“So many wants what so few have.”

 Part 3:
Jac Spies, Chief Advisor at Praesignis discusses innovation investments, why they fail, and how to beat innovation failures – in this 3-part insight series

Innovation is the process of creating new ideas and turning them into new business and social value.

Jac Spies - Chief Advisor

Jac Spies – Chief Advisor

Strategic Intent

The most successful innovators are those who begin from a strategic perspective. They are  thinking broadly about their goals and the key trends in society and technology, to define their strategic intent.

The lifespan of companies is decreasing as the rate of change increases, and, not all types of innovation are equally valuable. Innovation today is an absolute requirement for survival.

Future Shifts

Superimposing the current state of the business and its products and services onto the Evolution Patterns. The Technology Evolution and the Business Evolution Trends as discovered by Genrich Altshuller, in the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ), [1]one can derive the next evolution shift that are required for future survival and growth.


The innovation teams[1], consisting of an Innovation Leader, an Innovation Champion, and Innovation Geniuses.  Each with specific responsibilities, attributes, knowledge, and skills on how to apply structured innovation methodologies. As well as tools to look for potential opportunities within the:

  • Emerging technologies;
  • Scientific breakthroughs;
  • Culture changes;
  • Population changes; and the
  • Effects of climate change.

Innovation Portfolios

Models of risk and reward as it pertains to innovation get translated into innovation portfolios. To manage the innovation investments that are reliant on the level of innovation as depicted in table 1 below.

Incremental improvement inside organisation Significant improvement in same industry Innovation outside the paradigm Radical innovation
1 2 3 4
Low risk organic growth Opportunity innovation Disruptive new technologies Radical new ventures and business models
Incremental improvement within the trade/specialty Innovation resolving a new ‘job to be done’ using knowledge from different industries Disruptive innovation using knowledge and new technologies from different industries in different markets Breakthrough solutions based on new knowledge of different fields of technology and science from different industries, markets, and social behaviours.

Table 1 – The Four Levels of Innovation

Inventive Solutions

Inventive solutions are developed by appointed innovation teams to apply specific structured innovation methodologies and tools.

All inventive solutions are then submitted to rigorous evaluations by a different set of tools to convert the possible solutions into viable innovations that has commercial value for the users and supplier.

Align Innovation to Markets

The innovation teams and the marketing experts then align the viable innovations to different markets, depending on the characteristics and level of the specific innovation.

Monitor & Optimise

Feedback from the market place is evaluated by the innovation teams to optimise the new products and services necessary for customer satisfaction.

More details on this process can be obtained from Jac Spies at jac.spies@praesignis.com or at 082 903 6006.

[1] Source: The Praesignis Industry Faculty on the Management of Innovation at the Da Vinci Institute[2] Langdon Morris (2001). Permanent Innovation. Innovation Academy (USA)[3] Zlotin& Zusman (2006). Ideation International. www.ideationtriz.com










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