Andrea Schmitz

Andrea Schmitz

Director, Consulting Services

Targeted innovation management is vital to transforming ideas into ground-breaking new products and services. But innovation management must be conducted both strategically and holistically so good ideas can be implemented successfully―and monetized. An MVP (minimum viable product) alone is insufficient without an MVO (minimum viable organization).

Targeted, effective and scalable innovation management allows companies to achieve substantial competitive advantages while improving customer retention and satisfaction at the same time. Additionally, combining innovation management with agile transformation not only helps companies meet high expectations for rapid implementation, but also generates synergies on both fronts.

We believe that four best practices lie at the heart of successful innovation management:

  1. Innovation management model
    An internal “Lean Innovation Agency” is needed to establish the necessary processes, create the organizational structure, and conduct successful internal marketing for the innovation program. This includes, for example: defining necessary roles and governing bodies, such as an evaluation board; potentially implementing suitable tools to manage both the ideas and the portfolio; establishing structures for ongoing communication; and, selecting the innovation methods to be applied. It also includes supporting measures to promote a culture of innovation, as well as integration with the corporate strategy, a dedicated budget, and access to influential and recognized sponsors. It is occasionally necessary to consolidate various innovation approaches within a company to exploit synergies and achieve an even stronger focus on the corporate strategy. An external consultant can provide valuable experience and know-how, adapted to a company’s specific requirements, to design and mature the Lean Innovation Agency.
  2. Ongoing innovation run service

    Every single innovation campaign and innovation project must be prepared, implemented and supervised. If the internal team lacks the manpower to address important issues, an external consultant can offer valuable support by, for example, providing partial services like planning and staging design-thinking workshops, to handling entire campaigns or projects as required. They may also contribute vital experience at critical points, such as conducting a good evaluation. As a whole, it is important to strive for continuous improvement of the overall process.

  3. Innovator support and coaching

    Some innovators have brilliant ideas, but those ideas fail to be implemented because their usefulness cannot be demonstrated. At times, organizational barriers—such as administrative barriers or limited access to resources—can be so high that they discourage innovation. This is where a pool of internal or external “innovation coaches” and experts can help support innovators both competently and, above all, quickly to ensure they do not lose that “golden nugget.”

  4. Culture shift support

    Last but not least, it is also the role of a good innovation management program to promote a climate for growth to encourage innovation-friendly conditions. Such a climate is promoted through communication, workshops, community-building, culture-hacking and cross-sector cooperation. Experienced external consultants can offer an extensive range of methods and measures for a viral approach.

Innovation management is not a one-off project; it involves a continuous change in mindset and is of the utmost strategic importance in an era of digital transformation. And while innovation management is possible without digital transformation; digital transformation is not possible without innovation management.

If you think these practices could help advance innovation at your company, but are unsure where to start, an Innovation Focus Day is a good catalyst for envisioning how innovation should work in alignment with your corporate strategy, and for identifying initial use cases.

If you don’t want to set up a dedicated organization, but want to see how innovation could deliver some quick wins, launching an Innovation Sprint can demonstrate rapid results with minimal effort and investment. Sprints also can provide some momentum to begin the steps toward innovation organizational transformation.

To remain competitive and develop customer-centric services quickly, many companies rely on recognized digital transformation leaders like CGI. Our modular innovation portfolio supports the complete innovation process within a company, from the initial framework, through ongoing innovation work, to the inevitable change in culture. I invite you to read more about our approach in our Innovation in the Fast Lane brochure.

About this author

Andrea Schmitz

Andrea Schmitz

Director, Consulting Services

As Director of Consulting Services in the manufacturing sector, Andrea is responsible for digital transformation, with a particular focus on innovation management, agile transformation, and organizational change. She advises clients on the introduction of innovative structures and actively supports their transformation.