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Innovation Accelerators – Part 2

In my previous post on Innovation Accelerators, I shared some ways to build and lead a team of innovators. In this article we’ll review some additional ways to ramp up your organization’s innovation efforts

Speed to Market

A key innovation accelerator can be found through the effective use of pilots and proof of concept (PoC) efforts. These can range from organic efforts of a couple of hours, through full team implementations that last multiple months. Enable and promote your team to take their ideas and prove their value to the business through effective demonstrations. It is often difficult to show value on paper, or to break through emotional or gut-feel barriers, without having some sort of tangible evidence that the results will end up as the team anticipates. Create safe zones for your teams to prove out concepts with mockups, innovation labs, pilot projects and other techniques.

As a leader, you can support these efforts by providing the proper tools and environments for your team to be successful. Support minimal viable products (MVP) as a tool to increase your speed to market. Additionally, there are a number of mockup tools, low-code software options, hardware emulators and other items that allow a team to be fast and flexible, with a low-cost commitment. At Faith Technologies Incorporated (FTI), we have been able to use these on a number of occasions to create solutions using hardware and software products put together in a lab, or quick mockups of software products that give stakeholders a good feel for what a finished product could look like. These methods get a tangible product in the hands of your customers quickly and provide feedback and confidence to both the team and stakeholders.

Support, Stabilize and Scale

Speed and agility are often key to getting out in front of your competitors in a market, but those advantages only last so long. A successful team understands how to scale solutions beyond that PoC and how to realize value for the business doing so. As a project grows, so do the requirements of the solution. This dilemma creates additional problems as well as opportunities for a team to tailor and optimize their solution. How can your team focus on reducing the support costs? How do you help your team focus on cybersecurity? How does your current PoC morph into something that might be dealing with millions of transactions and multiple sites? There are a number of key components to your team’s ability to scale a solution effectively.

  • Have a well-documented technology framework in place that can be interpreted by not only the implementing team, but also by anyone who supports the efforts going forward.
  • Focus on key partners who understand your business and can have a demonstrated history and inventory of tested, hardened hardware and software solutions.
  • Keep your costs in check from the very start of an effort, as it is much more difficult to pare back once you have committed to a solution.
  • Ask “what if” questions to your team as they approach a problem that address the matters that might be present in scenarios beyond a pilot project.

Being part of an innovative team is challenging and rewarding. Organizations that recognize and support these challenges can realize innovation at a pace far ahead of others.