Designing Innovation Programs, A Simple Practical Guide for Aspiring Innovation Managers

I have been designing innovation programs since 2017, and here is how I’ve always did it in a few simple steps.

🏛 The sub-levels and details of innovation programs is almost like a bottomless pit, but the pillars are almost identical throughout all types.

  1. People get caught up in how sophisticated these programs can get.
  2. They lose sight of the reasons they are doing these programs.
  3. They start to feel what they are doing is not special enough.
  4. They don’t know where to start and lose motivation.

Rest assured, we all feel that way at some point and these simple steps will help you generate the bare minimum to design your desired program.

💭 Step 1: Just like Stephen Covey’s Habit 2, Begin With The End In Mind.

The design process starts with defining the desired outputs and reasons why we are conducting this program. Once you have a clear vision of the end, it is much easier to reverse engineer the program.

🧐 Step 2: Capture the concept level, digging deeper into the why will unravel the ideas behind the program.

This will give you a clearer understanding of the program objectives, elements, initial plan, and methodology. Trust me, this will make it a hundred times easier to communicate and bounce ideas off of your team members.

♟ Step 3: Draft the operational level, simply start answering how will you execute this program.

This will paint a clearer picture of the work involved in your program, and how to achieve the vision. Bust out your strategy hat, and think what are the steps, processes, and hard sweat aspects you need to make it work!

📓 Step 4: Build a playbook, a reference of everything you did above and learned through every repeat version of the program.

Simply, you will be piloting your program and iterating every single time. You will always be in an MVP state of mind, because these programs are constantly evolving and there is always something that can be done better.

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