By Nida Fatima. 18 September 2020
5 innovation program pitfalls & how to avoid them

Offer the long-term growth campaign the greatest chance of success by eliminating typical errors like strategic misalignment and recruiting uniform teams. Large innovation programs can transform your business. With the right priorities, resources, and operational support in place, we've seen programs in a few (intense, dedicated) months deliver unheard-of innovations and reveal surprising, viable revenue streams. Naturally, that's not always the case. Nothing is certain, as any creativity boss understands.

This is particularly true of the challenging, time-consuming, disruptive, and much-wanted horizon 3 developments. Money can be removed mid-project, corporate goals can change, and technical developments or disruptive industry trends can make promising ideas obsolete before they're published. Yet you should do stuff to de-risk your research practices. Here are 5 most popular traps, along with tips to stop them.

Strategic mismatch
The advancement efforts of a company should comply with the overall business strategy. While venture accelerators, sprints, and intrapreneurship projects clearly don't lead to long-term targets, they'll be deprioritized so fast.

Unfortunately, several innovation programs include strategic misalignment. Nearly half of respondents to KPMG 's latest study of corporate innovators suggested that their innovation activities were either "somewhat related or associated" or "not at all linked or associated" with their overall market plan. Just 40% indicated their innovation activities were deemed strategic.


  • For the wrong purposes, companies might seek creative ideas (i.e. engaging in emerging technology merely because they're cutting-edge and not because they're addressing a real problem).
  • Leadership transition can result in differences of opinion and strategic perspective.
  • Changing meaning and missing adaptability.
  • Inability to coordinate organizational innovation plans efficiently (loftier projects with longer timeframes can seem misaligned with immediate business strategies).
  • The individual responsible for executing innovation strategies may have little to no experience constructing a narrative that is capable of gaining momentum. But doing so is necessary, not just to buy-in chief, but to maximize capital. If teams may not coordinate innovative practices around the enterprise, which may be challenging for multinationals, they can lose the opportunity to find related projects elsewhere. This can trigger duplicated actions and unused money.
  • To prevent strategic misalignment and give the initiative a better chance of a completion, lean-to engages in initiatives or programs that use a corporate commodity, reach an adjacent sector, or capitalize on-trend or technologies in the interest of the enterprise.
In addition, ensure that growth practices are flexible and incorporate agile innovations and experimentation to fulfill the company's vision. Particularly if you're in a project that has already consumed a substantial expenditure of both time and resources, be prepared to pivot.
Re-evaluating your innovation plan along the way will further de-risk the project.

Financial/human capital limited
Your company wants to devote committed staff and money to its own innovative ventures. Although we're all about achieving a tonne for a minimum, advancement tasks would be quickly deprioritized, and teams would slip back into repetitive action until time and resources are put aside

Of course, several businesses fail to convey such a prospect internally. Deloitte's new "Innovation in Europe" study finds that European firms are often hesitant to develop alliances to expand their wealth of external funding for innovation efforts; however, they conclude that it is important that firms work together and participate in knowledge-sharing with external partners to promote a viable innovation program.

What's more, a 2018 study by market research company Vanson Bourne of CIOs, IT executives, and financial decision-makers from a variety of industries worldwide finds that most respondents agree on "the value of creativity and business change." Convincing the board of their company without proof of "hard" investment return (ROI). Naturally, generating innovation returns without spending on innovation is challenging. Though 37 percent suggested that creativity specifically resulted in higher sales, 35 percent reported reduced costs.

To escape the pitfall of financial restrictions on innovation practices due to board opposition, companies need to build and propagate a corporate culture that promotes risk-taking and creativity and learning failure acceptance. Developing an innovation environment is an effective method used to circumvent pitfalls in seeking sufficient intellectual resources for innovation activities.
Moreover, the leadership team of the company should not only consider releasing money for initial company design operations but also discuss how to better help the winning idea following a development journey. That's how events turn out. Without committed follow-up, sustainable business growth would be difficult to achieve. Consider involving an internal business entity, starting a new research project outside the company, or forming alliances.

Governance and possession
Each mission or approach should be sponsored by a limited, agile, clear-cut team. If the responsibilities are blurry, teams spend valuable time thinking about stakeholder notifications, procedure and schedule adjustments, and meetings analysis. This is certainly not to suggest that you shouldn't involve key stakeholders, but rather that you just need common sense to include them as needed.

What's the solution? Establish a simple, operational, and governance model. Each team member should have straightforward, validated methodology-based KPIs and responsibilities. And one person should be in charge of keeping the project on track and championing the cause of creativity, argues Phil Swisher in Harvard Extension School's 2019 post.

  • Determine resource distribution.
  • Shepherd is a transformative development driver that creates technologies that add to the overall business model.
  • Identify transitions in conditions and help product departments respond to these shifts.
  • Have the expertise and independence to predict challenges, pursue creative possibilities, and take chances in growth activities.
Additionally, board members should dissect the conventional 'risk reduction' mentality and be empowered to develop informed innovation practices. Risk is an intrinsic aspect of creativity because the corporate culture encourages the pursuit of innovative innovations.

Homogeneous teams
If your company recruits 5 iterations of the same persona, you can end up with a homogeneous team missing viewpoint diversity and confirming implicit prejudices. Indeed, a poor team kills any brilliant concept and a great team eliminates any poor idea (and helps you to pivot to find a stronger one)!
Although diversity in temperaments and viewpoints can contribute to disagreements, companies with active innovation initiatives are those that provide an atmosphere where teams can consider differences of opinion and strategy, recognize disputes and work constructively towards them. Studies have found that mixed teams are more smart, imaginative, and rigorous in their research.

To build a strong squad, you'll need a variety of different profiles. Certain mindsets and capabilities can provide benefits at various levels of a venture's maturity. For more detail, see our piece on 4 types of innovators.

No effect on the market
A project should always lead to an organization's growth, creating long-term value. This may sound like common sense, but confirmation bias (in which people want evidence confirming their pre-existing beliefs) sometimes gets in the way.
Getting a dilemma worth solving is one thing, but early understanding and validating market size is critical. Otherwise, you could spend time designing a solution without indicating whether it has a broad enough demand.

That's why we regularly advise teams against enjoying their ideas. If you're so close to an idea, you're more likely to ignore business model concerns.
The question is: How can you check that there is enough demand for your approach to be useful for business? Simple resources such as business concept package, business evaluation strategy, and ballpark figures calculator will help you solve this early.