Small innovation often centers on the core business and is therefore inherently not disruptive. Big innovation is a bigger, bolder bet that also has a long-term horizon of paying off in higher value. This type of innovation requires a unique level of vision, engagement, budget and oversight, and should therefore be treated differently.
Renovation, or “small” innovation, might be adding a button on a website or other features to an existing platform, whereas “big” innovation could be redefining healthcare payment processes leveraging blockchain technology, or simply starting a greenfield business, taking a solid idea from concept to completion (see Figure 1).
Two engine approach to healthcare innovation
To increase market share and add value to the organization, innovation leaders must make a shift.
Rather than following one path for all innovations, a two-engine innovation approach can help healthcare organizations achieve their innovation ambitions in the short and long term (see Figure 2).
Accenture research has shown that innovation leaders using these approaches follow an accelerated path that is yielding higher rewards: between 3 and 7 percent annualized revenue lift and a corresponding growth in operating model income with their industry peers.1
All successful innovation requires speed, risk management, measurement, portfolio management and skills, but not all innovations are created equal. Small innovation may be more comfortable, whereas big innovation involves risk, and may push the organization beyond its comfort zone. Thus, approaching each key component differently will allow organizations to achieve greater gains.
Leading companies are achieving success using a two-engine approach. For instance, a large pharmaceutical company established a venture fund to dedicate funding to the pursuit of innovation outside of the business’ core offering, while maintaining focus on incremental innovation among existing product lines.
Gassing up the innovation engine
For the two-engine approach to work, healthcare organizations must commit to innovation, creating specific processes and metrics to support and measure innovation efforts separate from established businesses and products. Adequate funding is critical. Innovation funding should span a portfolio of opportunities—big and small—and include funding for incremental innovation to mediate the risk-averse nature of most healthcare organizations. Last, innovation leaders need clear accountability for commercializing these opportunities.
By taking these steps and fueling innovation through both engines, organizations will not just “think” innovation, but also reap its rewards.
1 Accenture, "Beyond the Product: Rewriting the Innovation Playbook"