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Innovation Strategy | Environmental Scanning

4 Ways Environmental Scanning Helps You Design Your Innovation Playground

4 Ways Environmental Scanning Helps You Design Your Innovation Playground

Innovation strategies have evolved from a nice-to-have to an imperative for businesses.

New players entering an industry, changing consumer tastes, or political movements necessitate that companies have one eye on the present and another on how future scenarios may play out. This way, businesses understand potential disruptive changes and are ready to respond to them.

An innovation model should cover all aspects from strategy to execution, and the innovation blueprint should empower an organization to have a single point of truth for all their innovation activities. This allows innovation architects to clearly define goals, see which stakeholders are needed, and create a structured approach to the innovation journey.

In this article, we take a closer look at why environmental scanning is a key consideration for any organization that takes innovation seriously. By reiterating its importance as a critical starting point to developing a company’s foresight & strategy capabilities, we look at how environmental scanning matters, and what capabilities are needed to effectively understand - and respond to - your changing business landscape. 

The Innovation Big Picture

Environmental scanning is a crucial component of innovation and is positioned under Where to Play within the ITONICS Innovation Big Picture. This view considers three strategic areas and critical phases of innovation: Where to Play, How to Win, and What to Execute. Within this framework, each step is vital to sustainable innovation performance.

The first element - "Where to Play," is a critical component of developing foresight and strategy through realistic scenario planning. By understanding emerging players in one’s field, shifts in other business environments, and competitor behavior, businesses can anticipate forces of change and determine which opportunity areas they can target with the most efficacy. 

  1. Where to Play: Understanding trends and emerging technologies to discover and define growth opportunities. 
  2. How to Win: Nurturing the right corporate environment to solve specific challenges and create viable concepts.
  3. What to Execute: Executing a balanced innovation portfolio and bringing innovation initiatives to life.

ITONICS Big Picture: End2End Innovation Process
Big Picture: ITONICS End2End Innovation Process

Having the capacity to scan the core and peripheral landscape consistently comprehensively develops foresight and strategy during the Where to Play phases. By understanding emerging players in one’s field, shifts in other business environments, and competitor behavior, businesses can anticipate forces of change and determine which opportunity areas they can target with the most efficacy.

4 Reasons why Environmental Scanning is Vital to Your Innovation Journey

    1. Environmental scanning is a sense-making activity.

      The scanning process helps businesses take masses of information and sift through data such that only what is relevant to one’s business objectives remains. Environmental scanning helps organizations detect the most pertinent signals to their business needs, thereby identifying actionable opportunity spaces.

    2. Environmental scanning helps build a solid and sustainable knowledge base.

      Environmental scanning pushes companies to develop the habit of consistent landscape and situational analysis. At ITONICS we have built a knowledge management system as part of our innovation software, that merges the expertise of different sources, collecting weak signals and connecting these signals to one another. Building a database of rigorous market research is imperative to creating strategy and foresight capabilities rooted in the latest industry trends.

       

    3. Environmental scanning allows for more precise signals and more explicit strategic focus.

      By developing a deep understanding of the impacts of the different signals, environmental scanning helps businesses determine the implications of these signals to their strategic direction, thereby sharpening their focus. An effective environmental scan prods companies to ask questions such as “What projects should be stopped?” or “Are there any start-ups that we could acquire to drive our strategic objectives?” This clarity empowers organizations to develop innovation roadmaps that reflect external industry phenomena as well as internal capabilities.

    4. Environmental scanning empowers leaders to take decisive action.

      Environmental scanning enables leadership to effectively respond to changes in the marketplace, leading the charge from a place of confidence instead of uncertainty. The benefits of a thorough environmental scan do not end here; having a defined picture of the future, clear strategic goals, and a well-communicated innovation roadmap can galvanize everyone from the C-Suite Executive to the intern. The Cisco Innovate Everywhere Challenge, supported by the ITONICS platform, is a prime example of how building foresight and innovation capabilities can empower everyone in the organization to participate in the innovation process.

Free Download: How to use ITONICS Insights to kickstart your Innovation Journey


Building Your Environmental Scanning Capacity with ITONICS Insights

ITONICS Insights optimizes the environmental scanning process by using natural language processing (NLP) technology to scan millions of verified sources, enabling innovation teams to detect weak signals easier and quicker. Filtering and data visualization functionality support moving through large amounts of data to relevant insights and relieves innovation departments of the strenuous, time-consuming process of manual data mining and instead empowers innovation practitioners to prioritize what they do best: find the magic.

Here’s a three-step approach that teams can use to augment their Environmental Scanning ability better:

Building Environmental Scanning Capacities

  • Develop clear scanning anchors: These are the key issues that will inform your data gathering and market research process. The scanning anchors you use will ultimately inform your strategic plan and need to be clearly understood by all stakeholders participating in the strategy and foresight development process.

  • Develop clear scanning anchors: These are the key issues that will inform your data gathering and market research process. The scanning anchors you use will ultimately inform your strategic plan and need to be clearly understood by all stakeholders participating in the strategy and foresight development process.

  • Harness the power of collective buy-in: Innovation teams must not work in silos. Inviting other employees from the beginning is vital to avoid missing critical perspectives or phenomena in the embryonic stage of your innovation journey.
Learn how and for which use cases ITONICS Insights can be used to enhance your environmental scanning process - Download the How-to Guide.

Free Download: Environmental Scanning with ITONICS Insights


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The ITONICS Innovation Software helps organizations to take their innovation management to the next level. If you want to learn more, visit our product overview or get a free trial of our software.