It was science which first faced the dilemma between basic research, without an already existing application, and applicable research which looks for solution for current problems. Moreover, the complete division between these two kinds of researching would remain for several years until private sector started wondering about productivity of research which would lead to develop an E2E perspective of researching process. Therefore, ideas must become applicable at some point to add value while to solve many existing problems organization must develop new ideas and cannot rely only on optimizing existing processes and products. So, Innovation’s current scenario becomes much simpler and clearer if organizations realize that first and foremost these three main factors should be taken into consideration: Ideas, Problems and New Possibilities. Then, connecting the dots between them in an effective and agile way will determine which ideas might be useful to solve existing problems and which in turn could open new possibilities for the organization. However, reduce “time to market” in which an idea can be turned into a solution or a new business for the organization and develop co-creative processes with shareholders, customers and employees will prove to be essential capabilities to accelerate Innovation.

Define Ideas, Problems and New Possibilities

To begin with, organizations must realize that Innovation does not only depend on ideas and that problems’ correct definition and new possibilities clear envisioned play an essential role in Innovation as well. Firstly, to build an ideas pipeline, implicit knowledge within people must be turned into explicit one and this process should transform an idea into a solution. While boosting ideas is not easy for most organization because of mindset and time constrains, getting solutions from ideas face them with an even bigger challenge. Secondly, problems must be well-defined in order to be value added for the Innovation process. Here organizations are confronted with not only cultural and time constraints but quite frequently with missing capabilities in leaders and teams to define correctly a problem. Thirdly, new possibilities with potential transformative effects for the organization must be clearly envisioned in advance to be useful as Innovation drivers. Although building pipelines of ideas, problems and new possibilities require a different skills’ sets, participation should be encouraged across the whole organization and at all levels. On the other hand, pipelines’ consolidation must be centralized within the organization to have an E2E and by LOB approach while searching for cross functional scalability opportunities.

Agile Innovation processes

Even though most organization have embraced Agile as project management framework only a few have successfully started to escalate Agile to bring organizational agility. This is mostly because to scale Agile requires an organizational redesign to end old rigid structures that today are barriers which prevent value from flowing to customers. First and foremost, Agile Innovation processes begin with multiple small ideas all over the organization driven by people for which developing the right mindset and empowering them for innovating is essential. Moreover, people’s innovation “stories” should be followed up and consolidated through Sprints and PIs to not only provide with support transformation of ideas into solutions but also to centralize all the latter in only one pipeline. Moreover, same Agile mindset and processes can be applied to centralize pipelines of well-defined problems and clear envisioned new opportunities. However, once ideas, problems and new possibilities pipelines are centralized to connect the dots organizations needs to adopt an E2E and by LOB approach to ensure adding value for shareholders, customers and employees with Innovation process. Furthermore, a cross functional perspective could allow to identify innovations with high scalability profile, therefore rigidity must be avoided at all cost.

Accelerating Innovation through co-creation

Once the dots have been connected and solutions are assigned whether to solve existing problems or to generate new business for the organization, the “time to market” of innovations must be accelerated by also handling development and deployment in an Agile way. Moreover, at this point and while connecting the dots within Agile organizations Innovation process continues, because the is not such a thing as “freeze” innovations since customers can help to improve them through collaborative and interactive processes. Furthermore, co-creative innovation processes with shareholders, customers and employees will not only accelerate Innovation but also drive continuous improvement process within the organization. In conclusion, structural barriers within current designs must be removed as well as old mindset within leaders and teams in order to develop an Agile Productive Innovation. What is more, organizations can have R&D, BI, CI and many other areas to support Innovation but it would be a terrible mistake to believe that because of having these structures Innovation process will be either more productive or fast-paced. Furthermore, since Innovation is driven by people its acceleration requires developing agile, collaborative and co-creative’s processes to help them “having new eyes” because as Marcel Proust pointed out “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Thanks for Reading.

Marcelo Sauro is an internationally experienced performance and improvement senior manager. He holds an Executive MBA and Master of Science degrees and has helped people and organizations to transform themselves. Not only he led E2E transformations in Global Business Services, R&D, Supply Chain and Finance organizations at all levels within the LATAM and EMEA Regions, but he is also experienced in several industries including Life Science, Healthcare, Insurance, Fintech, Technology, Telecoms, FMCG, Chemicals, Automotive, Energy and Mining. Since 2015, he has been researching and developing content in agile and resilience through Value Ways, while working under contract for customers such as MetLife, Novartis, Vertiv (Emerson NP) and Experian among others. Previously, he worked for more than 7 years as Master Black Belt for a LATAM-based consulting group, which had ASQ, Qualtec and Oriel as business partners. Prior to that, he worked for more than 10 years at BASF and GSK in positions of growing responsibility in the area of Operational Excellence. Marcelo is currently working at Ferring's “International PharmaScience Center” (IPC) for the Global R&D organization in Copenhagen. To find out more please visit

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