November 2022

3 Steps to Circumvent the Data Shortage Dilemma

Innovative companies rely on data to manage initiatives and create opportunities. But what if the necessary data are not yet available?

© Robert Kneschke/Adobe Stock

Innovation is a key element of a successful corporate strategy. Be it for product innovation, business model or process innovation – many organizations have long abandoned the approach of chaotic brainstorming sessions for a dedicated innovation management system. As with KPIs for their operational business, innovative companies tend to rely on viable data when it comes to mapping out future initiatives. This can be aided by digital innovation management tools, so that executives can calculate potentials for a wide variety of options and scenarios.

Too early for data? Too late for the competition?

While this reliance on data ensures risk mitigation, it can also lead to a dilemma: In the early stages of an innovation initiative, teams and researchers need to find answers to different challenges, for which the required data are often not publicly available. However, by the time those crucial data are publicly available, it might be too late to act since the competition has already has a successful solutions on ready for release. Hence, the opportunity has gone.

To circumvent this data shortage dilemma, many innovative companies employ a three-step approach, that has also proven effective in many successful projects that we accompanied in the last years.

1. Set the cultural fundament

By lowering the threshold of „proof & know“, you can start a cultural change towards making your team feeling comfortable with uncertainty. This also can contribute to a more trustful atmosphere within the organization, which has been proven as being beneficial for innovation, for example by Prof. Ken Dovey in his study “The Role of Trust in Innovation”.  

2. Set the operational fundament

Generate your own data and make progress with little step after little step. This means that rather than investing much time and effort in creating a viable solution for every single element of the new product or business model, you cut down To Do‘s in smaller tasks and check each contribution and value added to the overall task.

3. Set the strategic fundament

In economically hard times, users tend to apply new solutions or accept new business models only when they create a clear, measurably value for them and pay back in the foreseeable future without significant risk. Therefore, you should modify and realign your innovation portfolio with this in mind: Strengthen those projects that help to easily understand the usage of your new solutions or the application of your new business model. If possible, sell it with the argument of immediate cost and resource reduction. The good thing here: The necessary data can easily be created internally.

If you want to dive deeper in the possibilities on how to employ data analysis for a successful innovation program, and how to circumvent the data shortage dilemma, then don’t hesitate to sign up for our free online event Success Through Digitized Strategy: Innovation Management on November 30. Get in touch with leading experts in the field of corporate strategy and innovation research, and learn how a digitized approach to innovation can help to transform creative ideas into initiatives that create sustainable value and ensure long-term success.

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