Everyone wants to get better at innovating. But despite taking all manner of advice, most large organizations are experiencing declining innovation performance.
At Commodore, we help you innovate more effectively by focusing on the five core elements below. We provide evidence-based guidance for each and help you test and adapt it for your context.
Unlike other innovation service providers, we measure the impact of our work in terms of the results that matter to you and your business. We’ll help you track the metrics necessary to monitor progress and outcomes of the work we do together. That means, with every engagement, you build capabilities to measure and communicate the impact of innovation—and to learn from what works and what doesn’t.
We’re confident we’ll have a positive impact on your innovation effectiveness. So much so that we get paid when you’re confident we have.
An innovation strategy specifies how your company intends to use innovation to create and capture value1.
If your innovation efforts seem unfocused or inadequate, decisions take too long to make, or the innovation function is out of sync with the rest of the organization, you don’t have an effective innovation strategy.
To develop your innovation strategy, we’ll assess your current state and needs using our evidence-based framework. That process is driven by engagement with a variety of stakeholders—teams, innovation leaders, decision-makers—which will maximize both our understanding as well as buy-in across levels. We design execution-ready strategies by:
- naming concrete actions (what first, what next)
- providing the means to track progress and success
- specifying a format and cadence of communication about both.
We’ll take a baseline and measure the impact of implementing the strategy. In the short term, expect to see improvements in shared understanding of strategy, focus, alignment with business strategy, and your teams’ satisfaction. In the long term, expect to see increased ROI—and more support for innovation from across the organization.
innovation portfolio management
Innovation portfolio management is the process by which you regularly evaluate, prioritize, and select investments in projects and portfolios. How well you manage your innovation portfolio is a function of culture, leadership, systems, and selection criteria and practices.
Your organization has high-quality portfolio management capabilities if:
- You have a single system and common language for innovation decision-making.
- You have systems and tools to debias decisions.
- Innovation teams and decision-makers alike have visibility to projects’ risks and uncertainties—and therefore a common basis for judgment.
- It’s clear to all how projects and portfolios ladder up to the innovation strategy.
To enhance your innovation portfolio management process, Commodore will engage with innovation teams and decision-makers to understand your innovation strategy and current practices. We’ll compare those against evidence-based best practices and formulate recommendations that make sense in your context.
Those might include:
- changes in selection criteria
- new tools (e.g., scorecards, dashboard)
- education (e.g., regarding different innovation project types)
- watchouts for your particular organizational culture.
We’ll stay around to support you through change, testing and refining the process as you implement.
We’ll help you measure the impact of more effective innovation decision-making. In the short term, expect to see higher-quality project proposals and projects. In the long term, expect to see more efficient learning and increased ROI.
A high-quality innovation analytics system includes metrics, benchmarks for comparison, communication practices, and the tools to support all of the above. It’s working well when you and your leadership are confident in decisions at the project, portfolio, process, and organizational levels.
Our approach to designing your innovation analytics system includes an assessment of your current decision-making culture—who makes innovation decisions, based on what types of information? We systematically help you choose metrics that are actionable, suitable for your culture, and feasible to collect. We’ll help you test new metrics and practices in context—and make any necessary adjustments before we deliver final recommendations.
Investing in high-quality innovation analytics helps firms derive more value from their innovation and R&D investments2. We’ll help you measure the impacts of improved innovation analytics—depending on your context and objectives, these may include faster time to market; and increased focus, portfolio diversification, and return on innovation investment.
innovation team development
Your organization’s strategy and approach to innovation are put to the test in innovation project teams. Your ability to compete and realize growth from innovation depend on your people’s capabilities to:
- Assemble effective teams with multiple perspectives represented
- Systematically formulate, prioritize, and test hypotheses
- Measure and communicate project progress and outcomes to decision-makers
Commodore will assess your team(-s) on three dimensions—teaming, experimentation, and decision-making. We’ll recommend evidence-based improvements and identify potential points of friction with new practices and your organization’s broader culture. As always, we’ll help you test and refine new practices by observing and assisting through at least one innovation project.
We’ll help your teams stop relying on activity metrics and work toward measuring learning and forecasting outcomes. We’ll enable you to measure the cumulative impact of more effective teams—on the outcomes that matter most to the organization (e.g., metrics to measure learning, value, efficiency, speed).
Commodore can also help when you need an external perspective and/ or capabilities for a discrete innovation project. We can:
- Assess your innovation ecosystem and identify potential partners.
- Characterize the state of the science and key players in a given technology or market space.
- Help you understand and engage with your customers and other stakeholders.
When working as an extension of your team, we use the same evidence-based practices we recommend within our strategic/systems design work above. We build proposals and projects based on hypotheses and demonstrate good practices for measurement and communication. As such, these projects can serve as a low-risk way to experiment with new methods before extending them to a full portfolio or the organization.
Commodore will structure the work around hypotheses that will be tested against qualitative and quantitative data. We’ll also work with you to establish how this project “ladders up” to outcomes that matter to your broader team and relevant decision-makers. We’ll make sure metrics and practices are in place to track and communicate progress and results in those terms.
(1) Pisano, Gary P. “You Need an Innovation Strategy.” Harvard Business Review 93, no. 6 (June 2015): 44–54.
(2) RTEC (2010). Driving effective R&D performance through effective measurement.