Innovation Module Brief

Innovation has a transformative and at times a disruptive quality; influencing business models, strategy, managerial processes and technological capabilities at the firm-level. At the market-industry level, innovation can create new opportunities in niches previously unexplored or even undiscovered. Innovation is the driver of economic growth and change at all social levels (organizational, cultural, and even political), and an area where substantial new thinking, research and debate is underway. 

Organisations are finding that in order to succeed in increasingly competitive markets they need to have systematic and holistic programmes of innovation that boost productivity, introduce new revenue streams and open access to lucrative markets. Although, useful insights abound within literature, the body of knowledge on the subject does not offer prescriptive (or instrumentalist) solutions. Within the industry, this has led to the slow adoption of appropriate methodologies for managing innovation. 

This module aims to help participants improve their understanding on the subject of innovation, and develop new skills and knowledge that will enable them to contribute to the long-term competitiveness of businesses. Its specific objectives are:

  1. Understand the nature of innovation and be able to identify the potential for innovation within an organization and/or network.
  2. Know how to collect appropriate (quantitative and qualitative) data on the performance of an organization and generate ideas for boosting innovation performance.
  3. Be familiar with the key tools and techniques for managing innovation, know where to find information on leading edge approaches, and have the ability to critically select and apply these in actual business situations.
  4. Understand the people issues in managing innovation: where there can be political, cognitive and other barriers to overcome

Post Module Assignment
Q1 – Answer ONE of the following questions (up to 3500 words only).

  • Consider how innovation processes have changed from a largely internal process (Innovation 1.0) to that which now includes multiple stakeholders, partners and value networks (Innovation 2.0).

What frameworks, organisational structures, processes, mind-sets and behaviours need to be adopted by senior management in order to successfully deliver today’s innovation programmes within a customer-driven organisation?

  • Critically analyse an innovation in your organisation, (any kind of innovation: product, process, organisational procedures, rules), which succeeded or failed. You must use the following criteria to evaluate the innovation.
  1. The innovation objectives and success metrics

How was success defined for the project? Was it correctly scoped? What metrics or key performance indicators were be used? Were these adequate?

  1. Who is the customer, the Job Executor? What ‘Job’ are the trying to get done?

How well did the project define the customer and innovation from the customer perspective? For example, when does the ‘Job’ come up and what is its context? How frequently does the ‘Job’ come up? What does getting the ‘Job’ done ‘perfectly’ look like? Where are the key points of frustration in getting the functional ‘Job’ done? What emotional Jobs does the customer have?

  • The new value proposition.

How clearly was the new value proposition defined? How could it have been defined better? Use the value proposition formula to articulate what the chosen project delivered: what (label); who (user); why (benefit) and how (method). Be clear about how the value proposition has been changed).

  1. The future business models and technology?

How relevant is business model innovation to this project? How well was the new technology solution space explored? What emerging technologies can create better solutions? How might the current business model change?

  1. The main obstacles and resistance to innovation implementation

Considering internal and external factors, define and articulate the obstacles across the complete innovation journey.

  1. Critical stakeholder support to implement the innovation

What support was required for implementation? Consider the strong and weak ties with stakeholders and how the innovation used or failed to use such connections.

  • The suitability of the organisational process and framework used

Define the type of innovation and the process that was used to supports its incubation, development and launch? How appropriate was this framework? What methods did the process use e.g., search, trial and error, acceptance of mistakes vs. commitment, freezing of specifications, lean or efficiency processes?

  1. The level of customer or user research

What research was done into the needs driving the innovation? How effective was the research and how precisely did it conform to the ‘Jobs To Be Done’ approach? Define the ideal level of customer or research for this project?

  1. Select a company that has successfully implemented a ‘disruptive innovation’. Analyse the nature of the innovation and how it progressed from achieving a market foothold to disrupting incumbent players.

Consider the theory of disruptive innovation. Articulate the market through the ‘Job To Be Done’ lens. Think about the value being created? Assess the behaviour and attitude of the incumbent organisations to the arrival of the new products? What factors influenced the responses? How well does your example follow the model developed by Christensen? What can be learned from any deviations from this model?

  1. Critically appraise the use of ‘innovation frameworks’ and processes within an organisation of your choosing.

Consider the role of strategic innovation frameworks and creative thinking processes in organisation in general. Compare and contrast these frameworks and processes that support innovation in the chosen organisation? How might the chosen organisations innovation frameworks and processes being used be considered to hinder innovation? What frameworks or processes would best support this organisation in achieving its innovation objectives?

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