Smartsourcing Requires A New Maturity Model

By Marc Kauffmann

Since smartsourcing is a relatively new concept, it is important to develop a model/methodology that ensures successful implementation and encourages innovation. This warrants development, management and continuous refinement of a comprehensive Smartsourcing Innovation Model.

4 Stages of the Smartsourcing Innovation Model To achieve the Smartsourcing Innovation Model, practitioners need to move through four distinct stages, as follows:

Stage 1

  • No operational processes or supportive information technology exists to guide or manage innovation.
  • Only a few select individuals are involved.
  • Culture of obedience.

Stage 2 

  • Innovation is primarily focused on developing new products/services/technology and is limited to a functional scope.
  • Minimal use of information technology to enable innovation.
  • Culture of efficiency and cost reduction.

Stage 3

  • Innovation is spread through multiple departments in an organization.
  • Senior management supports and encourages innovation.
  • Operational processes for innovation exist and include appropriate information technology enablers.
  • Employees are enthusiastic about innovation and proactively contribute ideas.

Stage 4 

  • Innovation is pervasive throughout the organization and its strategic partners.
  • Well-connected value chain.
  • Common language across the organization.
  • Employees know how to contribute to the innovation process.
  • Clear information intent. Innovation portfolio is developed and well-managed.
  • Extensive use of information technology to facilitate innovation. Innovation is assiduously measured and rewarded.
  • Culture of passion.
  • Office of Innovation may exist.
  • Chief Innovation Officer role reporting to the Chief Executive Officer.

Representative Management Practices Each stage of smartsourcing innovation is characterized by a set of representative management practices in the following four areas:

Vision and Strategy Vision and strategy encompasses the overall innovation aspirations of a company as well as its innovation strategy.  Insights should include customer and market insights, as well as relevant business models.

Management Well-established decision-making and management processes are necessary to support smartsourcing innovation in all stages.

Organization In each stage, the smartsourcing organization  needs to display a culture of innovation, innovation metrics and incentives, and utilize a hiring approach and collaborative practices that support and drive smartsourcing innovation.

For more on smartsourcing from Marc Kauffmann, read 6 Steps to Innovative Smartsourcing, 6 Steps to Smartsourcing: Strategizing Innovation and 6 Steps to Innovative Smartsourcing: Creating Metrics.

Marc Kauffmann is the president of The Kauffmann Group, LLC, a management consultancy featured in New York Times best-selling author Seth Godin’s book, “Bull Market: Companies That Make Things Happen.” He has 25-plus years of expertise in the evolution of innovative business practices, market approaches, product/service offerings and information technology. You can follow him on Twitter @Marc81753262 or find him on LinkedIn.

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