How to Create an Innovation Framework

All ideas and opinions are Matteo’s own and do not express the views or opinions of his employer.

With multiple moving pieces, people, and processes, creating innovation at the corporate level can be challenging. In this episode of Venture unscripted., Josh Barker, CEO of City Innovations, sat down with Matteo Dariol, the Lead Innovation Strategist at Bosch Rexroth to chat about how Bosch has been able to create an innovation framework that inspires employees and tips on how to incorporate innovation at your organization.

Click here to listen to the podcast or keep scrolling to read the podcast recap blog.

Bosch’s Innovation Framework

Throughout the company, Bosch provides multiple opportunities for its employees to cultivate and expand on new business ideas.

“We have a program called innovation framework. And as the name suggests, [it] is a series of workshops where everybody within their organization can come up with an idea at the beginning and come out with something close to a product or an MVP,” Matteo explained.

Overall, this innovation framework consists of four different workshops where experts within the company will guide you through different techniques of understanding if an idea is worthy to be developed or not. 

The four workshops include:

  1. An angel round where experts from different divisions within Bosch will listen to an employee’s pitch. Essentially, the employees ask for a budget to develop an MVP.
  2. After the pitch, employee’s have time (about 3-5 months) to develop their MVP with the budget they received. 
  3. Once the MVP is finished, employees have a more concrete structure of the idea they created. They then move into getting ready to show it.
  4. Finally, the last portion of the process consists of pitching their idea in front of Bosch’s North American President.

Throughout their innovation framework workshops, they take a systematic approach to determining if ideas have a good product-market fit, enabling them to weed through those ideas that do not show adequate fit in the market. 

Bosch also encourages and supports well-rounded employees outside of the office, sometimes even funding startup ideas.

“I believe that everybody should spend some time outside [their] comfort zone learning new things, talking to people that are not really in this industry so that ideas can arise from that exchange,” said Matteo.

“I’m actually exposed to a lot of very smart and interesting people and I’m always joking with everybody — if I were to stay back in my office, I never would’ve had the chance to meet them,” he continued.

How Bosch Instills a Culture of Innovation 

Often, creating a culture of innovation means embracing failure. Some people shy away from failure, but Bosch leans into the approach throughout their culture. 

“Bosch is deeply a German company with a great culture — [I] love everything about it. But in Germany and in Europe, we tend to think that failure is something bad. So we want to stay away from it. We are, as I say, more theoretical people. We try to design a hundred times and then do it right the first time.” 

However, they found that an entrepreneurial, pragmatic approach is something that their company is truly embracing for the better.

“This entrepreneurial approach — it’s more [of] a pragmatic American approach — [It’s one] where you do [something] a hundred times and you learn along the way, and then eventually you will do it right. It is a push that has come later in the last couple of decades. Thanks to this program, now it’s spreading through the whole organization and any level and any region. So we are truly embracing it,” explained Matteo. 

Advice for Implementing an Innovation Frameworks in Your Company

When it comes to implementing innovation frameworks, Matteo urges companies to realize these five things: 

  1. You don’t need a large Research and Development team to innovate — start with the resources and people that you have first. 
  2. You need to realize that there is a very high dropout rate. Not all of the ideas are going to make it though. 
  3. You need to find the right market fit. Go out, listen to your customers, and talk to real people to better understand their wants and needs.
  4. You need to make sure to measure everything. Otherwise, you never know where you are and even know what you need to improve.
  5. Be curious and learn different things. Instead of focusing on your area of expertise, get out of your comfort zone and embrace creativity along the way. 

“Start slow, put together a team of people, don’t waste a lot of money, but empower them into really scoping out and looking for those ideas. And then if they’re talking about something really concrete that has potential, this idea will make it through, they will pivot along the way,” stated Matteo.

Continue Listening

Want to learn more about creating an innovation framework? Click here to listen to the full podcast. 

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This podcast was originally recorded in June 2019. 

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