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The Innovation Value Chain

I really liked the point that Tim Kastelle makes in this HBR piece about why your innovation contest won't work. I recall having bad experiences with poorly executed ideas generation schemes in a previous life in corporate world. Such schemes concentrate on a very narrow component of innovation (the invention part) and Tim's wider (and very valid) point is that this ignores the other elements that are key to an effective innovation process. At least as critical are the selection and screening of ideas, the development and commercialisation, and then their scalability and diffusion. He references the Innovation Value Chain (above) which positions this in the context of simple questions and KPIs. In order to be good at innovation, says Tim, companies need to be good at every stage of this process.

This lack of attention to the different elements, and the difficulty in marshalling resources or maintaining the kind of culture that can deliver against each of these stages, is something that was echoed in the feedback from the interviews I conducted recently for the work I did around agility and innovation for Econsultancy. It feels like an obvious thing, but if it's so obvious why do so many companies miss this by a mile? 

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