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Secrets of Successful Innovation Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

7 Secrets of Successful Innovation

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Internal innovation is a clear hallmark of successful mid-market companies. Here are some ideas on how CEOs can boost their companies’ R&D quotient.

1. Success can be found close to home.

Of total middle­-market innovation invest­ment, 42% is devoted to projects aimed at existing markets and deploying existing knowledge, according to the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM). These initia­tives typically produce comparable payoffs to riskier ventures.

2. Consider advent­urous projects

Focus part of your resources at “out there” targets that will aim at unfamiliar markets or employ new knowledge. The fastes­t-g­rowing middle­-market companies reach that status in part by being good at blue-sky R&D efforts.

3. Optimize your resources

If a company is going to depend on its own innova­tion, CEOs must make the most of who and what they’ve got. That means encour­aging cross-­dep­art­mental intera­ction, not just relying on a distinct R&D team, as well as strong engagement by senior leaders including top marketing and IT execut­ives, the NCMM advises.

4. Build up an infras­tru­cture

While encour­aging innovation from all over the company, chiefs should ensure that there are formal processes in place for genera­ting, selecting and implem­enting innovative ideas—­though not so formal the invent­iveness is stifled, according to the NCMM.

5. Cull quickly

Being smart with R&D resources means recogn­izi­ng—and jettis­oni­ng—­losing ideas quickly.

6. Think early about moneti­zation

“The excellent companies, large and mid-ma­rket, have moneti­zation people in their R&D teams exactly from Day One,” says Georg Tacke, co-CEO of Simon-­Kucher & Partners consul­tants.

7. Be open to new ownership influences

One advantage of the surge in privat­e-e­quity invest­ments in mid-market companies is that they often bring general management experience and domain­-sp­ecific expertise to their invest­ments, which in turn can boost R&D and innovation at the company, says Doug Farren, managing director of the NCMM.