Innovation Mapping

There’s no question, innovation plays a vital role in the success of our enterprises. In fact, the need for faster and more effective innovation becomes more and more essential for the products and services but also for the way we do business; that is, innovation process management.

One of the greatest challenges facing (especially) research organizations is that of maximizing the value and effectiveness of their innovation pipeline. While researchers are accustomed to analytical and quantitative work, the design of the innovation process is often left to “soft”, “touchy-feely” or hard-to-measure approaches.

This is no longer the best approach.

Now there is a new rigorous tool, drawing on analytical and business modeling methods to quantify the effectiveness of your innovation process and to maximize the value of your innovation pipeline. It is called Innovation Mapping.

Benefits you can expect from Innovation Mapping:

  • The ability to focus resources strategically in the areas that will have the greatest impact on fostering innovation and reducing obstacles to innovation
  • Objective measures on which to make strategic decisions around your innovation process
  • An innovation pipeline that functions more effectively and generates better results
  • Clear identification of:
    • the key drivers–both hard and soft–of effectiveness and obstacles in your innovation process
    • where it makes sense to invest in your innovation process
    • the ROI for different courses of action
  • Management acquires a deeper understanding of how your innovation process behaves and connects with and impacts other core business strategies

Innovation Process Mapping provides you with an in-depth analysis of your innovation pipeline and factors fostering and impeding innovation. The same approach to innovation does not work in different companies: it depends on your organization’s structure, process and culture. You receive a roadmap to an optimized innovation pipeline. This comes in the form of a model (diagram) that maps out all the significant forces–and their magnitude–that influence your innovation process and the factors that influence its effectiveness and value.

With the Innovation Mapping model you can:

  • Forecast the impact of various strategies and options on the level of results your innovation process delivers.
  • Decide whether, where and how to modify your innovation process such that you generate sufficient ROI through its results.

The typical Innovation Process Mapping process:

  1. Identify the outcomes you seek around optimizing innovations in your enterprise.
  2. Source pre-existing qualitative and quantitative data in your possession so that we don’t attempt to collect information that already exists.
  3. Our facilitator works with a planning group from your organization to map out the elements and variables that affect both the effectiveness and the value of the innovation process.
  4. From this input we create a blueprint of the map including all the causal relationships among all the factors identified.
  5. We present the draft map and work with you to verify and refine the linkages and their respective degree of influence.
  6. Two options:
    • We present the final map, along with our comments and recommendations
    • We work with you to identify strategies to enhance innovation process

Common Questions and Concerns

Q: What exactly is Innovation Process Mapping?
A: Innovation Mapping is a unique process that:

  • Analyzes your innovation process together with factors fostering and impeding innovation
  • Identifies the key drivers toward and obstacles to your innovation process’ effectiveness.
  • Simulates the impact on overall results of various changes you could make in how teams operate in your organization
  • Projects ROI for these different options.

Q: How are you able to make the forecasts?
A: We use existing corporate data, as well as findings from focus groups and interviews, to build a map of the innovation process within your organization.

The map incorporates cause-and-effect relationships for the different factors impacting the innovation process. As a consequence strategies that are available to change the innovation process. The map also incorporates the relative strengths of these cause-and-effect relationships and any associated time delays. This information then allows us to simulate implementing a specific strategy and assess its impact on the effectiveness and value of your innovation pipeline.

Q: On which part of the innovation process do you focus?

A: We consider the innovation process to have three main phases: the creating of ideas, the capturing of ideas and the generation of returns. The first phases is sometimes called ideation, the second phase incorporates the narrowing and selecting of ideas, and the final phase deals with the marketing and selling of the innovation, either to the end-user market or an internal department further down the value chain.

Q: There are standardized solutions to building an innovation process. Why the extra effort?
The innovation process does not stand on its own: it is embedded in the context of your organization’s structure, processes and culture. In the Innovation Process Mapping we look at each component of the innovation process and how they are influenced by your organization’s context. It is also impossible to copy a successful innovation approach from a different organization – what works there may not work with your organization. Innovation Process Mapping helps you build the best possible innovation process for your organization.

Q: Why is it necessary to tailor an innovation process to my organization?

A: Imagine you are building the ‘perfect’ car. You might try to do this by combining what we might consider to the best possible components, say the engine of the Ferrari, the drive train from the BMW, the electronics from the Lexus, the interior from the Rolls Royce. But when we put these parts together, we discover that it doesn’t work: these parts were not designed to work together. They don’t fit. The same happens if you try to ‘copy’ an innovative approach from another company. It doesn’t work. The only way you can optimize your innovation process if by designing it holistically and in conjunction with your organizational framework.

Q: Is this a form of innovation pipeline assessment, telling us the current value of our innovation pipeline?
A: No. Rather, your Innovation Map will identify, quantitatively and qualitatively, the current elements that affect innovation process across your organization and forecast the relative impact of adjusting these elements.

Q: So, in a nutshell, what will we get from Innovation Mapping?

A: The ability to make sound cost/benefit decisions around initiatives to improve the functioning of your innovation process.


Request more information about how to do Innovation Mapping in your organization.