Everyone knows that failure is part of the DNA of innovation. Companies that consistently innovate fail frequently, but they quickly turn their failures into relevant insights and marketable concepts. These high performers constantly improve, pulling out far ahead. The insights they gain from their careful experiments continue to yield value months and years ahead.

They act strategically and proactively, and are organized to learn, both from their own mistakes and the market.

As converging technology stacks mature, these highly structured innovators are positioned to capture the lion’s share of productivity gains and market share, while more incremental innovators will have to work harder just to create the same results.

In contrast, the tendency of innovation culture is to amplify its successes. Because structured innovators understand why and how they are succeeding, they are able to quickly double down on winners while minimizing risks.

They fail fast, fail cheap, fail smart and fail often.

They have a framework for learning.

If you don’t have a framework you can’t cope with uncertainty. You can’t learn. You don’t know where you are and you don’t know where you can go.

This is a pretty difficult situation to be in.

The differences between these styles and their outcomes is creating an innovation divide that will be increasingly hard to cross in the years ahead. Companies who do not have a structured program of innovation will be more at the mercy of forces beyond their control.

Either innovation happens to you, or you happen to innovation.

How are Innovators organized?

Our own research, published in IEEE, has confirmed that high performers are more structured, more methodical and that they establish strong linkages between all three horizon of business development. They tie their strategy into key competencies and ruthlessly assess their culture and operations.

They are able to develop and maintain talent. They practice agile leadership (deploying multiple leadership styles simultaneously) and use multiple strategies.

We were able to prove this by analyzing data from our innovation management analytics tool.  Dr. Soo Beng Khoh and I published our findings jointly in an IEEE paper presented late last year, Cultivating growth and radical innovation success in the fourth industrial revolution.

We found that radical innovators are more structured and better at linking organizational strategy with capabilities, an approach highly correlated to better financial performance. Those qualities have given radical innovators the edge, evidenced by the fact that they are statistically more capable at decision-making than their incremental innovating peers.

They are overall more capable, at both radical and incremental innovation.

Radical innovators unlock value not just within their organization, but externally as well, and in smart collaborations. They create new markets, enhance productivity and completely reinvent the way things are done.

If you want to make change on this scale, though, you’d better get organized.

How organized are you? You can test your organization’s innovation readiness by taking the innoSurvey®, a free, automated online assessment that can give you a full picture of your organization’s preparedness for innovation. You will receive a 40-page report showing how well organized you are, how well you practice agile leadership, and where your strongest capabilities for innovation are. You can see where you need to fill gaps, remove blockages, or strengthen linkages to unlock new value.

Click here to test InnoSurvey for free