Supercharge Your Innovation Process [Playbook for Transformation Through Innovation]

20 April 2022 4 min Read

FOFO business leaders not listening

MIT Sloan Management Review Research Recap: A Framework for Innovation in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond. A new playbook can help leaders determine which changes will endure and when to invest more in opportunistic transformation.


The Two Minute Takeaway

Now is a time of great innovation, even during great disruption. Times like these require creativity and innovation ideation that lies outside the box.

Innovation has always been a turbulent process of venturing into the unknown, and recent research can guide businesses to better understand how changes made in the past year can help them emerge from the pandemic stronger than before.

Johnathan Cromwell and Blade Kotelly

In this study, Cromwell and Kotelly analyzed a broad range of organizational responses to the coronavirus crisis over the past year through the lens of the latest research on innovation.

Here’s a recap of the innovation playbook:


Innovation types

A Identify the core problem or customer need to address. Explore different approaches and problem solve, this creates a culture of exploration.

B But there are situations with emerging products or companies where the core problem or need is difficult to address or identify via data. This research shows that there is another way to innovate by anchoring on the solution (such as a new technology or patent) and then searching for the core problem.

Many businesses have adopted one or both types of innovation but it can be difficult to know which one to use and when.


Along with this research, they’ve developed a framework (or a playbook) to help business leaders conduct the analysis on which innovation approach is best. Assessing whether your organization’s response to the pandemic represents the traditional innovation process or the emergent innovation process will help you create sustainable change and make progress by continuously innovating.

See below the company innovation profiles to help you assess where your organization is at with a brief description around each profile.

The Adapter

This quadrant is for businesses that saw temporary changes to demand for products and services they already produced before the pandemic. An example would be the restaurants that created outdoor dining and the successful companies have learned to deliver the same products or services but likely with fewer resources.

The Optimizer

Companies in this profile learned how to reconfigure their resources to satisfy existing customer demand, and must shift their focus to increasing the efficiency by which they deliver these products and services.

The Trendsetter

These companies have developed entirely new products or services that will continue to be in high demand post-pandemic.

The Trailblazer (Emergent Innovation)

Those in this quadrant have used existing resources to solve new problems they had never tackled before.

“Emergent innovation can provide new business opportunities and yield tremendous long-term value, it also presents important challenges for organizations to overcome.”

Why This Matters

One of the good things that has transpired is that companies have been forced in almost every industry to innovate in some regard. Innovation is what drives progress and companies are now being asked to understand the best way to innovate to make changes that are sustainable as well as leverage new opportunities for long-term growth and success. 

Summary and Next Steps

Read the full report to decipher which profile most fits your organization to choose the best ways to drive innovation. 

Read the full MIT Sloan Report

This recap references MIT Sloan Research @MITSloan article:

by Blade Kotelly @bladek and Johnathan Cromwell @JohnathanCromwell

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