I’m often asked about the best innovation management practices, and my answers have evolved into the following list of ten things. Please enjoy and share these lessons from life in the window innovation business:

  1. Innovation is everyone’s job at the organization. There is no substitute for lots of ideas and suggestions from everyone. Make this part of your culture by rewarding good ideas and promoting idea events.
  2. Build an innovation process. You will waste good ideas by pouring resources into bad ones if you do not have a good process.
  3. Build an innovation team. Consider diversity, experience and training when you are selecting teammates.
  4. Get out of your walls. Many companies are too internally focused to see well. Visit vendors, customers and other local companies that manufacture products from a different industry. Always look for good ideas you can use.
  5. Get out of your head. Don’t try to innovate alone, since two (or more) heads are ALWAYS better than one! This video link is a great description of how this works.
  6. Hire well. Always keep your team diverse with multiple experience levels and training. Ask your candidates “if you had eight weeks and $75,000 to pursue any new product idea, what would you do?” The best candidates will have some great answers.
  7. Continuous improvement. Always work to improve your team and process with books, TED and the latest training.
  8. Benchmarking. By understanding what your industry and competitors are doing in their innovation process, you can effectively place your product. A good study guide for benchmarking may be found here.
  9. Plan every move. I cannot emphasize enough how important extensive planning is to any project. In my experience, all companies under-plan.
  10. Celebrate success and repeat. Let’s face it–innovation of successful products and processes is a grind. Please make sure you reward your team at the milestones and completions of all your big projects.

“A person who makes few mistakes makes little progress.”- Bryant Mcgill

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