Assessing Innovation Readiness
Unfortunately, some organizations tend to devalue upfront planning and analysis, opting for the ever-popular but oh so short-sighted "ready, fire, aim" approach. I'm not suggesting that organizations strive for perfection as they plan for and implement their Innovation Systems. Quite the contrary. But there is a balance to strike and that "right balance" includes a Readiness Assessment.
Assessing Organizational Readiness - Start Somewhere
Similar to my Assessing Innovation Impacts recommendations, I'd suggest that you use a simple tool that is designed to engage your organization in the critical thinking and rich discussions required in order to determine the degree to which you're prepared to take on Innovation System planning, design, development, operationalization and sustainability.
Ready to Assess?
Follow the guidelines in the Innovation Readiness Assessment
The Even Tougher Part — Mitigating Your Readiness Issues & Showstoppers
Now that you've identified your low, medium and high readiness levels, it's time to document potential issues and showstoppers plus your mitigation strategies. Similar to my Impact Mitigation Strategy recommendations, don't skip this part! I "get" that anticipating obstacles can be an incredibly painful exercise for all involved, but this critical step will help you avoid false starts, failed attempts, cost overruns and potentially permanent credibility damage. Here's a simple "getting started" form that you can use. For each low and medium readiness level identified in your Innovation Readiness Assessment:
Step 1: Identify all potential issues and showstoppers
Step 2: For each potential issue and showstopper, outline your mitigation strategy.
The Last Piece of Advice
When you create your Innovation System Project Plan (I highly recommend that you create and follow a plan), translate all of your mitigations into Project Plan line items (tasks) to ensure that you have all of your bases covered and that your upfront critical thinking work doesn't inadvertently slip through the cracks.