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How to baseline your organisations ability to innovate


Every organisation wants to innovate but first you need to understand what you’re working with

Innovation is much more than just a random amalgamation of people, processes and measurement methodologies. Innovation is the embodiment of human creativity and discovery but it only flourishes in the right environment. Creating a utopian innovation environment relies on your organisations ability and willingness to deliver the right resources at the right time in the right style.

Innovation Practises often contain a nucleus of creative lateral thinkers but many Executives today are still taught to exercise rational, logic centred decision making and the two cultures frequently clash leading to poor communication and ultimately reducing the Innovation Practices effectiveness.

Executives need to know what resources the Practise needs, why it needs them and if it gets them how it will leverage them to meet the organisations strategic objectives so with all of this in mind how do you assess and baseline your organisations capability and capacity to innovate and clearly determine which areas need resource?

Over the past six years the 311 Institute has studied hundreds of large Global enterprises and smaller regional organisations across a range of industries and geographies. The findings of these studies have led us to conclude that all successful innovation practises are built on six dynamically linked Foundations – Hunger, Culture, Community, Resources, Methods and Impact. In turn each Foundation contains three Blocks and each Block contains a series of questions which when collated produce an Innovation Maturity Score and clearly highlight the areas in need of improvement.


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Blocks included in this Foundation:           Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Learning

The “Hunger” Foundation appraises your organisations Entrepreneurial attitude, its appetite to change and its propensity to challenge its beliefs. Every organisation is permeated by a distinctive character and while it’s never explicitly referred to in annual statements when coupled with Behaviour it becomes one of the most important enabling factors in helping create a long term, successful Innovation Practise. History has shown us time and time again that entrepreneurial organisations that have an insatiable appetite for innovation and reinvention out perform their peers by thirty at least percent.



Blocks included in this Foundation:           Energy, Engagement and Enablement

The “Culture” Foundation appraises how the organisation empowers individuals to rise above every day challenges, inspire others and overcome adversity in their pursuit of innovation. This appraisal not only assesses how effectively motivational leaders breed trust and promote behaviours that align with the organisations values, goals and ethics but also appraises how willing they are to disregard red tape and implement the tough decisions needed to assure the organisations short, medium and long term prosperity.



Blocks included in this Foundation:           Collaboration, Safety and Simplicity

The “Community” Foundation appraises the tone of the workplace and how well people work in harmony with each other to achieve common goals. Innovation Practises are at their most effective when individuals are encouraged to gather insights from diverse groups of internal and external collaborations, openly share their opinions and empowered to make bold, intelligence led decisions.



Blocks included in this Foundation:           Talent, Systems and Programs

The “Resources” Foundation appraises the accessibility to and the effectiveness of your organisations structural investment categories that need to be in place to help the Innovation Practise discover, prototype, test and market new innovations faster and more effectively. Investments types are more than monetary and must encompass a wide ranging suite of investment categories that enable the whole innovation lifecycle. Categories range from the investment in talent and systems all the way through to the gift of time and adequate working space. Collectively these investment categories all play integral roles in improving the speed, quality and return on investment.



Blocks included in this Foundation:           Ideation, Testing and Speed

The “Methods” Foundation appraises the maturity and effectiveness that your organisations closed loop processes have on the overall success and morale of your Innovation Practise. Used carefully flexible, well designed processes can complement and enhance innovation but if they are deployed as blunt instruments they can also do more harm than good. Your organisation should schedule regular reviews that monitor the impact processes have on the morale and the effectiveness of innovation and your leaders must be willing to adapt them accordingly.



Blocks included in this Foundation:           External, Organisational and Individual

The “Impact” Foundation appraises people’s perception and attitude towards your organisation and your Innovation Practice. Success in this factor is appraised from the perspectives of three principle groups. Firstly by people external to your organisation – business partners, competitors, analysts, investors, consumers and the media, secondly by your own Executives and thirdly by your employees. Each group will assess the impact and effectiveness of your Innovation Practise in different ways and while the majority of these perceptions will be important you must always remember to pull them back to how you and your organisation measure success.



Every new innovation is the product of a journey of discovery and toil. While many companies only focus on sustainable innovations and are satisfied with efficiency enhancements the companies that change the world are those that push the boundaries and disrupt existing markets while creating new ones. Disruptive innovation rarely happens by chance – it requires solid organisational support, rigid execution and an entrepreneurial spirit so if you can assess how well prepared you are for the journey ahead and adapt your organisation accordingly you’ll reach the end of your journey faster and more efficiently than your competition.

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