Setting Innovation Goals in Times of Uncertainty - The Bakery %

Setting Innovation Goals in Times of Uncertainty

Andrew Humphries

You may be familiar with setting yourself a New Year’s resolution or a goal you want to achieve in your personal or professional life. As many will agree, goal setting is a crucial aspect of life if you want to keep growing and seeing progress. And goal setting in innovation is no different. In fact, goal setting in innovation is a great pillar for success in innovation. If you set achievable yet valuable goals and metrics for success, your innovation projects will not only show stakeholders a promising return, but also long-term value. 

We’ve previously blogged about taking risk in innovation and took a deep dive into the importance of making lots of small bets as part of your innovation strategy in order to achieve repeatable innovation success. Setting innovation goals is also a key part of this strategy. 

There is often a misconception among businesses that innovation initiatives rarely bring value and are therefore not worth pursuing, or are not worth dedicating sufficient time and funds to render success. Because of this, innovation initiatives are doomed to fail. However, if businesses have a clear innovation strategy not only will innovation teams find it easier to execute innovation programmes (perhaps not always successfully, however the process itself will be valuable) but to also learn and iterate from each programme. 

So what does an innovation strategy look like? Well first, corporates need to identify a goal, or more likely, multiple goals to work towards. By identifying what the ultimate goals a business wishes to achieve are, teams can then take the steps needed to achieve this overarching goal, ensuring that all your innovation is not only intentional but purposeful. The best way to do this is to take small steps that will eventually amount to this biggest, hardest goal. 

Your ultimate goal (or goals) are essentially long-term targets which can be achieved through the culmination of all or multiple of your projects. This can range from the implementation of new technologies or processes that can cut costs over a given period of time, launching 2-3 products (or more! The projects that feed into this long-term goal are entirely based on your organisation!) a year, or generating new revenue from adjacent territories or white space, and more. 

In times of uncertainty, businesses often need to be agile and are focused on solving short term challenges. It’s natural to strive for a sense of normalcy when what we know has been disrupted. However, to overcome uncertainty, businesses need to foster a sustainable innovation process by looking long-term.

Nevertheless, the two do not need to be mutually exclusive. Having a long-term goal in place can actually give you room to tackle challenges as they rise without steering too far off-course. As Brian Solis, Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce has said, “Innovation is at the heart of the pandemic response playbook for how companies will stabilise, reopen, and ultimately, grow during times of uncertainty.” Setting long-term innovation goals is a key part of this. If your organisation’s strategy is to purely survive and tackle problems as they arise then you will merely scrape by. However if you have long-term targets to work towards, each aspect of your pandemic response (or any other response to disruption for that matter) can play into these targets. Ask yourself, “what can I do in response to this urgent problem, is this problem worth solving? And will it help achieve my biggest innovation goal or am will it lead me too far astray by wasting resources to create stability in the now?”

With a clear innovation strategy you are primed for success because you are working towards a bigger goal. Adopting new tech or putting out fires are but steps you take along the way as you work towards this biggest, hardest goal. By being goal-oriented, even if your efforts may not always rear immediate results, you ensure that what you are working on has purpose. This purpose will help your organisation ride out and overcome the waves of uncertainty and hit the ground running when things become more ‘stable.’ 

Having trouble figuring out what your biggest, hardest goals are? We can help. The Bakery have had years of experience in helping large organisations work towards solving their business challenges across various time horizons in order to achieve their biggest innovation goals. Get in touch to find out more here!

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