How to Prevent the Failure of Innovative Projects

A study by Deloitte in 2014 on more than 5,000 innovation processes of the past 15 years, found that only 4.5% of them were successful. Yes, only 4.5%.

And we’re not just talking about ultra innovative projects, such as going to Mars or a new formula to fight cancer. We are talking about everyday innovations such as a new product line, a new process management or even a new way of communication with customers and suppliers.

But what makes so many innovations do not leave the paper?

To start, you need to understand that behind the concept of innovation is the notion of change. After all, innovation is doing something that was not done before.

The big problem with this truism, is that all of us living beings, we have some kind of resistance to change. We love to change others, but resist to our own transformations very hard and dedication.

In the corporate environment this could not be different. Organizations that fail repeatedly, are focusing their efforts abroad to get innovate:
“That” new technology that we need to acquire. The expert in innovation we need to convince to work here. The perfect time market …. Anyway, I think you understand.

Of course, often external value can be very welcome. In fact, an important part of innovation comes from the ability to perceive what is not being done “out there.”

But that’s no use if there is no internal focus.

There are a thousand and one ways to bring this focus to the company itself and many effective ways to go. I share here some of that, in my experience, that make a difference:


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1. Create an enabling environment for innovation:

Who wants to innovate, to make room for it – really. This includes allowing foster creativity, encourage thinking “outside the box” and allow some controlled errors. Suit success metrics – individual and collective – it is key to all this, in practice, does not become just another chapter of corporate theater that both criticize.



2. Allocate certain people to certain projects:

Knowing the characteristics of their employees and encourage that self-knowledge is essential to know who should be allocated to each project. Encourage each use their strengths is also important to maximize the efficiency of change initiatives.



3. Involving Stakeholders:

Who is involved in the project? Who will be impacted by the change in question? What externalities (positive or not) may exist? An innovation almost never comes alone, so map and involve all stakeholders of the project can be the difference between a success and a resounding failure.

Measure the progress …
Measuring the progress of the project is critical. Many companies only measure what was the end result of that initiative, sometimes too late. Measure the progress of innovation continually helps make the necessary adjustments and to reduce waste of a project that failed.

… With the right metrics:
No less important is to assess whether the metrics used are aligned with the actual project intentions. Many metrics are only there out of habit or even by external pressures. Many companies fail in their innovations for the wrong measure to be considered successful.

Finally, remember: to be part of the solution, you need to be aware that it is part of the problem.

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