The right data can provide that validation, supported by what EY calls vertical innovation, which aligns design, engineering, manufacturing, route-to-market and sales resources behind a concept. If all players can agree that the idea addresses a customer need or opportunity supported by research, then the path to making it a reality — and delivering the promised benefit — is shorter.
Operationalizing innovation requires building a culture that values continuous research, prototyping and testing. Innovative companies make many small bets, quickly discard losers and invest incrementally in ideas that show promise.
A variety of practices and organizational structures are emerging to help leadership teams embed innovation into the culture. For example:
- “Venture studios” are internal organizations within a larger enterprise that are treated like startups. Teams have the latitude to investigate promising ideas with success metrics and rewards that encourage intelligent risk-taking and challenging assumptions.
- "Data sandboxes” encourage innovation by giving people a safe and secure place to experiment with data, test hypotheses and prototype solutions.
In both cases, good ideas that don’t translate into tangible products are regarded as learning experiences, not failures.
Another increasingly common innovation accelerant is to bring customers directly into the development process. This works particularly well in business-to-business scenarios such as construction of a smart office building, where everyone involved —suppliers, contractors, owners and occupants — ultimately benefit from collaborative innovation.