Why innovation in a corporate context is so damn hard 5 elements from design thinking to show you the way

Innovation and disruption: today's buzzwords. Every large organisation is frantically trying to reinvent itself due to threats from digital players, decreasing customer loyalty, or simply lagging revenues.

Start-ups have a major advantage compared to big corporates when it comes to disruptive innovation. Small teams simply don't have to deal with the hassle of corporate structures, validation echelons, and budget allocation. All things that often act as a showstopper for innovative idea realization.

How can big organisations mimic the nimble start-ups and reach similar innovation speed and spending agility? Here are five key elements to mimic them. 

1. Create a team that operates outside day-to-day activities

  • Select people with a strong understanding of your business needs.
  • Free up their agenda – ideally 100%.
  • Empower them – to be successful, innovation needs the backing of C-level management.

2. Start by formulating high-level hypotheses

  • Quickly assess their accuracy: which touch-points in your customer journey are the most impactful? Which processes have the highest negative impact on your bottom- line? What product is ready for disruption?
  • Whether it’s through data analysis, customer interviews or process analysis, find out within a couple of days if the broad strokes of your assumption are worth pursuing. You can refine later.

3. Involve the end- user early in the process

  • Customers don’t always know what they want. But ask them the right questions and they will b provide you the real paint points they encounter. So involve them in your innovation process early-on, to gather their insights.
  • This will help you validate your hypotheses, and develop the right innovation.

4. Prototype quickly and cheaply:

  • An MVP should not be commercial-ready, its sole goal should be to discover whether your solutions is linked to a real issue, worth solving.
  • Don’t create an MVP that is ready to launch, but instead develop a more tangible visualisation of your solution, in order to check its relevance across stakeholders.

5. Work in iterative sprints:

  • from problem formulation (design challenge) to prototype, it shouldn’t take you more than 2-3 weeks.

How do you help your organisation innovate? Let me know what works for you.