(with Pascal Matzke and Michael Glenn)

Customer expectations are rising too quickly for traditional models of incremental improvement; companies need to find a strategy to harness disruptive technologies that balances iterative solutions with fearless, flexible innovation.

Many company leaders have been swept up in the sex appeal surrounding the term “innovation,” claiming proficiency without any defined goals or metrics. Our latest report, “Gauge Your Innovation Capability Maturity,” provides readers the possibility to self-assess their relative innovation strength based on five innovation competencies:

  • Strategy. The innovation strategy defines and executes innovation that supports your organizationwide vision, desired business outcomes, and financial objectives. Your innovation strategy must be in line with the wider enterprise strategy; any incongruity will force the group leading innovation to become an irrelevant faction that is ineffective in driving sustainable innovation.
  • Culture. If strategy is your ship, culture is the sails. A strong innovation culture is reflected in strong collaborative management; a willingness to experiment; enthusiastic innovation participation from employees, partners, and customers; sharing of ideas across divisions; diversity among employees; and enhancement of innovation skill sets.
  • Structure. Highly innovative companies find the right balance between creativity and process-driven innovation. Key innovation structures cater to the full documentation of innovation processes, defining and maintaining a common language for innovation activities, and regular reviews and adjustments of innovation-related practices.
  • Ecosystems and networks. Ecosystem participation fosters external innovation. Ecosystems help your firm to build its ability to engage in idea exchanges with partners and customers. This requires the ability to manage idea exchange with constantly evolving ecosystem partners and customers in real time.
  • Technology. Emerging technology is the result and key driver of innovation. Emerging technology can support processes designed for agile business and operational excellence. If you design for and implement emerging tech appropriately, it can act as an accelerator for innovation initiatives in an agile business.

To gauge your innovation capability maturity, read our latest report and use the online tool to self-assess your innovation competencies in these five areas. Forrester’s Innovation Capability Maturity Assessment will show you what your organization is doing well in terms of innovation initiatives and what else you can do to drive them.