How taking a structured approach to innovation can lead to more ideas

How taking a structured approach to innovation can lead to more ideas


02 Apr 2014

Companies that are successfully using technology to drive business innovation tend to be very deliberate in their efforts. New research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services finds that 79% of organizations with innovative IT take a structured and managed approach to innovation.

These approaches can include having a formal process for employees to submit ideas, regular brainstroming sessions, and even organizing a cross-functional committee for innovation. However, organizations that are formalizing their innovations efforts aren’t letting that structure slow down the flow and uptake of ideas, according to the report. 

“Cross-training and departmental rotations can help speed innovation efforts by giving people a shared understanding of a business, according to a number of executives interviewed,” the report says.

Taking a structured approach is something that plays a key role in innovation at Biogen Idec, says Bill Mayo, the company’s senior director for global applications management.

“I love this notion of thinking about how do you structure innovation, because on the surface, it seems so counter-intuitive or an oxymoron to put those two words together: ‘structured innovation.’ But, we’ve had this discussion a great deal within the organization, and we believe it is critical to being good at innovation," Mayo said. “Again, you need to be intentional about how you drive it.”

To learn more about other organizations that are taking a structured approach while still moving fast, download the complete HBR report: “Business Transformation and the Role of the CIO.”

structure innovation and move fast

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