Five Innovation Principles

To drive growth through innovation, you must embrace the following five innovation principles into your own unique approach:
Principle 1: Innovation Must Be Approached as a Discipline
To practice innovation as a discipline means first and foremost that you distinguish between creativity (coming up with ideas) and innovation (bringing them to top- and bottom-line results for the company).
Companies sometimes seek to promote creativity, by, for example, sending their people to facilitated brainstorming sessions. In a cover article in Inc. Magazine several years ago, a reporter was allowed to participate in one such session at a leading ideation center, and write about the methods used. The article detailed how a team of managers from a mid-sized food company facing flat sales growth was led through various proprietary lateral thinking exercises and came away with 75 high potential ideas. But three years later, we were told that not a single idea became a product that made if into the marketplace. Blaming the firm’s “corporate structure and management,” the spokesperson lamented that “It’s hard to get ideas through an organization.”
Such sessions are incredibly fun and often produce lots of new possibilities and plenty of excitement. But nothing happens because innovation, or inventing the future as it’s sometimes called, is not a discipline, and ideas, no matter how good, get pummeled by the pressures of the present.
Principle 2: Innovation Must Be Approached Comprehensively
Innovation can’t be confined to one department or an elite group of star performers. It cannot be assigned to a skunkworks far afield from the main organization and insulated from the company’s bureaucracy. It must permeate the company, and it must encompass new I products, services, processes, strategies, business models, distribution channels, and markets. It must become part of the DNA of the entire organization.
A comprehensive approach to innovation means that it becomes the responsibility and way of operating of business units and functional departments, whether purchasing, operations, finance, or human resources, just as much as it is for new product development or marketing.
Principle 3: Innovation Must Include an Organized, Systematic, and Continual Search for New Opportunities
Back in the early 1990s, AT&T’s top brass allowed a small unit of its planning department to call itself the Opportunity Discovery Department—ODD, for short. This band of maverick thinkers gave itself the task of shaking up the giant company’s thinking. One day in 1995, members of the unit donned sandwich boards that read: “What if long distance were free?”
While the question was dismissed as “ridiculous and irrelevant” at the time, five years later the firm’s long-distance revenue was declining so rapidly that the company sought to sell off its long-distance unit at fire sale prices. Clearly, today’s seemingly irrelevant question could quickly become tomorrow’s threat—or opportunity.
Principle 4: Innovation Must Involve Everyone in the Organization
In most organizations today, new ideas are almost always directed from the top down, rather than from the bottom up. Not only do most organizations not expect their people to innovate; they don’t really expect them to think. Nearly two-thirds of the managers and workers surveyed by Kepner-Tregoe, a leading training and consulting firm, said their companies don’t use even half their brainpower. More than 70 percent compared their organizations to a “slow moving truck,” blaming the condition on a failure to involve employees in decisions and a lack of training or rewards.
Beyond a seldom-used suggestion system for cost-saving ideas, most companies have no way to stimulate or harvest the good ideas of their people. Not so at companies that are designed for continuous, all-enterprise innovation. The assumption that lower-ranked managers and rank and file employees cannot come up with powerful, growth-producing, breakthrough ideas is viewed in these firms as a paradigm unfitted to 21st century reality.
Principle 5: Innovation Must Be Customer-Centered
Innovation-adept firms live and breathe the customer. They know that the customer is fickle, whimsical, and always difficult to predict, but they don’t let that stop them from trying. They also know that creating value for the customer is the only route to success, and that while you can fool some customers all the time, and all customers some of the time, ultimately, the reputation and acceptance of “new and improved” products, services, and service offerings had better deliver.
Because today’s customer is more sophisticated, with more information available at the touch of a keyboard to compare and contrast an ever-increasing array of value propositions, the discipline of innovation means learning to listen to customers and potential customers in new ways. And it means inviting the voice of the customer to permeate the design and implementation of new concepts, if those ideas are ultimately going to drive growth.
Source of Reference:Robert B Tucker, Driving Growth Through Innovation, Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Organizational Cultures and Styles

Most organizations have developed unique and describable cultures. These cultures are reflected in numerous factors, including, but not limited to:

  • Shared values, norms, beliefs, and expectations
  • Policies and procedures
  • View of authority relationships
  • Work ethic and work hours.

The structure of the performing organization often constrains the availability of resources in a spectrum from functional to projectized, with a variety of matrix structures in between.

The functional organization: is a hierarchy where each employee has one clear superior. Staff members are grouped by specialty, such as production, marketing, engineering, and accounting at the top level. Engineering may be further subdivided into functional organizations that support the business of the larger organization, such as mechanical and electrical. Functional organizations still have projects, but the scope of the project is usually limited to the boundaries of the function.

Projectized organization: team members are often collocated. Most of the organization’s resources are involved in project work, and project managers have a great deal of independence and authority. Projectized organizations often have organizational units called departments, but these groups either report directly to the project manager or provide support services to the various projects.

Matrix organizations: are a blend of functional and projectized characteristics.

Weak matrices: maintain many of the characteristics of a functional organization and the project manager role is more that of a coordinator or expediter than that of a manager.

strong matrices: have many of the characteristics of the projectized organization, and can have full-time project managers with considerable authority and full-time project administrative staff.

balanced matrix organization: recognizes the need for a project manager, it does not provide the project manager with the full authority over the project and project funding

Most modern organizations involve all these structures at various levels which called Composite Organization

Source: Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® GUIDE).” Project Management Institute. 2008.

Project Management Definitions

Project: is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.

Operation: An organizational function performing the ongoing execution of activities that produce the same product or provide a repetitive service.

Projects vs. Operational Work

Operations are ongoing and repetitive Work, while projects are temporary and unique.

Project management: is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements. Project management is accomplished through the application and integration of the project management processes of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

Project manager: is the person responsible for accomplishing the project objectives.

Program: is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually.

Program management: is the centralized, coordinated management of a group of projects to achieve the program’s strategic objectives and benefits.

Portfolio: is a collection of projects or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives.

Portfolio management: aim to maximize the value of the portfolio by careful examination of candidate projects and programs for inclusion in the portfolio and the timely exclusion of projects not meeting the portfolio’s strategic objectives, And to balance the portfolio among incremental and radical investments and for efficient use of resources.

Project management office (PMO): is an organizational unit to centralize and coordinate the management of projects under its domain.

Project stakeholders: are individuals and organizations that are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be affected as a result of project execution or project completion.

Process: A set of interrelated actions and activities performed to achieve a specified set of products, results, or services.

Project Life Cycle: A collection of generally sequential project phases whose name and number are determined by the control needs of the organization or organizations involved in the project. A life cycle can be documented with a methodology.

Organization: A group of persons organized for some purpose or to perform some type of work within an enterprise.

Enterprise. A company, business, firm, partnership, corporation, or governmental agency.

Overview of Project Management Knowledge Areas and Project Management Processes

Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® GUIDE).” Project Management Institute. 2008.

Tool: Something tangible, such as a template or software program, used in performing an activity to produce a product or result.

Technique: A defined systematic procedure employed by a human resource to perform an activity to produce a product or result or deliver a service, and that may employ one or more tools.

Standard: A document established by consensus and approved by a recognized body that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.

Skill: Ability to use knowledge, a developed aptitude, and/or a capability to effectively and readily execute or perform an activity.

Practice: A specific type of professional or management activity that contributes to the execution of a process and that may employ one or more techniques and tools.

Methodology: A system of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline.

Procedure: A series of steps followed in a regular definitive order to accomplish something.

Knowledge: Knowing something with the familiarity gained through experience, education, observation, or investigation, it is understanding a process, practice, or technique, or how to use a tool.

Discipline: A field of work requiring specific knowledge and that has a set of rules governing work conduct

Deliverable: Any unique and verifiable product, result, or capability to perform a service that must be produced to complete a process, phase, or project.

contract: is a mutually binding agreement that obligates the seller to provide the specified product or service or result and obligates the buyer to pay for it.

Resource: Skilled human resources , equipment, services, supplies, commodities, materiel, budgets, or funds.

Product: An artifact that is produced, is quantifiable, and can be either an end item in itself or a component item.

Specification: A document that specifies, in a complete, precise, verifiable manner, the requirements, design, behavior, or other characteristics of a system, component, product, result, or service and, often, the procedures for determining whether these provisions have been satisfied.

Requirement: A condition or capability that must be met or possessed by a system, product, service, result, or component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed documents. Requirements include the quantified and documented needs, wants, and expectations of the sponsor, customer, and other stakeholders.

Estimate: A quantitative assessment of the likely amount or outcome. Usually applied to project costs, resources, effort, and durations and is usually preceded by a modifier (i.e., preliminary, conceptual, feasibility, order-of-magnitude, definitive). It should always include some indication of accuracy.

Variance: A quantifiable deviation, departure, or divergence away from a known baseline or expected value.

Quality: The degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.

Acceptance Criteria: Those criteria, including performance requirements and essential conditions, which must be met before project deliverables are accepted.

Objective: Something toward which work is to be directed, a strategic position to be attained, or a purpose to be achieved, a result to be obtained, a product to be produced, or a service to be performed.

Risk: An uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on a project’s objectives.

Defect: An imperfection or deficiency in a project component where that component does not meet its requirements or specifications and needs to be either repaired or replaced.

Effort: The number of labor units required to complete a schedule activity or work breakdown structure component. Usually expressed as staff hours, staff days, or staff weeks. Contrast with duration.

Issue: A point or matter in question or in dispute, or a point or matter that is not settled and is under discussion or over which there are opposing views or disagreements.

Inspection: Examining or measuring to verify whether an activity, component, product, result or service conforms to specified requirements.

Earned Value Management (EVM): A management methodology for integrating scope,schedule, and resources, and for objectively measuring project performance and progress.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): A deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables. It organizes and defines the total scope of the project. Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of the project work.

Opportunity: A condition or situation favorable to the project, a positive set of circumstances, a positive set of events, a risk that will have a positive impact on project objectives, or a possibility for positive changes. Contrast with threat.

Template: A partially complete document in a predefined format that provides a defined structure for collecting, organizing and presenting information and data.

 

Source: Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® GUIDE).” Project Management Institute. 2008.

Project Management Jobs

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

This position is the top executive position, responsible for the overall direction of the business and for achieving maximum return on invested capital. Leads the efforts of the senior executives and works with them to develop current and long-range objectives, policies, and procedures for the organization. Represents the organization to its customers, the financial community, and the general public.

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Identifies changes and trends in computer and systems technology and interprets their meaning to senior management. Participates in overall business planning bringing a current knowledge and future vision of technology and systems as related to the organization’s competitive position. Determines long-term organization-wide information needs and develops overall strategy for information needs, systems development and hardware acquisition, and integration including mainframe, mini, macro, and client/server computing applications. Acts to assure integrity of organization data, proprietary information, and related intellectual property through information security and access management. Acts as highest interface with non-technical user functions in determining overall information systems approach. Frequently reports to a Chief Executive Officer.

Director of Project Management Office (PMO)

Responsible for the operations of the organization’s Project Management Office. May also be responsible for the organization-wide integration of consistent project management methodologies and terminology.

Portfolio Manager

In the extreme case, will be responsible for the management of the entire set of projects undertaken by an organization or division in a manner that optimizes the ROI from these projects and ensures their alignment with the organizations strategic objectives. Particularly in large organizations, a Portfolio Manager may only have responsibility for a subset of the organizations projects and their alignment to organizational strategic objectives. While the portfolio of projects may share resources, they may have diverse objectives and may be operationally independent of one another. A Portfolio Manager may interact with senior managers, executives, and major stakeholders to establish strategic plans and objectives for an organization. May also be responsible for the organization-wide integration of consistent project management methodologies and terminology.

Program Manager

Responsible for the coordinated management of multiple related projects, and in many (most) cases, ongoing operations which are directed toward a common objective. Works with constituent Project Managers (who are responsible to the program manager for the execution of their project and its impact on the program) to monitor cost, schedule, and technical performance of component projects and operations, while working to ensure the ultimate success of the program. Generally responsible for determining and coordinating the sharing of resources among their constituent projects to the overall benefit of the program. Usually responsible for stakeholder management, particularly stakeholders external to the organization.

Project Manager

Under general direction of either a Portfolio Manager or in some cases a Program Manager, oversees high-priority projects, which often require considerable resources and high levels of functional integration. he takes projects from original concept through final implementation. Interfaces with all areas affected by the project including end users, distributors, and vendors. Ensures adherence to quality standards and reviews project deliverables, assembling project team, assigning individual responsibilities, identifying appropriate resources needed, and developing schedule to ensure timely completion of project. May communicate with a company executive regarding the status of specific projects.