1. Are you empowered to explore, experiment and fail?
The job of the innovation team is to search for new business models and value propositions. Naturally, failure is a big part of this process. Therefore, team members need to feel safe enough to try new things even if they might not work out.
Alex Osterwalder strongly advocates a portfolio approach to innovation. This is where you start with a large number of innovation project teams and gradually retire projects that don’t provide sufficient evidence to justify additional investment. Innovation teams that don’t find enough evidence should then be encouraged to try again with new ideas.
Any company that does not create the cultural space for teams to explore, experiment and fail doesn’t take innovation seriously.
2. Do you have a legal person dedicated to innovation?
In the early days of corporate innovation, the legal and compliance departments were seen as the enemy. Their objectives were diametrically opposed to those of innovation project teams and their processes were designed to stifle the very type of progress corporate innovators were looking to make.
However, innovation practice has come a long way since then. It’s now starting to be recognized as a profession like any other e.g. accountancy, engineering etc.
It is paramount to have legal experts who understand how innovation works and are involved in the design process of experiments with innovation professionals.
Think of it like this, legal and compliance teams have a responsibility to keep the organization safe but they must also work in partnership with innovation teams to help explore new business opportunities and ensure long term success.
Any company (above 1,000 people) that doesn’t have a legal person 100% dedicated to innovation isn’t taking innovation seriously.