Innovation in the workplace

Our approach

Innovation is becoming an important differentiator for firms. The pandemic has been an accelerant, propelling all firms forward in the areas of tech and innovation. What was once inconceivable or impossible, developments such as remote working, virtual court sessions, and online networking are imperatives that have become part of our regular lives. The ability to make these changes has given firms the urgency and confidence to embrace innovation.

Most firms engaged in innovation activities before the pandemic. What has changed is the frequency and volume at which innovation efforts are taking place. The increase in innovation activity raises the stakes. For every $1000 invested in innovation, most firms need to generate more than $3500 in new revenues to cover the associated costs. While substantial investments can yield larger returns, there is no guarantee that each investment will have a comparable or even adequate return.

Innovation is also critical when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. No one wants to work for a company that doesn’t appear to be continuously innovating and evolving — that is a recipe for going out of business. Innovation is an opportunity to encourage critical thinking, build bridges, and identify new ways to solve challenges or fill any gaps in your current offerings.

Innovation management is the process to ensure that the firm’s portfolio of innovation investments and activities delivers the best possible outcomes on multiple levels.

Gartner defines innovation management as a business discipline that aims to drive a repeatable, sustainable innovation process or culture within an organization. It is the structured process of generating, validating, prioritizing, developing, and implementing ideas and alternative solutions that would, otherwise, not have emerged through normal processes.

Introducing something new follows a sequence of events, innovation classifies as a value chain, wherein the least productive step determines the overall performance of the process. Innovation management helps to optimize the innovation process, identify bottlenecks, and increase the productivity of innovation investments and resources.

Innovation in the workplace

It can be tempting to look at Google, Apple, Amazon, and other innovative companies to copy their best practices. However, very few firms can afford to innovate on that scale. For example, Amazon spends more than $22 Billion on R&D each year!  For organizations with just a fraction of that budget, innovation in the workplace is often the best option, see for example our study into the innovation management practices of law firms.

Engaging talented employees in the innovation process requires more than putting up an idea box, giving them a one-pager to fill out, or giving them time to innovate. To make innovation fun and rewarding, you must empower your talent, provide these innovators with the best possible support, so they can deliver the best possible results.

And for the innovation managers, who oversee these innovators in the workplace, their role is more that of a facilitator than a manager, especially when the funding for the innovation projects comes from the business units or practice groups and the team members don't report to them for their short or long term performance.

Innovation project management

The solution?

UrgencyTo address the needs of your talented innovators, foster a culture of innovation, and give your innovation manager the oversight needed to ensure results, we came up with a solution.

YIP (Your Innovation Project manager) guides innovation teams to success, by helping them plan and execute their innovation projects. With YIP, leadership can be sure that all their innovation projects are managed properly and yield the best possible outcomes.

We know from Dr. Blindenbach her 20+ years of research and practical experience that service providers need to drive their own innovation projects, yet, typically lack the time, skills, and experience to do so effectively. With the guidance and focus from YIP, we enable inexperienced innovators to bring their ideas to practice successfully and in about half the time.

Leadership can use YIP as a sandbox to attract, develop, and retain talented innovators. The platform provides a safe place for talent to validate and advance their ideas. Use YIP to empower your talent, while saving hundreds of hours of valuable time by achieving innovation results about twice as fast, eliminating unnecessary frustrations, identifying high potential teams, and by having unpromising initiatives self-select out within weeks instead of months.

For the innovation function, our platform provides the data they need to direct scarcely available support-resources to the most promising teams and turn innovation from a cost into a profit center.

What our users say:

"Great experience! I gained a lot of knowledge regarding business.

I am in healthcare so I am not used to the business side of things as I typically do not handle those aspects of my practice. This program was superb for teaching me the other side of my career. I was taught how to accurately assess items such as finances, billing, interviewing, and how to think from a business perspective. It definitely made me think outside of the box which was worth it as it taught me so much! I would highly recommend this program!"

Sherry L - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Children's Hospital New Orleans

“O4I helped me to develop and value a business idea before I put it to market. After our research, we concluded that the idea would not be a commercial success for our business. Without O4I, we either would have put this to market (which would have wasted our time, energy and money) or we would have stayed in the 'what if' mode for a few years. With O4I, in just a few weeks, we concluded to focus our energy on other more valuable innovation projects.”

Esther van de Storm – Innovation Booster, Stormpunt

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How does YIP compare to other approaches?

What about Agile, Design Thinking, Lean Startup, Business Model Canvas and other methodologies?

We are building on the shoulders of giants. YIP draws from strategic management, project management, design thinking, agile, business model canvas, and lean startup methodologies.

These are great methodologies that address different aspects of the innovation process – see graph below.

YIP helps innovators in the workplace to apply the most valuable tools and concepts of each approach so that they know what to use when, without having to become an expert in each of these tools.

project management, strategic management, agile, design thinking, lean startup, business model canvas