator A's Innovation, there would be many such Innovations circulating in the Innovation Market. However, each Entrepreneur has limited funds. Hence, he/she would put money in those Innovations where he/she believes the returns would be greater since just like the Innovator, he/she would get rewarded for being a stakeholder in an successful Innovation.
- Thus, a marketplace is created for Innovations where Entrepreneurs judiciously put their resources in the Innovation they believe will be beneficial for the organisation.
- Open information sharing on Innovations in the organisation without diluting the Initiator's ownership of the Innovation.
- In case of Closed Innovations, the Innovators and Entrepreneurs (if any) would need to append a detailed report outlining on the timeline of progress, and the critical reasons behind the success/failure. This experience could be vital for other Innovators pursuing similar projects.
- Open systems lead to faster sharing of information thus resulting in quickening and broadening experimentation in the organisation.
- Less possibility of duplication of ideas across various units of the organisation, hence eliminating inefficiency in experimenation in the organisation.
- The creation of the Innovation Market, with Entrepreneurs funding Innovations with resources, would result in efficient resource allocation towards the most 'innovative' Innovations, just like capital markets. Thus, experimentation in the organisation would become cheaper as only the 'fittest' and most practical Innovations would be the backing of a prudent Entrepreneur.
A hour of brainstorming with my friend Piyush Aren.
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