Innovation and project management
Why innovate? Why implement a new strategy or leave the status quo behind? A single answer : for performance.
Innovation is at the heart of businesses' need to grow, keep their momentum and gain market share. Businesses that can adapt, react quickly and maintain an open culture in the face of these disruptions are the champions of tomorrow.
Whatever the innovative idea, without solid project management to make it happen, without planning, implementation and operationalization, it will only remain a dream.
The concept of innovation is linked to disruption and interruption. In today's world, the only constant is change. There is no longer any choice but to manage this change, to plan it, so that it doesn't turn into chaos. Hence the importance of proper and sound project management to gain solid profits. Did you know that at least 15% of investments in innovation in North America are wasted because of poor project management? This figure is much too high.
Project management is unfortunately too often perceived as a method of control and monitoring. When properly used, it can produce much more and represent a concrete and easy response to the challenges that come with innovation.
A true transformation tool, project management links strategy with an increased ability to deliver value for an organization.
But how do you, as a manager or project management professional, reconcile innovation with often rigid organizational structures? How can you combine flexibility with the annual budget process, which constrains R&D or capital expenditure during the year?
And for starters, what is innovation?
There are several definitions of innovation. One that I particularly like, because it is very straightforward, is the following: Innovation is the ability to market new ideas.
In other words, delivering projects from a well-established business case. Innovation consists in analyzing the market and adapting to it, but more often than not, you need to change paradigms, review business models and refocus on the needs of consumer and users.
From Design Thinking to Business Model Canvas to Value Proposition, strategic thinking tools leads us to rethink our businesses and services according to the needs of our current and future clients.
It's also important to revisit our traditional project management tools to use them as innovation drivers. For example, portfolio management should be an important part of your innovation process, by reserving part of your portfolio for emerging initiatives during the fiscal year. Proceeding this way makes it possible to respect the budgetary framework while securing the required flexibility to take on new initiatives along the way.
In addition, you can explore different modes of delivery besides waterfall and agile project management. There are several hybrid delivery methods that can be adapted to your organization and your business challenges.
But above all, give yourself the leeway to make mistakes and involve executives in the discussion. This is the basis of an agile organization that can adapt to threats and seize opportunities. Again, project management offers some very concrete solutions to do all this.
How can these competitive advantages be used?
The Project Management Institute, always at the forefront of trends in project management, performed an in-depth survey of PM Leaders as part of its Next Projects series. It invites us to embrace and use the competitive advantage brought about by the most disruptive elements that arise. You can find this study here.
If you'd like to learn more, I invite you to read this study and contact us.
Happy project managing!
Henri-Jean Bonnis, Eng., MSc. (A), PMP
President of PMI-Montreal