Innovation readiness: what is it and how do you determine it?

Imagine: as an organization you realize that you more innovative and agile must be. Because only in this way can you respond to the changing environment and guarantee long-term continuity. Where do you start?

A reflex of many organizations will be to set up a brainstorm or an ideas competition. The hope is that there is the 'golden idea' here. But how do you recognize that idea? And how do you ensure that it is realized? And did you know that an idea is just a starting point, a mindset? Successful innovations usually do not arise in one step, but are a process of continuous adaptation and learning.

Explanation Innovation Readiness

A better way to start is to see how your organization currently 'scores' in the field of innovation. You then also determine where your ambition level lies.

A simple way to get started today is to use the Innovation Readiness Assessment of strategyzer. You can buy this canvas here .

The Innovation Readiness Assessment consists of a number of statements that you must assess on a 5-point scale for your organization. A score of 5 is the highest possible. The questions are divided into categories. The starting point for determining the ranking is the philosophy of Strategyzer. I will explain these principles per category.

1.Leadership Support

Innovation can only be successful if the management of an organization is 100% behind it. This means that innovation is part of the strategy, and that this innovation strategy also provides direction. In addition, innovation also means that you need people and resources, the resources. Innovation is not something you do on the side, it takes time and effort. Management must ensure that resources are available. Portfolio management is also part of this category. The golden idea is difficult to identify. That is why you have to ensure an innovation pipeline, through which many ideas go through, but also a large number of them drop out along the way.

2. Organizational Design

When separate innovation teams are active, they should not be seen as 'hobby projects', but as fully-fledged initiatives. For this it is necessary that 'innovation' is also given a place in the organizational structure. This does not mean that only one department is innovating. This department's main task is to facilitate and boost innovation for the entire organization.

If innovation teams are working on completely different initiatives than the 'business as usual', there is a risk that the two will no longer be able to find each other. Nevertheless, an innovation team ultimately needs the knowledge and skills of the regular teams to implement their initiative and hang it in the organization. So cooperation between the core teams and innovation teams must also be stimulated in the organizational structure. You can discuss a separate reward system for innovation. I do not interpret these as individual bonuses, but the way in which we make innovation measurable and compare it with the core business. So to what extent are we able to measure how successful innovation is? And we use KPIs that are really suitable for this.

3. Innovation Practice

Then the point we often immediately jump to: implementation. What kind of tools and techniques or processes do we use to achieve innovation? Are people sufficiently trained in this? Strategyzer applies the principle that the highest achievable is that innovation processes are applied that are based on Design Thinking, Lean Startup or Business Modeling.

Innovation Readiness roadmap

How can you proceed? Below our step-by-step plan:

  1. Let different people in your organization determine how they assess the current status by giving them the form and ticking where you are now.
  2. Have them indicate with a different color where they find what the ambition level should be.
  3. Collect all forms (I do this digitally and use Mural for this so that everyone can see the different forms)
  4. Add the various scores together for current and in a different color for ambition and put these scores on 1 form
  5. Discuss the various choices with each other. Go through all the questions one by one. Especially when opinions differ, it is good to pay more attention to this point.
  6. Come to agreement on where you are now and especially where the ambition level should be. This allows you to visually identify where the biggest differences are.
  7. Determine concrete actions now: the innovation readiness assessment shows where the biggest differences can be bridged. It is often useful to be the first to start


It is often useful to have a discussion like this guided by an innovation consultant. It has no judgment on where you are now and whether it is good or bad. But a consultant can explain more about what is meant or help determine where you stand now. The consultant can also help with the development of follow-up actions. Of course we can do this for you!



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