Alcimed – Innovation strategy and challenges for companies [article ACI, Géraldine Börtlein]

Published on 31 March 2020 Read 25 min

Géradline Börtlein, co-founder of Alcimed and Vice-President of the Association of innovation consulting firms (ACI: Association des Conseils en Innovation), presents the concept of innovation strategy and its challenges for innovative companies.

Innovation Strategy

Why an innovation strategy?

When we ask about a company’s innovation strategy, we are often told about:

– The launch of a great ideation process, sometimes with the purchase of a 3D printer…
– A collection of trendy best practices
– A swarm of projects launched “autonomously” in the Business Units
– A considerable investment in R&D

As you have understood, we are told about initiatives that cannot be condemned, although they lack effectiveness, consume precious budgets for an effect that does not always deliver expectations. Due to a lack of a broader vision, a lack of coherence, the disarticulation of initiatives or a lack of communication or follow-up, many major innovation projects end up disappointing and sometimes relegating innovation to the background.

What a waste! If innovation processes are sometimes seen as toys we can’t afford, it’s because we’ve forgotten the essential: an innovation strategy to structure these processes in line with our clients but also with ourselves. In particular, our objectives, our values, our clients and our particular capabilities are the main things that have been forgotten in innovation strategies.

What is an innovation strategy?

From the many definitions of an innovation strategy, we can retain these few points:

– This strategy must be in line with the company’s strategy and values, and focus on building competitive advantages and value creation.
– This strategy must involve simultaneous and synergistic changes to the company’s value proposition and business model.
– This strategy must make it possible to define objectives that are widely shared within the company, highlighting the benefits and justifying the resources committed.
– This strategy must be known and shared in its elements: objectives, roles, responsibilities, and allocated resources as well as specific structures: support, processes, etc.
– This strategy must be self-learning in order to evolve according to its successes as well as its failures.

The innovation strategy is therefore not an additional strategy: it is the assurance that innovation projects are consistent with the company’s strategy, values and DNA.

How to build it?

Start from your business strategy: your innovation strategy must be at its service.
Define your value proposition, and how it will be differentiating, based on the synthesis of your ability to push technologies, your customers’ expectations and a market anticipation in the longer term.
Summarize your assets and define objectives and performance indicators for each of them: your corporate culture and values, your R&D, your know-how and skills, your commercial links and your mastery of sales channels.
Put in place innovation tools in line with the priorities identified.


To know more, read the article from the Association of Innovation Consulting firms here


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