The post Six Myths of Corporate R&D at Corporate Executive Boards has a convenient list of best practices for encouraging innovation as opposed to incremental improvements. I have arranged them in three categories and my comments are in parenthesis:
- Encourage learning
- Organize R&D functions to encourage learning instead of alignment with corporate strategy (I am not sure both are mutually exclusive.)
- Encourage R&D staff to form informal networks inside and outside the corporation. (Good point, but difficult to do.IP Control will need to be a constant focus).
- Take more risks with investments
- Increase investment on breakthrough ideas as opposed to product improvements (The real answer is a balanced portfolio of investment. The right balance depends on the the type of business and competitive environment).
- Be more flexible with early stage opportunities
- Be flexible with metrics, such as return on investment, for early stage opportunities (Clearly, it is difficult to estimate the value of breakthrough ideas. However, it is also very difficult to identify which ideas are breakthrough…)
- Be flexible with project reviews of early stage opportunities. Focus instead on customer value and related scenarios. Review early stage opportunities as a portfolio and mitigate risks at a portfolio level.
- Be flexible with project management and related processes.