Time is valuable for all companies and might seem as a barrier on its own. It is often a barrier to start a development project because there is a fear that it will poach too much time and ressources. But innovation doesn’t always have to be bound to long projects that drags out all ressources from the daily work. It can be an advantage with short innovation projects that however takes extra structure end efficiency.
We have worked with projects that lasted up to 2 years, but we have also had many short innovation projects with our clients. When an innovation project runs as what we call a Sprint, the pace is crucial. We have experienced that short innovation projects have been in high demand because it gives an opportunity to develop a product or service in a short time. But a Sprint can also be the start of a bigger project, where the Sprint is the foundation for all the coming work, and makes sure that there is direction and a basis for a validated decision.
1. Lack of structure and an unclear design brief
Lack of structure can derail even the biggest organisation. Structure is necessary in any work but it more about what degree of structure is needed. There is no recipe for how much structure that is demanded in an innovation project. But a design brief and a business case makes up a good foundation for structuring the proces and keeping track of the effect of the work.
The design brief defines needs, requirements and goals for the product or service. It concretises the job and makes sure the is a direction for the development and form. It is a guideline that can be diverted from, if you during the proces discover that corrections should be made. But the outlining helps both designers/developers and the client to align expectations and hopefully avoid misunderstandings or unrealistic expectations.
2. Ideas are treated as individual solutions
Most things are weaker or doesn’t work when they are removed from their context. It is the same way with ideas. They do not live in a vacuum and one idé will always have an impact on something else in the project or organisation. Therefore you will have to examine your ideas with critical eyes and look at them from a 360 degree full angle.
If it’s difficult to see the ideas with new eyes or if you have tendencies to fall back into old habits and approaches, it is worth to have someone external coming into the project. With external partners you can get helt developing new ideas, uncover habits and processes that work against the project or uncover where communication fail.
No matter if to much money has been used or to much time spend, they are both killers to an innovation project. Either it means that you from the start budgeted unrealistically, or you have been working too unstructured, lacked communication, made too many mistakes or repetitions. Mistakes are never completely avoided and they exist so you can learn.
”A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying… that he is wiser today than yesterday.” Jonathan Swift
If you learn from your mistakes, hopefully you don’t repeat them (too many times). That means that your company, team and you will have to self-evaluate. When you have the courage to evaluate your own performance and take a look at yourself and what might have been done differently, you have taken the first step for getting even more skilled. And hereby hopefully also avoid exceedings on budget and timeplan.