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The EFQM Innovation Framework

In this step we are going to focus on the structure and content of the EFQM Innovation Framework. We will consider how the framework provides a strategic approach to managing innovation. We will also explain how it can be used to assess an organisation’s innovation maturity.
Diagram of the EFQM Innovation Framework surrounded by boxes that show the heading of the criteria and sub-criteria.
© EFQM

In this step we are going to focus on the structure and content of the EFQM Innovation Framework. We will consider how the framework provides a strategic approach to managing innovation. We will also explain how it can be used to assess an organisation’s innovation maturity.

What is the EFQM Innovation Framework?

The framework emphasises that innovation is not confined to one particular area of an organisation. All elements of an organisation can innovate.

Theodora Lau, LinkedIn Top Voice For Economy and Finance 2017, said, “… to be successful, innovation… must be ingrained within the culture and DNA of the entire organisation. Everybody must be on board and in alignment with what it means and what it will take to get there.”

The EFQM Innovation Framework focuses on the activities, processes and culture that combine to stimulate innovation and to encourage it to flourish. It represents a broad view of innovation and aims to measure the impact of innovation plans and approaches.

The 3 Elements of the EFQM Innovation Framework

  • Direction – What is the innovation vision and what purpose does it fulfil?
  • Execution – How does an organisation intend to deliver on its innovation strategy?
  • Results – What has the innovation activity achieved to date?

The EFQM Innovation framework is helpful in outlining different levels of innovation maturity. The information an organisation can provide against the 5 different levels helps to identify its current level of innovation maturity.

1. Entry Level

The organisation has started to think about the conditions, culture, processes and systems necessary to drive and nurture innovation and creativity.

2. Building Level

The organisation has some of the conditions, processes and systems in place. There is limited evidence of results and improvements.

3. Sustaining Level

The conditions, culture, processes and systems to support innovation are becoming embedded in everyday activity. Employees are involved in innovation activities. There is also evidence of partnering and collaboration with other key stakeholders in innovation activities. Metrics are in place and the organisation can demonstrate some evidence of positive trends for its innovation activity.

4. Enhancing Level

An innovation culture is well-established. The processes and systems to manage innovation are clearly integrated. Employees are clearly engaged in innovation activities. There is clear evidence of innovation activities impacting the value chain through collaboration with customers, suppliers and partners on innovation projects. There is a wide range of financial and non-financial metrics in place which are compared with other external targets and benchmarks.

5. Full Integration Level

A clear innovation culture is in place, supported by integrated end-to-end processes and systems which impact the organisation and its value chain. Results over the strategic cycle show that the organisation is an ‘innovation exemplar’ and is recognised as such both inside and outside the sector. There is evidence of best in class behaviours at all levels of the organisation.

Your task

Read through the descriptions of the maturity levels again. Which level is the closest fit for the overall innovation maturity of your organisation? If you are not working in an organisation at the moment, please use another organisation that you know well.

© EFQM
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