Last week, we shared 8 practical takeaways from The Innovator's Handbook 2018.

Many of you asked for more.

And so, we summarized 8 more tips and tricks for you to implement right away (if you hadn't yet done so).

Focus on Execution – Not On Ideas - Brian Ardinger

Whether it’s called an Innovation Bootcamp, Ideation Competition or Hackathon, most low-cost, short-lived “idea sprints” are often the first steps that large corporations take to tap into the innovative energy of successful startups. Brian Ardinger challenged the view that ideas alone are inherently valuable.

Any creativity sprint must lead to something or it’s worse than doing nothing. After being shaken out of your daily routine and hyped up for a few intensely productive days, going back to work-as-usual can cause morale and engagement to drop below pre-sprint levels.

Use the Idea Funnel concept to keep momentum going:

  • collect every idea
  • filter ideas to prioritize ones around desirability, viability and feasibility. Prioritize ideas based on a set of filters (a type of investment thesis) that helps inform which ideas should be explored and invested in further.
  • toss them into your “execution engine” where they can evolve.

Face Gatekeeper Pushback Directly, Then Enlist Them - Simone Ahuja

First, acknowledge the importance of gatekeepers from legal, compliance, accounting and other essential departments – mitigating risk is essential to the firm’s long-term survival.

Then, enlist them. Enrolling key gatekeepers early on means you’ve got department “champions” to contribute their expertise to your team. They might pivot from throwing up roadblocks to showing unexpected creativity in solving your problems.

If the effects of an innovation project poses too great a threat to the core brand, consider establishing an umbrella organization or a separate legal entity altogether. And last but not least, request a clear, strong and timely signal from senior, C-level leadership on the importance of the speedy innovation program.

Music For the People - Laszlo Gyorffy

To truly start implementing change, organizations need to kick-off with a fundamental understanding that nothing is going to slow down from here on out. Leadership needs to be trained to recognize new kinds of opportunities, allowing the outside world to permeate into the company’s core and establishing structures that let great ideas bubble to the top.

When BBC1 leadership realized it was losing listeners because the radio station’s DJs were overplaying music that appealed to their “expert” ears, leadership mandated staff to personally experience the UK music scene again at concerts, in clubs or on the streets. Staff were also told to take pictures, which were then plastered across the BBC’s hallways.

This not only reminded DJ's of the tangible experience of music, but breathed new vigor and life into their musical curiosity and relevance.

When To Pivot? - Vidar Andersen

Timing can be a tricky balance, with risks associated to both premature pivots and delayed ones. The premature pivot is often the result of decisions made based on too few data points or evidence. Perhaps an idea didn’t gather enthusiasm after pitching it to a couple of cubicle mates, or a few people you admire shut it down – so you figure it won’t stick.

The delayed pivot, in contrast, means an opportunity lost. Perhaps a competitor beat you to it, or your stakeholders and resources have worn too thin to assure you a proper runway. Either way, you’re at risk of draining your team, losing external interest and maintaining the status quo.

The key is to listen. Listen to the data, listen to potential customers and listen to the markets.

Manage Your Innovation Portfolio Like a VC - Tendayi Viki

While the 70/20/10 ratio for innovation recommends that 70% of company time should be spent on core business, 20% on core-related projects and 10% on entirely unrelated ventures, Tendayi advises that those numbers be taken with a grain of salt. Each company must choose a ratio that works for them.

Furthermore, organizations often measure the ratio in relation to their total number of products or customers, rather than in relation to the allocation of overall resources – be it labor, money or time.

The two most common mistakes Tendayi sees when guiding teams through the innovation process:

  • Succumbing to the constant pull of the core business: Allowing every unexpected change or minor threat to the core business to become a valid reason to pull funding back from innovation projects.
  • Trying to manage and innovation portfolio the same way you would a traditional one: Relying on inadequate metrics, asking unrealistic questions across unrealistic timelines and fostering a fear of risk.

Success Comes From Learning Fast - Dan Toma

Encourage leadership to see the necessity of investing in innovation by framing it as an investment in the future well-being of the organization. We pay for health insurance to alleviate worry about what might happen in the future. Investing in innovation mirrors the same principle: supporting innovation ensures your company stays relevant in the future as your industry changes.

Calculating the cost per learning involves asking: How much are we learning with every dollar spent? Gathering this information may be as simple as understanding the behaviour of a demo, or as complex as tracking consumer behaviour through a conversion funnel. To lower your cost per learning, invest in multiple small experiments that iteratively improve your product as you learn.

Don’t Ask For Money: Re-Allocate Existing Resources - David Hicks

In theory, large companies can deploy abundant resources to drive innovation. But if there is no budget or time allocated for innovation, how can intrapreneurs start to build momentum?

Rather than approaching leadership with a list of stated reasons for funding, offer leadership a series of nested propelling questions that communicate your “why”:

a) How your innovative ideas align with the overall business strategy, and
b) How you’re turning constraints into fuel for innovation.

Like most results-oriented individuals, intrapreneurs tend to abhor waste. Once you’ve clarified the big “Why,” you can:
– Pinpoint what you can stop doing
– Remove agenda items and projects that don’t add value
– Free up people’s time and energy by eliminating needless meetings and bureaucracy

Then, instead of requesting new money, you can address senior leadership with compelling reasons to reallocate existing resources liberated by your efficiency.

Don’t Always Expect a Product as the End Result - Tristan Kromer

Rather than adhering to traditional funding models that place a large budget up front to fund a product through to completion without necessarily evaluating the market, Tristan suggested to invest in a project in phases.

Because the results of each phase determines whether or not the project continues to receive funding, it applies pressure on the team to provide evidence that an idea is getting traction and scale. By showing strong actionable metrics, innovators and product teams justify further investment.

When we invest in a project, we learn, regardless of whether it results in a viable product. Large organizations can learn a lot from funding projects that deliver actionable data on whether a market is ready for a product or business plan, even if the product doesn’t go to market.