In the previous section we looked at the implementation of the Innovation Elements. With observation we are trying to figure out how to improve the Innovation Element in practice. As generals often say, no plan survives first contact with the enemy, and the same is true with innovation. This is why observation is so important. It allows you to identify where improvements can be made. This is what I call refining and we will see in the next section.
The approach to observation will depend on the size and scale of the Innovation Initiative and the number of Innovation Elements being implemented. For small scale initiatives, perhaps a follow up report will be sufficient, while for a large organization wide initiative, observation may take the form of frequent meetings and surveys.
It is important to organize observation as much as possible, with inputs and timelines communicated to those that will be doing the observing. For example providing a uniform feedback form and a deadline for submission to all those affected by an Innovation Element will allow quicker review and refinement of the Element. For some simply providing an email address for all issues related to the specific element or initiative will be sufficient.
As observation takes place specific issues need to be grouped and addressed. Those issues that come up time and time again often prove to be the biggest roadblocks to a successful Implementation stage. These are the ones that organizational leaders will hear about frequently. Observation and the awareness that results from it will allow you and the innovation team to address these issues early, before they drown out the benefits that emerge from the Innovation Initiative or Element.
In the next section we are going to look at how how to refine the Innovation Element/s based on what we have learned during observation.