Monday, 30 March 2015

Do you value innovation?

So the past few months have been extremely interesting on the work front.

One of the activities I've been involved in is building innovation ideas for a major rail client.

The transport industry in the UK has gone mad with innovation. All sorts of 'innovative' schemes are hitting the streets for all and sundry to bid for. Which in itself it's not a problem provided the value of submissions can be evaluated appropriately. However, therein lies the problem. Just how do you value an innovation idea.

I suppose it's relatively easy if the idea is well advanced and the value can be measured in a business generated manner. However, the ideas we came up with are potentially major game changers. Value gone bonkers but not easy to demonstrate when what's needed is a period of research to prove the idea has legs. Not easy to show what the return on investment is.

To get these ideas off the ground there is a need to be able to play around and try out things to develop proof of concept or a demonstrator. However, not everyone views this 'playing' the same - one classic comment was 'well they are great ideas to fund student beer drinking for a year'. Fortunately, they (eventually) saw the potential value was worth funding the beer for a while ;)

Bigger organisations appear to be more comfortable with incremental change rather than radical new ideas, as most have ready made processes in place for evaluating and funding them. The radical changes need to be part of a research and development approach. R and D does not sit well in most of these organisations.

Our solution ..... see future posts on how things work out.