The success of any organisation is entirely dependent on its ability to be innovative. In a fast-paced business environment it is absolutely vital for any company to be innovative, whether this is in order to stay in the market, gain a competitive advantage or simply to make money. Unfortunately, all too often it is the process of problem solving that causes a company to fail on the innovation front. Whilst these failures aren’t always attributed to innovation on its own, they can also be as a result of projects, products, or even acquisitions and mergers.
It is widely understood that for every 7 new products that are considered only 4 of them will make it to the development stage, another 1.5 will actually be launched and only one will be a success. The success rate for new products is low, and this has to be traced, in part back to innovation. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why innovation actually fails and how it is possible to use project management skills to help avoid at least some of these failures.
Consider The Long Term
It is completely natural for a business to think about the short-term goals and the results rather than giving too much consideration to the longer term. A company sets its goals, considers the results that it wants to achieve during each quarter and plans it strategy accordingly. When it comes to these carefully laid out short term goals, it is far more likely that a company will allocate the relevant resources and spend more on anything associated with the marketing and sales of a product. This means that the budget is almost spent before the work has even begun and there is little left to budget towards innovation and R&D. It is vital for a project manager to ensure that they state their case for an appropriate budget if there is to be any chance of a project being successful.
A Lack Of Motivation
The mindset of the employees within an organisation can also be another reason that the innovation of the project might fail. An innovative mindset can be a powerful tool when it comes to solving problems. Innovation does not just happen overnight, it is something that needs to be encouraged, nurtured, and talked about. It is important therefore for a project manager to encourage ideas in order to motivate their project team into thinking about those extra steps they can take to keep the project ahead of itself.
Fear Of Failing
If you have put a considerable amount of money and resources into the development, research, sales and then marketing of your product but when you finally release it is turns out to be a failure it is understandable that the members of your project team will be dejected. Failures would knock everyone’s confidence, particularly if they thought that the product or service that they have been spending time on was going to be successful. The team may not want to take those extra risk the next time. Low confidence and a fear of failing can be a huge obstacle for a project and a project manager needs to be able to boost the morale of their team.
Lack Of Structure And Process In Innovation
If you have little structure and process to your innovation, then it can be really difficult to get any results that are tangible. There are few organisations that really have a structured process of a real methodology framework in place. This is exactly what is required if you are hoping to achieve some level of success in terms of innovation. In order to evaluate the benefits and the drawbacks of any project it is important to consider putting a robust framework in place. The most important priority for any company when it comes to being innovative should always be analysis and assessment. It is vital as a project manager to consider these when formulating your plans.
Understand The Needs Of Your Customers
When you don’t understand the needs of your customers then your innovation can also fail. If you don’t understand the user problem, then it is easy to see what any new innovations may fail. If you don’t understand exactly what it is that your customers want or produce a product that is just not right, your innovation will fail. Consider what your customer might be feeling and thinking and look at how they interact with other companies as well as the behaviour of their consumers. Use all of the skills you have learnt during project manager courses to paint the most comprehensive picture of your customers that you can.
Lack Of Motivation In The Team
Innovation is not a single individual’s job; it takes a team. If your team are not supporting, you and fully behind the issues that you are trying to solve then you will just not succeed. Every individual in the team needs to be invested in a good outcome. Some initiatives fail because there is no recognition program or rewards in place, because the right transparency tools are not available or simply because of a lack of collaboration both on an internal and external front. Your project team must have the energy and the drive to create new and innovative ideas.
Lack Of Budget
One of the most significant things that can impact an innovation fail is a lack of budget, or a budget that is too small, for investing in your innovative approaches. An innovative project needs to have the right support when it comes to brainstorming ideas, building prototypes, quality testing and even putting a great team together. A good budget can be seen as a sign of commitment from the organisation. A well put together budget is a keen indication that they are looking to achieve something incredible. There is a lot that can be done with a limited budget, but careful organisation must be undertaken to ensure that this is stretched as far as possible.