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"Just Start"

What's the purpose of doing innovation? This acts as great constraint - the why of innovation. The ‘top down’ framing of focus areas rather than the ‘bottom up’ ‘scattergun’ innovation approach. What  are the output metrics that you're tracking for the medium-term (Drive revenue, reduce costs, increase employee engagement, expand to new markets, launch new products, straetgic insights which feedback in and change your organisation)

The relationships between all the people involved? (executive sponsors, senior management, middle management for execution, frontline for insights, internal and external staff, partners, customers etc.

What are the barriers to change, to get your business model producing repeatable results? (human related, org culture, processes, etc). What permission parameters do you need to set (e.g. anything less £500 per person will not require sign-off, free testing (or corporate processes) for less than 100 customers). What protection and resources need to be provided?

What is the development and selection crtieria of those innovations supported and those that are not? Aligned to which part of your strategy? (e.g. failing ideas for 6-12 months, minimum of $1m revenue potential)

What value are you providing the business/innovation team taking their ideas through your innovation support? 

What innovation programme solution as a minimum viable solution can you deliver?

What internal and external problems does your innovation support seek to solve? (slow launch of products, industry regulatory changes, threats from new entrants, poor customer experiences) 

Where is the revenue coming to support the innovation (centrallly held budget or charging business units, and/or revenue share in internal innovations supported?)

What are the costs associated with running your specific innovation support? (finding, selection, designing, delivering, measuring of your innovation support program, cost of rewards/recognition, cost of failure)

As AIMIA's head of innovation said "just start'(1). When you first take on the role of innovation leadership, forget the landscape analysis, report writing and strategy guessing. "Just start' supporting innovation straight away.  Through a first quick round of execution, you will learn so much about the real problems (not just the articulated ones) that it will inform your strategy in what types of support to provide and why. Should you go with internal or external incubators or innovation labs or corporate venturing? 


Each innovation support program requires it's own business model, because each is potentially solving different problems with different structures, objectives, cost structures etc. 


A template for a one-page business model of your innovation support programme:

How are you spreading the word to get to the best selection? (through networks, company wide campaigns, stealth mode, etc)

What incentives are you creating for applications to your innovation support programme (can the early team get revenue (capped), new roles etc? visibility?)

What's your portfolio of innovations supported (core, adjacement, disruptive)

What the input metrics that guide the execution quality/quantity of your innovation support (e.g. prototypes every 30 days, 30% of existing solutions killed off, 25% of ideas going through 'search' support get to 'product development' and 10% end up scaling (integrating into the business units' strategic focus)

An example of a one-page business model for a virtual incubator:

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