One of the benefits for CIMS Sponsors that I am proudest of is the Innovation Management Maturity Assessment (IMMA). This tool has made it relatively easy for managers to plan and measure the impact of their innovation initiatives. Indeed, three CIMS members—Eisai, Pentair Water, Pool & Spa and BASF—have already “institutionalized” it as a central part of their innovation strategies.
Like all innovations, however, there comes a time when a changing environment forces us to rethink our value proposition. That time is now for the IMMA, and my purpose here is to explain some needed revisions to it and the benefits I am confident IMMA 2.0 will bring to users. But first some background:
How the IMMA Began
The CIMS Innovation Management Framework, a.k.a. “the cube,” is a model for managers who want to grow their businesses. Introduced five years ago, its primary purpose is to provide managers with a new and holistic way of thinking about innovation. The cube’s construction of three Levels, five Competencies, and five Dimensions breaks innovation management into only those essential disciplines that organizations need to master (see “Helping the People Engaged in Innovation,” TMR Spring 2006).
In 2007, the Innovation Management Maturity Assessment (IMMA) was added to the Framework. Its purpose was to provide management with a diagnostic tool that would provide them with an accurate assessment of their organization’s present practice of innovation and—depending on their results—with high-level improvement plans. It was meant to be prescriptive because our observation from working with companies was that managers seemed more comfortable managing costs than increasing the capacity of their organizations to innovate (see “How Innovative is Your Company?,” TMR Fall 2007).
In 2009, to make the IMMA easy to administer, a web-based version of the tool was added to the CIMS website. It came complete with demographic information and compelling heat maps showing the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. That same year, the IMMA was made part of CIMS annual membership dues so managers could easily measure the impact of their innovation initiatives—across geographies, business units, functions, and across different positions and age groups.
During this period, the IMMA was featured at several industry conferences, including the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers and the American Coatings Conference. It has been successfully administered to dozens of companies across a wide array of industry sectors. Most recently Eisai, Pentair Pool & Spa, and BASF have made IMMA central to their innovation strategies.
The IMMA was designed primarily for organizations engaged in product, process and service innovation. Now, a new type of innovation is dominating boardroom discussions: business model innovation.
The World Order Is Changing
Due to the hyper-competitive environment created by the emergence of China and India, companies can no longer be satisfied with incremental innovation. Consequently, they are becoming less and less dependent on their R&D departments for new ideas, and, instead, seeking those ideas from outside their firm boundaries—e.g., from their business partners, suppliers, university researchers, and even former competitors—to help create disruptive new business models that create value and are hard to copy.
Furthermore, CIMS believes that companies engaged in business model innovation require new business intelligence capabilities to monitor fast- moving markets and competitors. The major determinants of a firm’s business model will be knowledge of:
-Which mega-trends present both threats and opportunities to an organization?
-Where are new technological advances occurring?
-Which partners to engage in order to exploit opportunities?
Gathering and Disseminating Business Intelligence
Innovation is the only business process that can create long-term competitive advantage and profitable growth. Its mastery is essential for companies desiring to survive in today’s hyper- competitive global markets.
The good news is that innovation can be managed. That is, it can be taught, learned, practiced, measured and improved. And CIMS believes that enlightened business function managers operating through empowered cross-functional teams best enact innovation. The winners will be those firms that are market-oriented, have entrepreneurial leaders, and can create a “culture of innovation”; i.e. they put a premium on novelty, risk- taking, and possess timely and relevant business intelligence.
However, this can pose a daunting challenge for these teams because of the speed and volume of data being created every day in the form of web pages, blogs, wikis, etc. It is estimated that over 15 petabytes of data are being added to the worldwide web daily. Furthermore, 80 percent of new data growth is unstructured content, i.e., email, blogs, web pages, white papers, images, video, and audio. In fact, the Internet is now estimated to contain over 900 exabytes of data!
CIMS believes that those organizations that harness the meaning and power of these massive amounts of data will possess a distinct competitive advantage over those that do not.
This represents a change in today’s paradigm where business intelligence is driven—and owned—by select groups of people working on senior- management-driven initiatives.
By combining resources in the fields of unstructured data mining, cloud computing, business analytics, and massive data mash-up, CIMS is helping these firms to claim the leading edge of business model innovation (see “Chasing Smarter Clouds” and “CIMS- IBM Cloud Partnership Turns Data Into Intelligence,” TMR Winter 2010-11).
Updating and ‘Stretching’ the IMMA
For these and other reasons, the IMMA needs updating. And, as professors Steve Markham and Richard Kouri who helped me update the IMMA say, it needs stretching. What were the leading practices (Leveraged and Optimized levels of maturity) in 2006 now tend to be the average (Managed) level of practice in companies today.
IMMA 2.0 will need to support companies—and innovation management practices—moving at “Internet speed.” To illustrate this, look at Figure 1. From our investigations with companies into business model innovation, weadded the practices in red to Leveraged and Optimized maturity levels of the IMMA. They act as objectives for any firm seeking to redesign its business model.
Similarly, look at Figure 2. From our research and development of advanced business analytics techniques with IBM, we added new “business intelligence” practices to Managed and Leveraged maturity levels of the IMMA. In this case, these advances are occurring so quickly and, given the fact that using this new business intelligence should precede actual business model redesign, we added these practices at the Managed level of maturity.
Stretch Objectives and Roadmaps
Organizations need stretch objectives. Organizations also need roadmaps for how to achieve these objectives. Hopefully, IMMA 2.0 will provide an up-to-date and lasting answer to both.
As I write this article, IMMA 2.0 is being tested with CIMS member companies. The final tool will be presented and discussed at the Spring 2011 CIMS Sponsors Meeting, April 12-14 in Raleigh, NC. However, if you are unable to attend and feel this tool may help your organizations better navigate the information age, please don’t hesitate to contact me at paul_mugge@ncsu. com.