Sustaining Innovation in Your Organization – Strategic Alignment: Part 1 of 6

What is at the top of every company’s minds these days? Innovation. Fresh Ideas and innovative products have been tagged as the driving force behind creating a competitive advantage and, ultimately, company growth. Keeping your company on task in regards to your innovation is one of the most important factors that will help sustain long term growth. Project leaders should be encouraged to:

* Align Innovation and Business Strategies

* Oversee the Portfolio of the Total Innovation Effort and

* Track Progress Against Expectations

The first step towards creating and sustaining an innovative environment in your company is to make sure that your business strategies are in line with the strategies and ideas you have for innovation.

Strategic Alignment

There are several challenges that companies face when attempting to align their innovation strategies with their business goals.

* Technical/Feasibility Challenges – companies experiencing these challenges are generally seeing increases in sales, volume and market share, but are losing earnings due to reduced profit margins. Executives can combat these losses with tools such as Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, and re-engineering of the product or processes.

* Market Desirability Challenges – this is generally manifested as high profit margins but low sales and market penetration. By providing expanding on existing services, offering new products, or expanding on current services, companies can realize new markets while maintaining profit margins.

* Brand Sustainability Challenge – generally defined as the challenge of maintaining high market share along with high profit margins, brand sustainability requires a large amount of focus and concentration from the brand executives. This can be achieved by developing product brands that can “stand alone”, similar to a commodity.

* Business Viability Challenge – here, both profits and market share are in decline, usually due to misplacement or misbranding of the company’s products. In order to right the ship and become profitable again, the company must choose a new target market, offer different or fewer costly benefits, or market themselves at a different point on the value chain.

Check back shortly for the next article in this series: Growth Portfolio Management, where we will discuss effective portfolio management as a strategy for creating and sustaining innovation in your company.