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End2End Innovation | Engagement & Collaboration

Your Systematic Framework for Bringing Innovation to Your Team

86% of executives believe a lack of collaboration is responsible for companies not reaching their goals. ​We know innovation and constant redefinition is a way to maintain success and achieve healthy growth. And, this is the responsibility of every team within an organization. Therefore, activities that aim for the exploitation of existing businesses have to be complemented and counterbalanced by exploratory activities. It also means that for any organization, each of your teams needs to identify and work on new business opportunities constantly. This article shows you how.

→ Free Download: The Innovation Playbook

Let us start with an example. The German drugstore chain Rossmann recently published several news articles highlighting its innovative strength in different terrains. Rossmann opened a new logistic center in 2024,  including networked logistics systems, ergonomic workplace design, and the automation of difficult process steps leading to a 20 percent productivity increase. Only a month later, they announced putting their own photovoltaic systems on the roofs of the branches to cover the company's own energy needs on-site. These are two types of innovation, happening simultaneously but with very different connections to their core business. 

How can you follow such an example and ensure that productive innovation is at the core of your team and propels your organization’s success? It is definitely easier said than done. In our daily business, we experience numerous organizations that struggle to find an appropriate balance between improving the core and exploring new opportunities.

The innovation operating model for every team

Although not highlighted commonly, every team in an organization deals with innovation. Some of it might be more incremental than others but, at every team’s core, there is an interest in optimizing working processes, creating greater value, or reducing costs. Nonetheless, there are challenges that every team member has experienced over time:

  • Having a great idea but no way to communicate it 

  • Seeing deficiencies but feeling scared to bring them on the table

  • Missing support to bring an idea into application

  • Having no room besides the jobs to be done to experiment

Successful innovation leaders at companies like KPMG, PostFinance, or KSB have understood those challenges and implemented innovation operating models within their teams to escape them. We have taken their and others’ learnings to formulate the Innovation Operating Model that helps you win through innovation by design. Together with our Innovation Playbook and Performance Assessment, it can be used to set the right focus, develop new competencies systematically, and monitor progress in the most relevant areas of expertise. Five critical components build the foundation to include innovation in any team: 

  • Ambition and innovation scope,
  • Innovation governance and organization,
  • Process design,
  • Execution speed, and
  • Return on Portfolio


ITONICS Innovation Operating Model

Corporate ambition, innovation scope, and innovation strategy

Identifying your team’s innovation scope comes from recognizing the gap to your ambition. Knowing what your organization asks your team to achieve will help you identify your innovation scope. 

Check out our innovation strategy template to support the process.

Innovation governance and innovation organization

Different scopes need different organizational designs. If innovation is not the top priority for your team, you need to organize differently. Most importantly, you have channels in place that allow team members to capture their ideas and formats that allow them to work on their ideas.

Even with limited time, there are great formats, such as hackathons, that keep teams in innovation mode.

Nicholas McQuire from Microsoft on Breaking Silos:

I would highlight specifically our traditional approach to hackathons, which I think is an excellent example of this organizational piece; we go through these at least four times a year, there are dedicated kind of time, space, and resources to focus on innovation across the business, particularly in the engineering side. So the idea is that a week each semester, the teams can go away, and they can think about trying to fix anything that's broken. They can hack together a new product idea, for example, or they can just go and learn something new. That's interesting; that can improve things.

Innovation process, confidence, and speed

Each team has its own process to manage work. To make innovation work, also more innovative ideas need to fit the process. If there are different rules for such activities, they will not find the necessary support.

Check out the SLASH tactics to accelerate your innovation process.

Innovation portfolio returns

Reviewing an innovation portfolio effectively is crucial for organizations to ensure they are investing in opportunities and projects that align with their ambition and have the potential for significant impact. As new evidence is collected constantly, it is important to review the portfolio frequently.

We have compiled these insights and more in our free-to-download Innovation Playbook. The Innovation Playbook comes with the Innovation Operating Mode and discusses each of its components precisely. For each of the components, we provide practical recommendations on how to improve it. It also presents KPIs that you can use to keep track of your innovation performance. You will also learn about the scientific formula of innovation productivity, putting you in the position to win through innovation by design.

We at ITONICS have been consulting innovation leaders and teams across multiple industries, helping them to enable, shape, and grow their innovation management activities. We are ready to assist you in optimizing your innovation operating model.

At ITONICS, we have advised innovation leaders and teams in various industries, helping them to enable, shape, and scale their innovation management activities. We are ready to help you optimize your innovation operating model.