A recent report by A.T. Kearney titled, Innovation: A Solid Wager, in Good Times and in Bad, explains how innovation management, when done right, is a surefire way to outperform the market. The report starts out by demonstrating the benefits of innovation, such as the financial performance of top innovators, which can be seen in the charts below:

Best Innovators Perform Better

Next, the report explains what makes a company a best innovator, discussing what capabilities they must master and what conditions they must enable to unlock innovation. The chart below by A.T. Kearney shows the exploration and execution phases, both of which are necessary for best-in-class innovation.

Innovation Leaders

Getting to, and through, the go/no-go decision is a critical, but delicate process. Time is of the essence, moving too slow may result in missing out on the opportunity, but rushing blindly ahead without careful evaluation is likely to result in poor or even disastrous results. With that in mind, here are our top tips for leveraging innovation software to get to the go/no-go decision quickly, but deliberately:

1) Obtaining clear, far-reaching visibility

In order to make the best possible decisions, organizations need deep visibility into their innovation projects at all stages and across all departments. This includes workflows and milestones, which clearly indicate the development stage of each proposal, in addition to KPIs and idea maps, to understand how proposals compare to one another.

2) Broadcasting needs precisely

Clearly communicating innovation needs and goals, both to internal and external groups, is a key first step, providing users with a context and target for their efforts. By doing so, time and effort is not wasted on irrelevant opportunities and proposals. A branded innovation portal, like that of P&G’s Connect+Develop, is an excellent tool for broadcasting innovation or technology needs. Organizations can also choose to be very selective about who they broadcast their needs to, for example only communicating to technology scouts, partners or suppliers.

3) Making involvement easy

One of the most effective ways to get users actively involved on an innovation or technology scouting platform is to make participation easy and interesting. By enabling users to subscribe to topics or proposals, they can be automatically alerted to updates on subjects that interest them. Organizations can also automatically suggest related proposals to pique the interest of users. Finally, to make information exchanges and involvement painless, document sharing and email push should be included in the platform.

4) Maturing ideas efficiently

Beyond making collaboration easy, organizations should implement mechanisms to collect the relevant insight and context, ensuring proposals are adequately matured. For example, engaging experts is an invaluable way to gain insight, but is sometimes difficult due to insufficient time or geographical distances. To avoid this problem, evaluations should be online, standardized and feature weights on each topic, creating a thorough, but quickly completed evaluation. Additionally, related proposals are another important source of insight and, very often, of innovation serendipity. With a visual map showing which and how proposals are related, organizations can quickly spot not only the synergies but also the duplicates.

5) Go/no go decision

All of this leads up to one key, final moment: the go/no-go decision. To support decision makers, all of the information related to a proposal should be centralized, this includes notes, insights, documents, emails and evaluations, ensuring they don’t waste time collecting information. Additionally, graphical KPIs evaluating proposals on indicators such as the novelty and expected return make it possible to compare proposals to others in the pipeline and decide which are worth pursuing and which should be put on hold.

There’s a lot more to innovation management that just this, but at least these tips will get you started on your way. Launching an innovation platform may seem like a daunting task, but with the right software it doesn’t have to be.