One of the world’s largest household and professional appliances companies based in Sweden designed a strategic innovation process that was implemented across the organization. The purpose of this process was to coordinate inter-departmental efforts in innovation, ensuring a smooth workflow that would take ideas to an end-user goods.
Over time, the departments within the company had begun to adopt their own individual practices. These did not mesh well with each other or with the overall strategic process.
The management decided it was time for reevaluation and this is where Googol came into the picture.
Googol was tasked with the challenge to assist, facilitate, improve and re-energize the process. The desired outcome was a revised process that all departments could actively engage in, bringing about a concerted, coherent and coordinated effort to innovate.
The red herring
Working closely with a team from the company, we thoroughly analyzed the strategic process, with an aim of uncovering inefficiencies and opportunities to better facilitate the departments in their work.
Unexpectedly, it turns out the existing process was largely a good one. However, we realized that the when the process was designed, it did not factor in the company’s organizational structure.
Investigating the root causes
We shifted our focus to solving issues that deterred the departments and staff from being engaged.
A 3-day workshop with key stakeholders in the organization identified these key problems
- The tool and backend system that supported the process
- The way the process was communicated to the staff
- Need for better governance over the process
- The innovation culture and climate in the company
- The wider strategy for innovation in the company.
The Backend Support
Googol conducted interviews with high level managers and distributed surveys to other staff that came into contact with the IT tool. Based on their perceptions of the tool, Googol drew up a report to suggest changes to the system infrastructure as well as the user interfaces.
The Process Itself
To align the process with the client’s new organizational structure, we assisted connect the high-level aspirations of managers with practical and tangible actions of operations staff by including a report that was short, summarized and action-oriented, to be produced prior to the start of the strategic process.
How the process was communicated
It was vital that importance and benefits of the process was clearly communicated to its customers. Hence, Googol drew up a communications plan which assessed the company’s current communication methods, and then recommended upgrades of existing tools as well as the inclusion of new channels such as Social Media.
This laid the groundwork for changes that were to come and generated interest in what was happening. Furthermore, it served as a platform that allowed staff to find out more and discuss this strategic revision.
Training the customer
It was critical that the staff had the required knowledge and skills to effectively apply themselves in the process. Hence, Googol designed and facilitated a custom training program, and created a unifying platform for different departments across the organization to engage.
The training was tailored to different tiers of staff: key managers, primary users and secondary users. Even the upper management took part of this process to emphasize the importance of the training program.
The culture and climate for innovation
Googol also laid the groundwork for assessing the client’s culture and climate for innovation. We presented key variables that affected innovation climate and put forward a challenge to the team: to prioritize their opportunities and to create an action plan.
A Paradigm Shift
What emerged from this intensive collaboration was both beneficial and instructive. The team began with the intention of revising a process for Innovation Management, but came away with much more. This collaboration clearly reinforced the idea that Innovation Management was more than a good process; it required effective support tools, communication channels, training and climate to drive and energize the process.