Innovating in spite of lawyers

Innovating at your own risk

By Mariana Ferrari

Last week I attended Imaginatik’s Leaders Forum at the NYSE. It was an outstanding meeting with a very good quality of participants and great conversations about innovation challenges. From my perspective, the most significant challenge companies in America and Europe face in regards to innovation is how to innovate in spite of lawyers, compliance and the many restrictions a highly regulated market imposes in comparison with other not-so-regulated markets like China or Brazil. Don’t get your hopes up because the question has no easy answer, however I’ll try to share some tips on how to approach innovation from a lower risk perspective.

Let’s be clear. Thinking out of the box and passion are consultants’ preferred prescriptions for innovation. However, these passionate advisors probably have never worked in a corporation in which dealing with the day to day is sufficiently stressful as to be passionate, think out of the box and risk it all. Ideas are rampant, they’ve never been a problem. The problem though is how to select the right ideas, how to spot them and how to extract quality from quantity. Imaginatik provided some light.

Imaginatik is a leading innovation consultancy company who helps design innovation processes through an outstanding idea management software and accompanying consulting services. Their idea management software is one of the most expensive in the market, however the high quality of the product and the company’s commitment to work very closely with clients to keep improving its services pays off.

Imaginatik is now working on adding a key feature that will help reduce the risk of innovation by incorporating a complex formulation which will help project managers select the best ideas in less time and with higher probability of success. Why is this add-on so important?

When BP had its oil spill, the company received somewhere around 10,000 ideas in a week on how to stop the leak. With the tremendous crisis they had at hand to manage they couldn’t afford to disregard any idea, nor to spend the time to analyze all of them. This same situation happens in all companies who have developed a culture of innovation: every time they put a call for ideas out, they receive a superabundance of  them, making the selection process tedious and complex.

Working with Telefonica R&D in Spain, they had exactly this same problem: how to select from the hundreds of ideas they receive from their engineers. They agreed the problem was not to get a great quantity of ideas but to extract quality from quantity.

How to select ideas is a key aspect of managing innovation in which Imaginatik is making some very significant progress. However, in America and Europe managing innovation risk goes far beyond selecting the right ideas.

Read the rest of this post on Mariana's blog.