9 Stages for Building Innovation Fitness

by Paul Hobcraft

Achieving innovation fitness is a journey- to get there we often have to manage the switchbacks as we build our capabilities and capacities to innovate.

  1. Getting Started – Understanding the Needs & Imperatives of Innovation Fitness
  • Why we must travel this critical path for Innovation.
  • The meaning of dynamic capabilities and innovation fitness landscapes
  • Merging  the theory with practical reality to produce new outcomes and positive results.
  • Focusing on resources and performance – why is this important
  • The problem is knowing what we have and what we really need
  1. The Fuel of Innovation Performance – the dynamics of innovation
  • A sharper, clearer focus on innovation resources to meet strategic need
  • What is known about resources to sustain, enhance performance
  • Knowing and aligning  your strategic criteria – for sound innovation approaches
  • Getting innovation within the right context of your business
  • Moving your resources in the right direction
  1. Getting even more specific – quantification and qualification
  • Recognizing the building of scale, change rates and dynamics that happen over time and why we need to constantly build our innovation capabilities.
  • Developing the resources to meet the need – structured, focused, clarified by bringing out the necessary discussion.
  • An illustrative scenario for a directional innovation fitness landscape map
  • Recognizing resources can come beyond the firm and bringing these in successfully. Managing within a more open environment.
  • Achieving  mutual dependencies to support; recognizing the hindering ones
  • Being aware of  the impact of different scenarios in the management of innovation
  1. Building the Innovation Fitness Machine – reinforcing feedback, identifying needs
  • Recognizing the current status, spotting emerging patterns, seeing spaces and gaps and identifying solutions.
  • Beginning the ‘adaptive walk’ to get to higher fitness points needed to compete.
  • Clarifying the complementary resources, looking to embed new routines quickly and set up follow through approaches.
  • Introducing natural tensions into the system to trigger ‘step change’
  • Resource dependence climate, culture, diversity, intensity and uniqueness
  • Reinforcing feedback – watching for dangers, managing the machine capacity, removing the brakes selectively
  • Shifting your resources need not deplete or force other people to compete for them – working through the tensions within teams and silos.
  • Matching resource dynamics with the innovation value chain & life cycle stages
  • Simulation modelling the ‘what ifs’ and ‘why’
  1. The Strategic Architecture – designing the system to perform as needed
  • The step process for designing and executing the architecture design
  • Diagnosing performance challenges and road blocks – resolving, moving on
  • Lining up the solutions is not a linear process and needs careful management
  • Addressing the effects of intangibles in the Strategic Architecture.
  1. The Hard Face of Soft(er) factors – the hidden power of intangible resources
  • Clarifying the impact of the intangibles and recognizing time, climate and conditions are significant contributors to innovation activities.
  • The different rivalry types: internal and external, inter department, inter projects and working through resolutions to these.
  • Reflecting feelings and expectations, addressing all the different needs
  • Measuring the tougher parts of intellectual capital
  • The real value of your intangible resources
  • Recognizing the value of hidden innovation and spotting its occurrence
  1. Entering into Competitive Battle – the Dynamics of Rivalry, the Uniqueness of You
  • Recognizing, developing, capturing, transforming, avoiding and out – manoeuvring
  • Your point of choosing what, where, how and when to compete.
  • Building capabilities that are unique to you and hard to replicate
  • Building sustainability into the innovation equation as ongoing
  • Extending the turf, exploiting the situation, pushing beyond, seeking partners.
  1. Building and Testing Capabilities to Perform
  • Measuring capabilities through different fitness levels and scale.
  • Learning to build capabilities as ‘ongoing’ and evolving for changing needs
  • Re-Structuring the process for dealing with the dynamics of change
  • Knowing the points of impact on performance to enable recognition and reality
  • Managing innovation performance progressively across the spectrum of business need through testing and extending capability learning.
  • Building from personal to team to organizational learning in measured steps
  • Recognizing the role of leadership, achieving strategic alignment and working on broadening out innovation competence at different organizational levels.
  1. Keeping the innovation fitness wheels turning, keeping your eyes on the road
  • Resolution of conflicting goals, control and structure
  • Dissecting conflicting positions, resolving impasse
  • Knowing the limits of human engagement
  • Goals, controls and measurements can dominate and strangle
  • Keeping the measurements simple and clear
  • Managing innovation as a critical strategic resource
  • Merging the results into a greater alignment to Strategy and Approaches

The end result is looking to generate your fitness landscape

As you can see this is applying a very comprehensive approach, a fairly ‘intensive’ one.  This might alter individually after some clear piloting, learning and experimentation undertaken.  Building innovation capabilities takes time; they are complex, highly structured and multi-dimensional. Any structured approach to tackling innovation takes time and considerable commitment.

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paul-hobcraft-150x150Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Follow @paul4innovating

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