In the previous ‘Innovation brakes’ we talked about the importance of getting the innovation team structure right. In this blog we discuss the importance of objective setting. Despite the order of our blogs, it important to set the objective before you select your team! Then you can tailor your team choices to the specific objectives.
Objectives should be clear, specific and measurable. ‘We want to launch new products’ is not enough. The objectives of the project need to answer the why; to fill a factory, to meet a new need, to service a new demographic, to target a competitor offering? This ‘why’ gives the team focus and a yardstick for assessing ideas. A single project can have multiple ‘whys’. In fact, to be successful the objective and project must be meeting a consumer need, as well as any commercial objectives. (We will return to the topic of meeting real consumer needs in a future blog.)
An objective should be empowering rather than disabling. Too limiting and the team will be frustrated and the project doomed. Too broad and the team will flounder without clear targets to aim for. An objective should be inspiring for the team and motivating for the stakeholders. This helps everyone get behind the project. In addition a specific and well crafted objective helps the team maintain focus in the face of challenges.
A workshop can be a great tool to define, refine and test an innovation objective.