Epic tales of innovation abound in business communities where people recount near miraculous moments of insights resulting in billion-dollar inventions that transform the world as we know it: Marc Benioff came up with the idea for Salesforce.com while swimming with Dolphins; Steve Jobs drew a picture of a phone with one button and designed the iPhone.
As with all good myths, there is a kernel of truth within. The bigger story deals not with the singular moment of inspiration but the weeks, months, years of work preceding and following that takes an idea beyond invention (a functioning idea) to innovation (an invention with a business model that has an impact in the world). Many of these tales also center on an innovation "hero" with superhuman powers of insight. In reality, all will say innovation is a team sport requiring diverse, high performers across multiple disciplines coming together with a singular purpose.
The reason these stories persist is because that is how we want innovation to work - a moment of brilliance followed by massive market success. But it is hard to be a hero. We are not all CEO/Founders with absolute control over investment and resource allocations. We cannot steal the best talent to work on secret innovation projects. We have budget meetings and quarterly portfolio reviews. We have team performance reviews to conduct and legal reviews to attend.
How then can an innovation team within an established enterprise maintain the creative freedom they need to explore and iterate while connecting with the core business to coordinate investment decisions and alignment with broader firm strategies and goals?
KPMG has been iterating our own innovation model for some time (never easy in a 120 year old regulated accounting firm) and we have supported our clients in developing similarly successful systems within their own structures and cultures. We also recognize successes like these exist in a number of firms and as such are conducting a survey to benchmark performance along a variety of dimensions.
Join us for an exciting facilitated Design Thinking session to explore innovation challenges and potential solutions. We host this in KPMG's Ignition Center (a tour will be provided).