If a team has produced such results, it qualifies for the next round of funding, a quasi-Series B round. If not, the project is stopped. This approach has allowed funding of riskier projects by making it easier to “fail fast and cheap” while generating insights from failed experiments.
In the subsequent year, based on lessons learned, modifications are made to the specific objectives and areas of technologies that push innovations explore.
PRINCIPLE 3: DEEPEN ENGAGEMENT TO COORDINATE INTERDEPENDENCIES
One of the toughest challenges for today’s companies is to coordinate interactions across their growing and increasingly diverse portfolio of innovations. When companies do not coordinate these interactions, they put their operations and customer experience at risk. By coordinating interactions well, companies achieve significant synergies; the total impact of the company’s innovations when coordinated is greater than their individual returns summed.
Companies learning to realize synergies are involving in the innovation process stakeholder groups that will be affected by an innovation and its interactions with other innovations, both existing and anticipated.
Deep engagement ensures that those with a stake in the outcome are involved throughout the innovation process and that they share responsibilities for both the success of individual innovations and for synergies across them. With the right stakeholders actively collaborating throughout the innovation process, the team can more efficiently explore more facets of a problem and solutions, including interdependencies within and across innovations. Consequently, those involved are more capable of selecting and developing innovations with greater relevance and impact.
DT has introduced a number of changes to broaden and deepen engagement of business leaders, board members, and partners in the company’s innovation efforts. For instance, the company has mandated that innovation projects be led by a cross-functional team comprising three senior-level managers, one from a central corporate unit responsible for evangelizing push innovations and two from a business segment responsible for market aspects. All three are accountable for developing insights from experiments and recommending next steps based on prior results.
In another example, company executives and board mem- bers have become more involved in managing DT’s portfolio of innovation projects. In January 2017, a Board of Management department called Technology and Innovation was created—overseen by board member Claudia Nemat—that incorporated the central unit responsible for push innovations. The department united those working on technology, IT, networks, and innovation in one group. One executive stated that this has resulted in fewer silos and more synergies based on common targets. In addition, throughout 2017 Nemat served as a permanent host on the Investment Committee, deepening the role of the Board of Management in innovation at DT and ensuring that the board would help to create better conditions for developing 4+1 projects.
TEST AND LEARN TO ENHANCE COMPETITIVENESS
The new innovation approach at DT has assured leaders of their ability to drive and track strategic benefits from digital innovation. As a result, by the end of 2017 the Board of Management had planned to increase the budget for its 4+1 innovation areas by 40%.
Figure 1 summarizes these three principles for building test- and-learn capabilities in support of a strategic digital innovation portfolio. Initially, test and learn leads to better results on individual projects. Ultimately, a test-and-learn culture makes a company adaptable. We expect that test and learn will distinguish those companies consistently able to see and respond to the business opportunities and challenges that rapidly changing digital technologies present.