Want to fast track your innovation strategy?

If you answered, "Yes," here's a strategic model to explore the opportunity of having different types of tracks (literally) for your innovation strategy.

The NASCAR racing world is focused on Charlotte Motor Speedway right now since these two weeks in May are the unofficial homecoming for NASCAR in the city where most race teams are located. Charlotte Motor Speedway is a large racing complex, with three separate auto racing configurations:

  • The Dragway -  A straight, quarter mile drag strip for short, very high-speed races run multiple times per day
  • The Dirt Track – A short, clay oval track for aggressive races where both younger and older drivers race in a more rough and tumble fashion
  • The Superspeedway – A 1.5 mile oval track for longer auto races with drivers at the highest levels of their profession in both skill and endurance

Three tracks for three types of racing could be a model for accommodating a brand's differing innovation strategy objectives.



3 Tracks to Fast Track Innovative Ideas

Consider these track options to fast track innovative ideas for your brand's innovation strategy:

The Innovation Dragway

This innovation track is for obvious, tactical innovations to improve processes and less visible aspects of the brand. On this track, the objective is to quickly clear vetting hurdles most other potential innovations have to pass since these ideas should have a higher probability for successful implementation. All these ideas many not find quick success; it's still a numbers game. Many of these innovations may fall short of reaching full expectations. But because the downside of failure is slight or a quick failure will yield a disproportionate amount of learning, it's all about blasting these innovations through the process quickly.

The Innovation Dirt Track

Another innovation strategy track is for rough and tumble innovation. These raw ideas have promise, and some wild possibilities could lead to disruptive innovation. The objective is quickly mocking up these ideas to explore the potential impact on your core business from these wild ideas before a new competitor does. The priorities are prototyping these ideas, putting early versions into peoples' hands, and making decisions on how to move them forward, morph them, shelve them, or abandon them. The development process may be less precise because the emphasis is TRYING and DOING things that wouldn’t progress in a more formal setting. If an idea DOES look BIG on this track, however, expect to take it to the next innovation strategy track for more development.

The Innovation Superspeedway

On this innovation track, things are more methodical and deliberate. This is the big innovation stage. The implications of both successes and failures are much more significant. With more steps in the innovation development process there fewer winning innovations. The winners that do emerge from the process get more dollars, attention, and support behind them. With fewer concepts making it to the end, there is also a higher probability of success when these innovations are implemented.

Innovation Strategy for Varied Innovative Ideas

Is your brand ready for a three-track innovation strategy?

While this three-track approach isn’t right for all brands, the idea of having an innovation dragway and dirt track may be the answer to get innovations moving and having an impact much more expeditiously than if each idea is forced onto a single track that may not suit its development. – Mike Brown


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