What is an Innovation Roadmap, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Innovation Roadmap
An Innovation Roadmap is a visual depiction of the steps to be taken to achieve a strategic goal driven by innovation. As a strategic tool, and Innovation Roadmap lays out the specific actions that should be implemented over time to create new products, services, or business models. An Innovation Roadmap allows your team to plan how and when to communicate each step of the innovation process to other relevant stakeholders in the organization. The tool is valuable because its simple graphic nature clearly outlines the goals of the innovation process, is easily conveyed to others, and orients those involved in the innovation process to create alignment and accelerate execution.
Description of Innovation Roadmap
Creating an Innovation Roadmap consists of several steps including:
Determine innovation goals. This first step provides focus for the entire roadmap. Consider if the overall aim is to improve technologies, products, processes, markets etc. in the organization, how long your team would like the process to take and what role every member will play in each step.
Identify barriers and enablers. Within the broader category, identify what issues are most likely to impede the success of the organization in this area in the future. This step can be accomplished with careful research on current trends, technology or the consumer market, workshops, SWOT analyses, competency modeling, etc.
Identify success criteria. Because your team has already identified the broad objective, in this stage you will have a more realistic sense of how long it will take to reach that particular goal, which issues are the most pressing, what key personnel will need to support the initiative, and measurements of success. Identifying success metrics is important so you can assess and measure progress.
Gain leadership alignment. Once the foundation is in place, it is essential to obtain approval and buy-in from top management. Top executives will be critical in actually implementing the innovation plan. Therefore, obtaining support is vital to ensuring successful execution of the roadmap.
Build the visual roadmap. Creating a visual roadmap that lays out various phases, roles, and strategies for implementation is essential for effective communication.
Communicate and share the roadmap. In addition to gaining the support of top management, in order to ensure successfully implementation, as many employees as possible should be involved in the process. Therefore, the roadmap should be presented to others in a way that reveals the goals, roles, and desired future state of any changes that will occur as part of the implementation.
Align Roadmap to Business Strategy. Incorporate the innovation roadmap into the larger strategic goals of the organization. Ensure that each important idea and goal on the innovation roadmap reflects the overall portfolio of innovative plans for the organization. If the innovation roadmap isn’t aligned to the overall strategy, it will have a lower probability of being implemented. If it aligns closely to other goals of the organization, it will likely gain support and have resources assigned to its implementation.
Track Implementation Progress: Track the progress of implementing the innovation roadmap by continuously monitoring the goals of the roadmap against the identified success metrics.
Refine and Iterate. Constantly reassess the steps on the innovation roadmap to ensure they remain strategically relevant to the organization. The specific steps in the roadmap might shift in their priority or be removed altogether based on new insights and learning. It is also possible that new steps and goals should be added. As the roadmap changes, re-present it to top-level executives and other employees in the organization to reassure their buy-in and support of the proposed changes.
Tools & Templates
An Innovation Roadmap is a visual depiction of a series of steps focused on implementing a new product, service, business model or process. Roadmaps can be artistic renderings or structured approaches using tables and charts from spreadsheets or presentation software.
upBOARD's Online Innovation Roadmap Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Innovation Roadmapping techniques, upBOARD’s online Innovation Roadmap models and collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s library of other innovation management online best practice tools and templates, including:
Agile Innovation Process, Business Case Development, Business Model Canvas, Concept Development, Concept Screening, Concept Testing, Customer Empathy Map, Customer Problem Statements, Design Thinking, Innovation Funnel Management Process, Innovation Horizons Model, Innovation Roadmap, Jobs to be Done, Lean Startup, Listening Hats, Open Innovation Process, Painstorming, Rapid Prototyping, SCAMPER, S-Curve Mapping, Stage Gate Process, Technology Life Cycle, Technology Scouting, and Teece’s Win-Lose Innovation Model.