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Organisational Innovation: Five Stages of Thinking For Good Businesses

by David Burkett, May 04, 2016

The way we do business is always changing. Gone are the days of "big eat small" rather it is now the "fast beats the slow". The most successful businesses will always look for ways to get the edge over their competitors and we at Working Mouse are no different. Recently I was given the opportunity to attend a seminar titled Practical Innovation and Technology Commercialisation Solutions held by Innovation Queensland. While I gained many insights and got to interact with many other professionals in the industry I was particularly impressed by their ideas of organisational innovation and how many businesses behave in regards to approaching it, for good or for worse. 

Innovators and Adopters: The organisational approach to innovation

Consider the following table which represents the types of organisational response to an important technological innovation.

To be at the peak of innovation, a business needs to understand the categories of adopters. For business innovation to succeed, the company should ideally target either early adopters or majority adopters. At these stages enough time has passed to better judge the potential benefit and associated risks of the innovation product while still reaping a sizeable portion of the rewards. This risk vs reward can be presented on a chart.


Expanding your thinking: Five stage vs Three Stage Thought Process

Perhaps the key takeaway from the session was the approach to incorporating and growing innovation projects. Innovation QLD concluded that projects could be broken into five key stages with each one representing a crucial point on the path to achieving a successful ideas boom.


The above diagram is a representation of an effective and innovative thought process. When a potentially beneficial idea is realised, it is first defined, having all its constructs and features laid out. From here the best of these are nitpicked and expanded further in the discovery phase. Only once this has been done are these ideas put into practice in the development phases. Innovation QLD went on to explain however that currently many organisations only apply a three stage thought process bypassing both the define and discovery stages.


Often, businesses will blame this on time constraints or incorrect processes which are only excuses for lack of planning. Successful businesses will make time for these stages as they are fully aware that failing to plan is planning to fail. When we apply a five stage thought process, ideas are clearly defined, outlining a wide variety of dimensions of application several that maybe have been fully imagined without this research. We at WorkingMouse have since taken this ideology in our stride, aiming to make it the backbone of our software innovation. Innovation is a forever evolving concept requiring us to stay on our feet at all times, ready to find and grasp the next opportunity to push us further ahead of the competition.