“Innovation comes from a desire and a
commitment to constantly improve, to
think differently, and to envision and
Strategy Meets Action
SMA’s definition of innovation makes
it sound easy: desire coupled with a
fresh approach to solving a problem
results in innovation. Of course, we
know in practice it is not always that
simple. Yes, desire and passion are
critical elements, and we also know
that having a plan is crucial too.
SMA has researched the importance of having a plan in innovation
for the last five years. We have been
tracking, researching, and providing
advice around innovation. And what
we have observed from countless authorities is that to do innovation right
will require a cultural shift.
Let’s walk through some basic
principles we have observed. You must
demand innovation as a performance
standard and treat it as a measure
and metric; a discipline. Innovation
in organizations needs to be part of the culture and needs to be
treated with the same formalities that you would treat normal
internal functions (like career development, organizational
design, and employee incentives).
If you focus on innovation as an obligation, you will quickly
start to notice the cultural shift you sought to achieve in the first
place. Treating innovation with that importance will lend itself
to creating specialized plans to achieve desired goals.
Creating a Game Plan
Having a solid game plan is the key to success in innovation
and our research reflects a steady increase in using formal
teams/groups to advance ideation. By using readily available
crowdsourcing tools and other formal procedures, we have seen
steady growth in using formal processes to advance innovation.
As a result of clear plans and policies, the industry has
reaped the benefits of innovation. We have seen major break-
throughs in customer experience, the digital insurer, and
even big data analytics. Though, like most things, a plan is not
enough. Organizations have to find the right combination of
business and technology influence to support the innovation
Who Drives? Business or Technology?
Making the right choices can lead to an innovative game plan.
By Deb Smallwood
If you focus on innovation
as an obligation, you will
quickly start to notice the
cultural shift you sought to
achieve in the first place.
Treating innovation with that
importance will lend itself to
creating specialized plans to
achieve desired goals.