Innovation is investing in new ideas, and that comes with a risk as new ideas always require knowledge gaps to be filled and it is never certain if this will be successful. Many companies have something like “achieving innovation excellence” in their mission; but what is excellent innovation? Innovation with no risk at all equals no innovation.
The leanPD answer to this question makes more sense: innovation excellence is achieved when the company is able to discern quickly those ideas that can be successful from those that won’t, without spending loads of money.
There are two important aspects to this:

  1. The company should be able to create, capture and reuse knowledge effectively and efficiently: it should have a knowledge value stream that is continuously improved
  2. The company should put as much as possible learning in the early phase of projects. At this point, when playing it smart, the company can maximize learning while costs are still low, such that the most promising ideas will surface easily.