Whatever your objectives are, innovation is often key to success, especially for achieving the more ambitious goals. Being proactive in encouraging continuous innovation is also a proven method for enhancing performance and essential for market leading businesses, whether for economic, competitive or environmental purposes. Innovation governance can be thought of as a system of mechanisms to align goals, allocate resources and assign decision making authority for innovation across the company and with external parties; all providing invaluable insight to feedback into the process to guide its ongoing activity.
Our client, Marks & Spencer (M&S), wanted to make a step-change to become proactive in its pursuit of innovation. This was borne mainly out of frustration with the lack of progress being made in this area and the uncontrolled way innovation was being funnelled in to the business.
Starting with the corporate mission and objectives, we map out an overall process to incorporate the relevant departments, teams and stakeholders, with feedback loops to enable an agile evolution. This is designed to maximise the pipeline of innovation, while maintaining focused, continual improvement. Our standard architecture is then modified to incorporate internal governance gateways alongside the assessment mechanism within the standard process. For M&S we mobilised a software platform to provide a user interface for the team for every step of the process, as well as a means of reporting on progress and a searchable database of all the innovation to date.
This ongoing project for M&S has seen hundreds of innovations pass through the process, building a growing database of technology and innovation and, most importantly, the strong governance to make informed decisions. This has assured sound investment of the annual budget and the adoption of new technologies, bringing annual savings worth millions of pounds – importantly being a fraction of the cost to operate this process.