Innovation Ambition Matrix

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Innovation Ambition Matrix was inspired by the May 2012 Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Your Innovation Portfolio,”  written by Monitor’s revolutionary co-partners: Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff.

Timing: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • Online access

Players (5..8 recommended):

  • Product Manager / Product Owner
  • Development Team

Directions:
Play Innovation Ambition Matrix to clarify the ambition of a project, develop a cohesive operation rather than a scattering of competing advancements, and identify how to balance your team’s effort allocation.

Clicking on this image will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com. In the game, this image is used as the “game board.” The axes of the matrix are labeled as follows:

  • X-axis: “How to Win.” This is designated for the novelty of the product that you are offering to customers. Are you using existing, adding incremental, or developing new products?
  • Y-axis: “Where to Play.” This measures the novelty of your customers. Will the innovation serve an existing, enter an adjacent, or create a new market?

The chart is divided into three three levels of innovation ambition.

  • Core (closest to origin): optimize your current products for current customers (ex. make faster technology)
  • Adjacent: add a new feature to your existing business (ex. create an app version of your website)
  • Transformational: create breakthroughs for markets that do not currently exist

There is a light bulb icon in the top left corner of the game board, representing the initiatives players are taking and the ideas they have about future accomplishments. Simply drag the light bulbs to the matrix and describe what they represent.

Players can edit the placement and description of each light bulb, which the team can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to gain a better understanding of each move. The results will be organized in a spreadsheet to maximize the benefits of the game.

Key Points:
A company’s survival depends on its ability to innovate and advance. However, ideas to do so often become diluted by poor management strategies. This leaves your team with a chaotic scattering of competing attempts rather than a unified innovation effort. By identifying how to allocate innovation activity, teams can strike and maintain their unique balance required for sustainable growth. Innovation Ambition Matrix helps identify this core:adjacent:transformational ratio, which enhances a team’s understanding of where to put efforts and how to unify endeavors. Also, the game helps managers survey the initiatives of their team and provides a chance to discuss the overall ambition of a project.

To learn more about Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff, and the importance of a balanced innovation profile, click here.

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