Innovation Vehicle

/ˌɪn.əˈveɪ.ʃən ˈviː.ə.kəl/

An entity or program in an organization's innovation support infrastructure (innovation system) which removes innovation barriers and helps innovation teams get certain jobs done. The jobs of the vehicles are often related to a certain phase in a product, service, or technology innovation life cycle.

Typical examples for innovation vehicles and their high-level jobs are: Kickbox programs for early ideation and validation (JTBD: help individual innovators or teams to ask themselves the right questions before they are allowed to enter the pipeline); innovation labs for incubation and pre-acceleration (JTBD: support and accelerate teams in finding problem-solution/product-market fit while giving them methodological and team dynamics support); accelerators (JTBD: help them validate the details of their business model and find their growth engine with mentoring and coaching); catalyst networks for coaching support along the way (JTBD: method support and help in navigating the organization and validating strategy-fit to the inside); etc.

Interlinked innovation vehicles with clear mandates are the building blocks of a coherent innovation system. In practice, this works well at only a few vanguard organizations with strong innovation leadership and mature innovation practice. In most of the organizations that we have observed and worked with over recent years, the vehicles work against each other or their JTBD has nothing to do with innovation.