Innovation is one of those concepts that’s highly attractive. It conjures visions of future sustainable growth buoyed by new thinking and new technology. For Governments, Boards and CEO’s, addressing innovation has become an important challenge.

As a coach and consultant, I’ve watched CEO’s struggle with the concept of innovation and the process for focusing on it. There are several key elements to the struggle.

investing in innovationFirst and foremost, settling on a clear definition of innovation is challenging.

Companies who develop new technologies are always considered innovative. But is a technology company struggling with a new product invention any more innovative than a printing company that redefines the concept of corporate branding?

Second, for CEO’s intent on making innovation a key strategy initiative,  I see lots of confusion around what the process looks like. I get the sense that the confusion frequently stems from the focus on new product development as the primary – and at times – sole definition of innovation.

This week, we were challenged by Innovator’s Alliance to help innovate the process for ‘onboarding’ CEO’s to the innovation process. It was a thought-provoking and satisfying exercise as the goal of the Alliance is to help as many CEO’s as possible adopt a practical, formal approach to innovation.

My simple contribution to the challenge is this Corporate Innovation Assessment. Its purpose is to highlight the process in a few simple steps and provide some awareness around how well the organization is doing each step.

Full disclosure – while I’m quite pleased with the output – I did not invent it. I ‘innovated’/adapted on some information that I found on-line, specifically a very thorough and thoughtful study by Egypt Innovate’s Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. Here is the link to the source document.

The assessment itself is simple and effective. In a very few minutes, anyone interested in evaluating their corporate innovation can subjectively score their current approach and recognize what innovations have been achieved – not just in product invention – but in the processes, organization and marketing that support it.

CEO’s exposed to this assessment have found it thought provoking. Hopefully you will too. A narrated version of the assessment is available on Youtube.

If you have any questions or would like assistance facilitating a process in your organization don’t hesitate to reach out to Innovators Alliance or me. Happy innovating!