A Focused Approach to Scaling Innovation

Instead of trying to pull off game-changing innovation, which is astoundingly hard to do, big companies should focus instead on achieving repeatable and sustainable organic growth from new products, services and business models that build on the core business. Authors Marla Capozzi and Ari Kellen recommend several key ways in which this can be done.

To achieve repeatable and sustainable organic growth – what the authors call “innovation at scale” – first requires a robust strategy. Companies that innovate at scale have a deep understanding of their assets, capabilities and what makes them successful. They understand at a granular level where growth came from in the past and where it is likely to come from in future.

Robust strategy is important because it creates the framing and focus needed to drive greater innovation. Ask people simply to “innovate” and the likely response is a mishmash of ideas. Focus, which can come in the form of simple guard rails, provides the crucial guidance on what really matters to the company’s future success and what types of innovation are required. These factors allow people to experiment and take more risks.

The second element needed for innovation at scale is careful attention to organization. While there is no set formula, organization must follow strategy, not be the starting point.

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