Plan for an Uncertain Future with an Innovation Strategy

Your company has a business strategy. It probably also has technology, product, market and operational strategies. But does it have an innovation strategy?

If your firm is like most, it does not. Surprising, since virtually every company leader acknowledges the critical role innovation plays in its growth. Many leaders set an innovation vision and “walk the talk.” That’s positive, but leadership must do more.

An explicit innovation strategy is critical. With an explicit innovation strategy, companies have focus, avoid incrementalism and pursue opportunities that have a strategic fit.

But how do you create a strategy for something as abstract as innovation can be? Why should you?

The key to answering these questions lies in this simple fact: Innovation affects every aspect of how a company addresses its future.

Innovation is about new products and services. It is also about how leadership, competencies, organizational structures, operations and cultures evolve to meet the uncertainty that lies ahead. Companies struggle with uncertainty. But a good innovation strategy cuts across all functional areas and addresses the fundamental issues of how the company will change over time to meet it.

Your company likely has many of the pieces of a well-designed innovation strategy already created. Granted, the strategy may be incomplete, scattered across multiple documents or held inside many individuals’ minds. However, you can get started now by discovering what already exists. Then, commit to doing the work to complete the innovation architecture, strategic context, management model and roadmap for your company.

Our process will show you where the gaps are and what your company needs to work on. Is it understanding possible futures? Identifying new domains to explore? Realigning your portfolio? Creating a new innovation culture and organizational structures to support the process? Let the answers guide your work. Develop your strategy. Meet the (uncertain) future.

Read more about dealing with uncertainty

Selected Readings

Software Eats the World

Whether it’s the Internet of Things, cloud data, or big data, platforms always play a role. A platform strategy helps solutions stretch to accommodate the unknown and unknowable.

Original article | Read our short take

Anticipating the Future is Becoming a Critical Competency

Being anticipatory means being able to have a clear vision of the future, even if it is highly uncertain. Recognizing the difference between hard trends and soft trends in one step in the futuring process.

Original article | Read our short take

More on Disruption from Deloitte

Disruption has been getting a lot of press lately – both pro and con. This is a good addition to the dialog on disruption and the start of building a framework for looking at disruptive innovations.

Original article | Read our short take