The Science of Innovation


Harvard Business Review published a great article about managing corporate innovation:

It shines a light on the science of innovation based on an analysis of five years of data from over 150 companies and 3.5 million employees. 

 Researchers studied the idea management system Spigit – a tool that invites employees across entire organizations to propose ideas that respective organizations then sift through for implementation.  This systemization of innovation (similar to a sales pipeline) manages ideas to the companies’ benefit by producing “actionable innovations at a steady and predictable pace.”    If your company is considering ways to jumpstart your corporate innovation process, the article suggests certain ingredients of a successful innovation program.  For example, here are the variables that researchers identified as driving ideation:

  1. Scale - More participants generate more ideas.  All Hands on Deck.

  2. Frequency – The more, the merrier…idea flow coming out of idea challenges will naturally produce greater variation at a higher rate.

  3. Engagement – It’s great to put ideas in the jar, but it’s important to have lots of feedback to evaluate and select ideas worth pursuing.

  4. Diversity – Diversified ideas come from varied segments of people across organizations, such as the sales teams, and others – not just the engineers. 

 Corporate innovation is an area of practice for Chapman and Company, and we are experienced at spinning out companies from larger firms. (We consistently read HBR regarding how to do this better, by the way).

Check out the following link for more HBR insight on the topic of managing innovation.


Laura Neeson