In our Innovation Interview series, each month we talk to thought leaders, inspirers, and innovators to pick their brains about the state of innovation, trends, and what’s in store for the future. This week we caught up BEI: Back End of Innovation speaker Corrine Sandler, CEO of Fresh Intelligence.
Why is execution the most critical part of the innovation process?
Sandler: Ideas are just ideas unless commercialized. If you cannot bring an idea to life, then it is just a concept that has no value. The true definition of Innovation is the generation of new ideas and the conversion into useful products. That’s the execution.
What is the biggest challenge of innovation?
Sandler: Finding the true need; Henry Ford said if I asked people what they wanted they would have said faster horses. If you can discover the fundamental truth (Aha!) about your target customers that you can leverage for innovation, you will drive growth and ultimately be successful. It all about the right research and insights in the discovery phase of innovation.
How can we ensure buy-in of an idea across the entire organization?
Sandler: The best way is to engage employees is from the beginning of the process, too often the front-line staff, the most important people who understand customer needs and must sell the products are left out of the R&D process. Their market and customer understanding is imperative. They need to know their input was valued and taken into consideration.
Transparency is also imperative into why the company is moving into this type of concept evaluation and product development. The vision needs to be clear and concise and communicated to all.
Why is it important to drive and embed innovation into every part of the organizational culture?
Sandler: Design thinking is important throughout the entire organization; it is basically taking an empathetic view of your customer at all touch points and allowing all employees to be part of the overall vision; breeding an entrepreneurial culture internally and externally provides a culture of Freedom and responsibility. The only way to succeed is to constantly innovate internally and externally.
How can large corporate power-houses capture the spirit of a nimble startup?
Sandler: They can’t, they have too many processes and to many chiefs, they take a top down approach to often. The best way is for organizations to buy successful strategic start-ups and keep it separate and run it independently.
How can you ensure a successful go to market strategy?
Sandler: I always look at 3 key simple components of a go to market strategy. Market Intelligence, market segmentation and a brand promise you can deliver on. If you get those 3 things right, you’re in business.