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Toxic processes challenged at the Strategos "Innovation Academy"

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In a session of the Strategos Innovation Academy, participants considered how a number of core management processes - for example, strategic planning, capital budgeting, performance assessment and product and process development - inhibit innovation. Working in groups, the participants identified problems with existing practices and then suggested a number of ways to make the process less toxic to innovation. Today's strategic-planning processes rarely emphasize radical innovation - the new business concepts and operational models that are necessary to keep corporations at the head of the pack - either implicitly or explicitly. Another failure that participants identified is the linkage between strategy planning and the annual budgetary cycle. To improve strategic planning, participants made a number of other suggestions, many of which derive from the toxicities and failures of the existing strategic-planning process. Companies should first ensure that their business definition and associated mission statement are broad. Narrow definitions are likely to reduce a company's identity to its current business model, thereby impeding the possibility of renewal. Companies should also explicitly include innovation in the strategic-planning process. A chief innovation officer - a new senior-level appointee in the company - can help ensure that innovation remains central to the strategic-planning process. Greater scrutiny of strategic plans can also help. For example, CEOs can reject strategic plans that do not include a substantial amount of innovation. The introduction of new metrics for innovation would help formalize this commitment to innovation. Participants also recommended that companies find ways to dissociate the strategic-planning process from an annual schedule. Instead, the process needs to become continuous. To this end, some participants advocated renaming the process strategic evolution instead of strategic planning.
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Keywords: Innovation; Performance Measurement; Product Development; Reward; Strategic Planning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 23, 2002

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