How To Balance Being Visionary and Pragmatic
Innovation is crucial in product lifecycle, especially to a company’s long-term relevancy. The definition of a visionary innovator does not hinge on having a disruptive-only innovation portfolio but on the ability to understand the state of the industry and company and provide a balanced outlook for innovative projects.
The innovators have to work within the boundaries of corporate reality. Corporations are more often that not, more focused on current and immediate product/corporate mandates. A survivalist strategist need to navigate around corporate strategies and budget in good and bad economic times.
Ultimately, strategists need to remember that the customer served is the corporation. As with any venture, key is to have a firm understanding of the company’s budgets, future goals, competitive landscape and, most importantly, tolerance of the unknown/unpredictable. Use this knowledge to determine the right balance and timing for sustaining and disruptive innovation. Crafting innovative roadmaps is a fluid and dynamic task that needs to be done in the current corporate context.
In economic hardship, companies may not have any appetite for innovation so focus on supporting immediate product requirements. In a so-so economy, a company should attempt to at least maintain sustaining innovation roadmap along with their product roadmaps while in good economic times, a company should take advantage and invest in relevant technologies as forward thinking as possible.
Once you are able to identify and understand this balancing act, the next thing to address is common problems faced by innovators and potential solutions.