Innovation Governance -
its role in leadership
Why Innovation matters
Background Comments
Innovation Dimensions
Appropriating Value
Supportive Challenge
Open Innovation
Rigorus Gates
Engaging Users
Innovation Skills
Innovation Governance Checklist
Implementing Innovation Governance



  • Is there a Board member with lead responsibility for innovation, supported by an Innovation Committee that scrutinizes arrangements and outcomes across the 8 IG Dimensions, and contributing a specific innovation section to the Annual Report?

  • Does the CEO or one of the top team have accountability for innovation across the organisation?

  • Is there a regular strategic review process that explores the medium term shifts facing the organisation, what steps it aims to take to mitigate or exploit these shifts, and how this plays into the innovation strategies developed within the organisation.

  • Are each of the following aspects of innovation practice subject to management review?
  • Ideation:
    • Is there a systematic activity reviewing trends that affect the organizations market, supply base, competitors and regulatory context?
    • Is there an established framework for bringing creative people together from different organization functions (research, sales, delivery, marketing) able to brainstorm issues and ideas with constructive challenge, and a formal means to nominate ideation champions?
    • Is there a formal community of senior leaders that span that business elements who can oversee ideation activity and form a lateral network to bring people inside (and outside) the organization together?
    • Can ideation champions get rapid, modest, funds to test and explore key aspects?
    • Are ideation champions given special access to wider expertise in the organization’s leadership cadre, providing advice, critical support and coaching?
  • Value Appropriation
    • Is a model of value creation and appropriation in place at stages in development of new goods and services?
    • Are there review stages in place that assess how well leaders of innovation projects articulate end-value and value capture?
    • Is there a strategy for sustaining appropriation of value that is robust across market evolution and external shifts, including IP protection processes and husbanding of complementary assets?
  • Supportive Challenge
    • Is there an established means to bring experienced  oversight to bear and infusion of skills into innovation teams, delivered in a trusted, close in way?
    • Is there opportunity for innovation projects to meet informally with senior executives to socialize the benefits, risks and strategic implications, and draw from senior expertise, separate from the gate go/nogo decision process?
    • Is there a means to bring expertise from across the business to red team progress at key points?
  • Open Innovation
    • Are the arrangements in place for people to network externally to gain appreciation of where good ideas are emerging, who are the leading teams, able to establish strong informal links
    • Is the leadership in place to balance the motivational benefit of competitive innovators with the lost opportunities of a 'not invented here' mind-set
    • Is there the means to develop IP that falls outside current core business, but which could add value elsewhere?
    • Is there an explicit review of the approach to open innovation, where it is to be adopted and where a closed approach should be adopted, and how it relates to business model design
    • Is consideration given to creating or helping create an open architecture, for example to accelerate market uptake, encourage competitive supply, appropriate value from complementary segments of the supply chain.
  • Rigorous Gates
    • Is there a clear articulation of the innovation stages, the gates that must be passed, their criteria and who exercises gate approval
    • Is there a simple presentation format that captures the key features of an innovation opportunity in a way readily accessible to senior executives
    • Are the assumptions and risks agreed at each gate fully owned and recorded, with a clear envelop outside of which additional review is triggered
    • Is there a delegated first stage gate that allows the basic features of an opportunity to be developed with limited funding
  • Engaging Users
    • Does the organization have mature ways of developing relationships with end-users
    • How is the decision made on end-user engagement methodology in each case
    • Is the engagement of end-users assessed as a critical factor in innovation gate reviews
    • Is investment in facilities, such as experimentation suites, appropriate
  • Incentives
    • Does the incentive regime encourage innovators to take agreed risks without penalty if declared risks accrue
    • Are middle mangers recognized for balancing short term performance and strategic gain
    • Is there a set of recognition events that make heros out of people who create successful new ideas
    • Is there opportunity for corporate entrepreneurship
  • Innovation Skills
    • Is there a scheme to develop skills relevant to innovation
    • How well is this scheme targeted at people most likely to lead or be members of innovation projects.
    • Is the a periodic opportunity for emerging innovators to make their presence known and receive target training, eg through a competitive process.


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