4 key elements to advancing innovation

Innovation doesn’t just happen by chance. There are four key elements that bring people, processes, and tools together to advance ideas.

Innovation is a mandate for companies in today’s ever-changing, hyper-competitive world. Product lifecycles are shortening, industries are converging, and the pace of technology-driven change is only getting faster.

Some companies make innovation look easy. With creativity and progress hardwired into their culture, they regularly explore how new processes, products, technology, and teamwork can give them a competitive edge. These organizations understand that innovation doesn’t happen by chance—it must be nurtured.

If you want to be innovative—let alone innovate continuously—you need formal structures in place. At JLL, we have four pillars of innovation that bring together people, processes, and tools. This system generates a rapid cycle of innovation that creates meaningful impact for our clients and employees and helps to move our industry forward. Here are the four key elements needed to advance ideas:

Culture: Ideas grow when they’re cultivated

Across the globe, our people are encouraged to chase big ideas. They know their creativity is supported, their vision is valued, and their drive doesn’t go unnoticed.

We source great ideas through global and local platforms like idea campaigns, social networking contests, and productivity challenges. We also host awards programs to recognize standout innovations across the company.

We believe the innovation process helps us achieve high standards. Innovation performance metrics and KPIs hold our teams accountable for delivering ideas that create value and ensures that these ideas are primed for investment.

People: Everyone is an innovator

Innovation will never take root if you only value input from select people. We generate ideas from the top-down and the bottom-up. All ideas are vetted through our proprietary collaboration technology, Idea Stream. The platform makes sharing and vetting ideas simpler and centralizes submissions from around the globe. Whether it comes from the C-suite or an engineer on the ground, every idea can become an innovation or best practice used across the entire organization.

To vet ideas, we also rely on market research and trends, business roadmaps, and intelligence from idea accelerators and incubators to make sure we have our finger on the pulse of emerging solutions and technologies that can grow our business and benefit our clients.

Partnership: Transformation is a team effort

We’ve opened our innovation and product development platform to our clients. This style of open collaboration and co-creation has generated everything from small process improvements to large-scale product offerings and patents.

We also partner with research universities, venture capital firms and tech incubators to drive new innovative solutions and products.

As the founding industry partner of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Real Estate Innovation Lab, we’re bringing together experts in statistics, computational architecture, economics and urban design to help determine the future of communities and cities through design and technology innovations.

In 2017, we founded JLL Spark, a $100 million global venture fund investing in technology and innovation. JLL Spark invests in property technology startups that would benefit from having a dedicated growth team of experienced technologists and real estate leaders to create opportunities and break down barriers.

Discipline: New doesn’t necessarily mean needed

Without governance and structure, innovation is just one big brainstorm. We have processes, policies, vetting protocols, and defined roles and responsibilities to make sure we’re advancing only the most valuable ideas.

We use a double-loop design process that allows not only for creativity, but also for speed to market. Ideas are vetted cross-functionally by expertise-focused review boards and innovation champions working around the world. And by experimenting with advanced technologies, we’re strengthening our “fail fast and fail early” model for products and services development.

Bottom line: Don’t leave innovation to chance

It’s no surprise that innovative companies across the world generate higher total shareholder returns compared to their peers; they’re not leaving it to chance. By striking the right balance between discipline, focus and creativity, you’ll be in the best position to create value and accelerate transformation reliably.

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