Gartner states: “Every innovation program needs well-developed objectives and goals to improve specific innovation ability and leverage innovation capabilities.” This article looks at how you can define and establish these goals and objectives, closely examining the “Composition of a SMART Business Goal” according to Gartner®.
A major reason for innovation program failure is incomplete guidance. Executive leaders are often working with objectives and no goals, or goals and no objectives. Leaders can improve the likelihood of success for innovation initiatives by designing goals that "inform the innovation process on the outcomes of importance leading to focus, give a timeline that enables the right selection of innovation activities and determine the resources and competencies needed for success." Also, "executive leaders should leverage the enterprise strategy to identify key objectives and goals to initiate innovation planning and establish the scope of innovation programs and initiatives.”
According to Gartner, "A thorough understanding of the organization's specific objectives, goals, and strategies is the key first step to informing the selection of innovation activities most likely to yield the best result among the significant space of innovation options."
These goals increase the potential that your innovation efforts have a high business value and impact while mitigating the risks of going in the wrong direction. “Establish innovation performance goals to expand on strengths and to address capability gaps or execution constraints — that is, ensure the innovation program or initiative can deliver the business outcomes needed”.
Gartner further states, "The most effective innovation frameworks and roadmaps begin with clear alignment between strategy-defined objectives and goals." Business strategies indicate the most important choices made by the organization. Therefore, when initiating your innovation plans and establishing their scope, you have to “translate both the business objectives and goals in a compelling way to demonstrate the importance of the innovation effort and define the reasons any given employee/team should participate”.
As per Gartner, ”Business objectives are the key source of guidance to determine the focus and enable the innovation program to be planned and organized.” Depending on the type of innovation approach — top-down or bottom-up — “leaders should make key choices of innovation program design, from the innovation style to the resources.”
Furthermore, Gartner states, "Well-established business objectives and well-organized innovation initiatives will center around the following desired outcomes:
For a well-guided innovation process, Gartner recommends framing your goals using the SMART approach: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound.
The Gartner Composition of a SMART Business Goal (Figure 2) portrays a well-framed goal, illustrated with a practical example. According to Gartner, "Goals that do not include all these elements will likely misguide the innovation process, possibly driving too large a scope or disestablishing the timeline."
Interested in more first-hand recommendations on successful innovation management practices by Gartner? Get your exclusive copy of this Gartner report:
Gartner, Leverage Enterprise Strategy Objectives and Goals to Focus Your Innovation Efforts, Darren Topham, Peter Skyttegaard, Refreshed 4 May 2022, Published 3 December 2020
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