Six Lenses for Innovation
Our own custom blend of audit, advisory, and review to enable innovation within your business.
Success for your R&D and Innovation program requires delivering creative outputs on a commercial footing. However, innovation is not a mysterious process. It is an organisational capability like any other and can be enhanced and developed over time.
The key challenge to improving R&D capability is in the inherent complexity of this type of problem-solving. Innovation is often non-linear, so traditional management techniques designed to establish repeatability and consistency may have a suppressing effect on your ability to creatively deliver new IP to market.
This document outlines the Six Lenses for Innovation, our framework for assessing and improving the process of product development within a business.
Built on the strength of our hands-on experience in the development of commercially successful products, this framework helps to generate a multi-dimensional understanding of your business context. We draw out insights and make recommendations that have the ability to change practice and behaviour to improve development outcomes.
Integrating the Influential Areas
Product development and commercialisation are often erroneously viewed as distinct and separate processes. Successful innovation requires a fully integrated approach to be truly effective — this means applying a broad and concurrent approach, considering all relevant aspects of management, product development and commercialisation at the same time.
The Six Lenses
While each business (and its context) is different, these six areas form a consistent heuristic method for understanding how innovation is operating and what can be done to improve its function.
The Six Lenses are designed to consistently identify the changes that will have the largest impact on the delivery of commercially successful products and services.
A detailed performance rating is given to each of the Six Lenses, which are:
- Case Studies & Constraints
- Customers & Markets
- Commercialisation Process
- Management & Process
- Groups, Teams & Culture
- Creativity & Vision
A detailed performance rating is given to each lens that highlights where strengths lie and recommends where improvement is needed. Each lens has a number of sub-categories that explore particular areas, which are also rated.
The rating system has been designed to be intuitive and easy to read and understand. They provide a useful gauge but should be considered in the full context of recommendations. The ratings relate strongly to the value the recommendation could have on improving innovation outcomes.
A detailed performance rating is given to each of the six lenses, which highlights where the strengths lie and where improvement is needed.
Case studies & constraints
Constraints, expectations, barriers, successes and failures.
Consumers & Markets
Customers, problems or needs, market research, brand and marketing, user research.
Business case, handover and transition, market entry, intellectual property, partnerships and alliances.
Management & process
Processes and approach, gates and milestones, programme management, testing, validation and compliance.
Groups, teams & culture
Group modes, cross pollination, culture, learning and environment.
Creativity & vision
Idea sources, originality, inventiveness, creative power and vision.
Four discrete phases form a logical progression from initial discovery through to ongoing governance and coaching. These phases are:
A rapid assessment of needs and context. Setting focus, exit plan and success measures.
Provisional Exit Plan
INVESTIGATION AND EVALUATION
Detailed understanding of the business through the Six Lenses, score and recommend changes.
Documented Knowledge base
Six Lenses scorecard
Updated action plan for execution
COACHING & IMPLEMENTATION
Embed the new way of working and coach it through to success.
Implement action plans
PARTNERSHIP Optional service.
Ongoing monitoring and guidance as the change programme continues.
Final exit interview
Each project phase is designed to both deliver the right outcomes and to deliver capability development directly into your organisation. At every stage, Locus works with you to provide with opportunities to embed new modes of working and to establish the skills and capabilities that drive effective product development.
The Six Lenses for Innovation
The Six Lenses form the focus areas that ensure all bases are covered when establishing a view on a businesses performance in innovation. While this approach is designed to be responsive to the specifics of your particular business, some of the key queries we’ll consider during the process are summarised here.
Case Studies & Constraints
Understanding your previous and current projects in order to identify common constraints and barriers in the existing process.
- What are the common constraints and problems that exist within prior projects?
- How were expectations established and managed?
- Were unexpected issues affected the process and what impact did they have on the project?
- Are there any identifiable barriers that are represented by the case studies?
- How are success and failure measured?
Customers & Markets
This lens seeks to understand how customers and market information are researched, factored into, and utilised through the product development lifecycle. It also explores the role of brand and marketing and how they are treated within the product development and commercialisation process.
- Are the users and customers clearly understood?
- How is the market research being conducted?
- Is the problem or the need being addressed by the development programme clearly articulated?
- What is the role of brand and marketing and how is this treated within the product development and commercialisation process?
The process of commercialisation is typically complex, involving a wide range of organisations and people, and will largely define the success or failure of most development programmes. This lens seeks to understand the dynamics of commercialisation within the existing R&D programme.
- Is there a business case with milestones established for projects and programmes?
- How is intellectual property approached in product development programmes?
- How are external partners involved in the commercialisation?
Management & Processes
The effective management of the research, development, and commercialisation process is highly influential on R&D outcomes. This lens looks operationally at how projects are created, commissioned, and managed over the course of their lifespan.
- Do the development teams have a ‘learning first’ approach to product development? Is there an orientation to rapidly work and prove ideas during the development process?
- How are programmes planned, resourced, and managed?
- What is the general decision-making process at an executive management level within the company?
- How are new products tested and validated prior to market entry? Are there clear parameters for pass/fail to proceed to market entry?
Groups, Teams & Culture
This lens examines the structure of teams and how they collaborate and interact with each other. It draws a picture of the innovation culture within a business and how this operates across R&D teams and the wider company. We are looking to understand how this impacts the development process.
- How are innovation, project leadership and project champions fostered?
- Are there any opportunities for development staff to learn about innovation and commercialisation?
- How functional is the space where the teams work?
Creativity & Vision
Creativity and vision are central to the ultimate success of the development process. This lens looks at creativity and vision within a business and if they are valued, encouraged and applied within the development context.
- How are ideas captured and are there processes for encouraging ideas to be brought forward?
- Is creativity encouraged? If so, how are people encouraged to be creative with their work and ideas?
- Is vision a part of the development process and the internal culture?
Locus has developed the Six Lenses programme to be flexible to the specific needs of a given customer. By building this flexibility into the approach itself, we have the ability to speak to key influential factors in whatever context we are working.
This is an outworking of the Six Lenses themselves; each subject matter area is designed to provoke the right questions and uncover the right insights that will drive improvement within a customer’s specific context.
The Six Lenses framework is agnostic to the structure, system, processes, and tools that may be best for any given customer in any sector. No two businesses are the same, so changes must be selected on their own merit and unique suitability to the business at hand.
The intimate understanding of the customer developed through the Six Lenses programme provides the insight required to make the appropriate recommendations regarding the selection and implementation of any changes.
This flexibility is built on our experience working with a range of different organisations, of diverse sizes, across divergent industry sectors.