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The 7 Fundamentals of Innovation: Your Guidepost to Doing Innovation Better than the Rest

Managing innovation is an important process only a few organization can master very well.  It is because the innovation process is not fully understood or implemented and the innovation culture is still immature.

While Innovation Management is recognized to bring in results, excellence has not been achieved in terms of managing innovation.  Highly successful companies do not possess a silver innovation bullet.  They do not achieve their results by just doing one of a few things better than others. They do everything better.

The 7 Fundamentals of Innovation

The 7 Fundamentals of Innovation are the building blocks of all organizations.  These cornerstones must be established before any form of innovation is set into motion.


Organizations must build successful teams for each specific task and purpose with the necessary competencies.


Innovation must be emphasized to a high degree. This can be done through an updated and communicated company strategy with innovation as a central element.


Employees must be encouraged to act independently and know what to do with an idea. Constructive feedback must be given to all employees who are generating ideas.


A strong Innovation Culture must be established that values questioning processes and products.


Building external networks and cooperation with universities, research centers, customers, suppliers, partners, and stakeholders are important.  This includes setting up a system for identifying potential innovations from external sources.


Fixed procedures for evaluating innovation projects need to be established including continuous benchmarking with competitors. Financial tracking of innovation projects must also be undertaken for a minimum of 2 to 3 years.


A structure must be established where everybody has a good overview of what everybody else does in the company.

Without the Fundamental Innovation Elements, there will be no basis for a coherent and collective effort. Team and Strategy can maximize the growth potential of organizations while Empowerment and Culture can build people that create organizations that are innovatively successful. Innovations efforts are then firmed up with the integration of Cooperation, Monitoring, and Structure within the innovation process.

Learning from the Fundamentals: What Successful Organizations have Learned

There are 3 overall key findings that organizations have learned and can learn from the Fundamentals of Innovation.

  1. Highly successful companies are not just doing one or a few things better than less successful companies. They are doing everything better.
  2. The right team, empowerment of the employees, and a learning culture are the most important fundamental elements for Innovation Management.
  3. Successful companies are systematic and clear about their Innovation Management processes.

There are Leading Innovation Practices that divide highly successful companies from those that are less successful. One of the leading practices is the company’s commitment to making innovation a part of the company’s corporate strategy. This and other leading practices are what makes companies succeed in their innovation process and be on top of the race.

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About Joseph Robinson

Joseph Robinson is the Vice President of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is the marketplace for best practices in business management. Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. The documents at Flevy (https://flevy.com) are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience. Flevy covers 200+ management topics, ranging from Digital Transformation to Growth Strategy to Lean Management. You can peruse a full list of management topics available on Flevy here. Prior to Flevy, Joseph worked as an Associate at BCG and holds an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. You can connect with Joseph on LinkedIn here.

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