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How to plan innovation activity

Here, we explore how the use of action plans can help your innovation process, regardless of the size of your organisation.
A series of blue and white arrows pointing to the right. One of the arrows has white cog wheels on it.
© EFQM

Organisations do not find it easy to innovate successfully, mainly because there are many challenges involved.

In some organisations ideas may be encouraged, but there is no structured follow-up and implementation. Other organisations may have detailed procedures to oversee innovation but, if there is too much micro-management of innovation, then creative thinking can be inhibited. Here, we are going to explore how the use of action plans can help your innovation process.

Prioritise and evaluate

The results from the innovation assessment need to be prioritised and evaluated. You need to identify the activities which will have most impact. Once the actions are prioritised the next stage is to develop the innovation action plan.

The innovation assessment profile identifies the current position. Many organisations then agree the desired future position at a planning workshop. In this action planning stage, teams or individuals will be given responsibility for completing each action.

Action plan

It is good practice to have an action plan which includes the following:

  • Priority level – for example High, Medium or Low
  • Deliverable – what the outcome will be
  • Action – the detail of the activity
  • Person Responsible
  • Date Raised
  • Date Due
  • Status – is it ahead of schedule or falling behind?
  • % Complete

SMART goal-setting

When you are working on the innovation activity, it is really helpful to use SMART goal-setting. You may be familiar with this approach but, if not, here is a quick summary:

S Make the goal SPECIFIC and write it down. Write a sentence which encapsulates the goal in very specific terms.

M Define your MEASURES. Closely linked to SPECIFIC, decide what will be the tangible measures for your goal.

A Make sure the goal is ATTAINABLE.

R Ensure the goal is REALISTIC.

T Define the TIMING. When will you complete it?

Finally, think about how you will monitor progress and measure the impact of the innovation activity.

© EFQM
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