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8 questions you must ask to create innovation that works | London Business School

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8 questions you must ask to create innovation that works | London Business School

  1. Questions you must ask to create innovation that works. Shareholders, analysts and the financial media demand innovation and perpetual growth. Is the ‘why’ greater than the ‘how’?
  2. Why do anything at all? Prevent fundamental errors and ensure your proposal ties in with the organisation. A complex project may require your very best people and a greater amount of their focus than can be spared. Can you really add more to your to-do list right now? 1 2
  3. 3 Why do this exactly? Will the results please your customers? Remember, there are three ways to create value: earn more, spend less or do things more efficiently. Ask: is the problem big enough? If yes, the challenge then is to articulate the benefits effectively. 2
  4. 4 What does success look like? What will you gain? You must be able to explain the ideal outcome. Once you’ve projected the benefits, examine whether the end scenario will excite your customers and your shareholders. 3
  5. 5 Why not wait? Why act now? Define your timescales. If you can’t persuade others that the time is now – don’t go ahead just yet. Watch the indicators and reconvene if things change. 4
  6. 6 Who could or should do this internally? The source of innovation is not always where the execution ability sits. Confirm synergies and avoid risk by identifying where the new ‘thing’ belongs. Who will lead? Who might you call upon from HR, finance or legal? 5
  7. 7 Who externally could do this better? Think hard – does your team have the necessary skill-sets to achieve the optimum outcome? It’s expensive and risky to create an entirely bespoke platform unless the opportunity is large enough. 6
  8. 8 What else could I do instead? In a competitive trading environment there’s a constant pressure to innovate. Don’t lose focus. Ask: is this the best thing to do? Actively seek alternative views and consult relevant experts. 7
  9. 9 Where would I start? Start with a strong project manager, a detailed plan and clear objectives. An established, flexible structure will maximise the chance of success. 8 9
  10. 10 WHY question anything at all? Ask these questions to stay focussed on what’s important, including to: • Test and refine the proposition • Clarify the pitch narrative • Fire up your audience’s imagination • Anticipate pessimism • Persuade others to invest.
  11. The full article was published in London Business School Review Volume 26, Issue 1 2015 and was written by Nayeem Syed JEMBA2008, Assistant General Counsel, Financial & Risk, Thomson Reuters. Visit the website: www.london.edu/lbsr

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