14.10.2020 Fabian Roschig

Commercially viable innovation is a systematic process, not (only) a spark of genius

Solely rely on talent, creativity and luck is a recipe for failure.

Innovation: A process vs. a spark of genius

Nowadays almost all executives agree that innovation is critical for competitiveness, progress and results.

84% of german executives say that the future of their business lies in innovation.*

3/4 of international executives agree that changes brought about by COVID-19 will be a big opportunity for growth.**

It is at the top of the agenda, but when you ask people what do you understand by innovation, you get all different kind of answers, but rarely you’ll hear the answer “A PROCESS of developing solutions to unmet customer problems” or something equivalent.

We tend to perceive innovation as a spark of genius, a brilliant idea of extraordinary and creative minds and a distinct moment of time when something new is created.

But established companies are set up to be consistent and stable for ease of control. Stability, consistency and control is the antithesis of luck, happened by chance or not repeatable sparks of genius. So why do we treat innovation differently than any other part of the business where we tend to structure and optimise meticulously to make it predictable and repeatable.

Make it repeatable, predictable, fact-based, systematic

Rather than a distinct moment or idea it should be a repeatable, plannable process to deliver tangible results. A methodology that creates a consistent, predictable and sustainable path for innovation.

With an aversion to process and a strong belief that innovation is an art, there is little hope a company will ever consider adopting an effective innovation process. -Tony Ulwick — Founder of the innovation consulting firm Strategyn

Let’s make it clear. Successful innovation can happen by accident. Experimental stumbling, failure, redesign, good execution of methodologies and uniquely talented innovation individuals can make many things work, but it’s not efficient neither a strategic approach to innovation. It’s a pleasant surprise when it works, but is this something you want to take to your C-Level?

Relying on random efforts is like risking an organization’s future success to a straight up roulette bet. — Jim Stikeleather, Former Chief Innovation Officer at Dell

Especially the discovery phase is a very analytical and rational process. It is quantitatively driven, often research-based, and generally sequential in execution.

In a later stage of designing solutions it is equally important have the qualitative, inspirational “ah ha!” moments. This model employs more divergent thinking: it is both creative and intuitive.

Works of Brilliance Come From Great Processes, Not Great Ideas — Emre Soyer

In my opinion the development of a highly productive innovation capability is one of the most important strategic priorities for any Organization.

@Beyond Fortune we believe in a higher ROI of innovation due to systematic and repeatable processes and better defined and quantified customer problems that are really worth solving.

Consequently, we help businesses to move through unknown territories in eight clear defined steps and to successfully develop plannable growth strategies and successful products.

Need help creating your innovation process for predictable growth and successful products?

BeyondFortune is a new business design and innovation strategy agency.

We help businesses navigate uncertainty and taking the guesswork out of innovation by applying a repeatable process + data-driven mindset + customer-centricity at heart.

We are de-risking value creation by capturing deep user insights and transforming them into predictable growth strategies and successful products.

We are looking forward to, together with you, systematically driving innovation to success.

Get in touch

Web / Mail / Tel


  • *Based on McKinsey Survey — 2020
  • **Based on McKinsey Global Innovation Survey — 2020

Related Articles

Commercially viable innovation is a systematic process, not (only) a spark of genius was originally published in BeyondFortune on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Globe Illustration

Ready to get started?

Ich freue mich über Ihre Herausforderungen und gemeinsame Projekte. Buchen Sie jetzt einen unverbindlichen Call mit mir!