Back to Professional Development Blog

Four Steps to an Effective Innovation Process

Dave Power provides a framework for sustaining innovation and growth.

6/14/2016 | Innovation | 2 minute read

Picture of Dave Power
Written By:
Dave Power

For any growth company, the process of innovation can be both exciting and daunting. Your team has no shortage of ideas, but how do you make sure you're generating viable ones? In essence, you need a solid framework and clear direction.

The following quick, four-step guide can help you navigate the process and get you on a smooth path to innovation at your own organization.

1. Observe Your Customers to Uncover New Problems—and Opportunities

By building an understanding your customers’ problems or pain points, you can think of ways your organization can provide solutions. Try creating customer journey maps to illuminate what your customers are doing, thinking, feeling, and experiencing during every stage of the shopping, purchasing, and consumption process.

2. Create New Solutions

Now you can use your customer insights to explore new ways to make a profit. Alexander Osterwalder’s business model canvas is an effective tool for visually plotting and identifying these opportunities.

3. Prototype and Learn in the Market

To arrive at an optimal final product, adhere to the principles of lean development: introduce your product to the market as a basic offer first. This enables you to learn continuously from customer behavior and change the offer quickly if it is not working.

4. Implement the Best Ideas

Take those successful prototypes to market—and keep learning.

Embracing this process as an iterative cycle of learning gives you the flexibility to try out new business possibilities and refine the ideas. This is the best practice for growth companies.

Stay Up to Date with Harvard Professional Development

Subscribe to our blog and we'll alert you when we have a new post about one of our business topics from leadership to innovation.

You May Also Like

Customer Needs Should Drive Innovation Innovation

Customer Needs Should Drive Innovation

In the middle ages, theologians debated the number of angels that could dance on the head of a pin. In the modern era, entrep...

2/19/2013 | 4 minute read

How to Lead Successful Innovation: Lessons from Experts Innovation

How to Lead Successful Innovation: Lessons from Experts

Your firm's ability to innovate again and again is critical to its success—just as it has been for Intuit, Apple, Google, and...

7/29/2016 | 12 minute read

Innovation Strategy: 4 Key Tactics of Top Growth Companies Innovation

Innovation Strategy: 4 Key Tactics of Top Growth Companies

What can we learn about innovation and growth from the most successful growth companies? Global competition and a weak econom...

1/23/2014 | 10 minute read