Maturity Part 2
In the previous article I explained the concept “Ïnnovation Maturity” and mentioned that there are a few measurement tools available for determining an organisation’s innovation maturity level.
Understanding where an organisation is in terms of innovation maturity is a critical first step for laying out the innovation journey. In this article I want to dwell into more detail on the measurement of innovation maturity, based on an article by my fellow innovation evangelist, Carrie Nauyalis. I want to emphasize again that understanding the concept of innovation maturity and planning for it, can prevent a lot of unnecessary pain and frustration on the innovation journey.
An innovation maturity model lets organisations rank themselves on the strength of their innovation program in the categories of people, process, and tools across five levels of maturity. Level 1 represents the lowest level of maturity while Level 5 is the highest, where innovation is operationalised, embedded in the company culture, with a supporting organisation, well-defined processes, and formalised tools. And it’s not just about identifying your current level and moving on down the road, but also to define your end game. What are you trying to achieve through innovation and what level of maturity is necessary to get there.
What hinders most innovation programmes is the lack of maturity in one or more of the areas of people, process, and tools. For example, drilling into the front end of innovation with idea generation, you need to have the infrastructure (people) to be able to respond to the inflow of all the ideas, a process to move those ideas through the lifecycle, and a tool to promote collaboration around ideas so the best ideas rise to the top and move towards a deeper business case analysis. The innovation maturity model will help organisations visually represent their current level of maturity.
For instance, if you are at Level 4 for people, Level 2 for process, and Level 1 for tools, you can see how wobbly your innovation stool might be. And more importantly, you can also see what specific actions can be taken to help you move up the scale and stabilize your innovation program.
To get an understanding for the scale of measurement, I want to concisely review how the highest maturity organisations embody the three categories of people, process, and tools as outlined in the maturity model, and this will give you an idea of its depth as well as what to strive for.
This is about having an organisational structure that supports innovation, with people whose jobs are to manage the innovation program and portfolio. The highest maturity organisations have a Center for Process Excellence that is productive, well established, and well-staffed. They also have support from executive leadership and department heads who know that innovation is how the business will grow, meet the corporate strategy, and thrive.
This refers to the automation of the commercialisation process. Organisations at the highest maturity level have dynamic processes that can easily be adapted as the market changes and the company evolves. They have fully automated and standardised processes that are in a regular state of continuous improvement, including process deliverables, templates, and reports.
This refers to having a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) system in place to automate processes, which are rolled out to everyone along the entire process. The PPM application is integrated with other enterprise applications, such as the ERP and Financial system.