Step#8: Organize – structure and set governance

Step#8: Organize – structure and set governance

Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship flourish when direction and boundaries are clear. In this step you set the conditions, the responsibilities and the governance for those that will bring you change. Although innovation will impact the whole organization it’s often smart to start by making a distinction in departments that are focused on keeping current business and those that should lead innovation. The innovation department(s) will play a different role in your organization than the part that is running your existing business. The required skills, kpi’s and remuneration should be set accordingly for all involved up to the responsible director. Without the organizational cut, including kpi’s and remuneration the progress of innovation will be measured by the metrics of the old business and it will be impossible to steer towards the innovation goals.

Use the feedback on your masterplan

In this step you will fill in the blanks in your master plan, based on the feedback you get from your invitation of Step#7. The input from your organization, your customers, your suppliers and other stakeholders are the ingredients to develop a concrete project plan for innovation including sub goals, timelines and the way you organize your organization.

The innovation department should be kept close to the organization responsible for running the current business or be set at a certain distance, dependent of the innovation goals that are targeted.

Make a distinction between going concern and innovation

The bigger the distance the easier it is for the innovation department to gain momentum, but the bigger the risk that the rest of the organization will not benefit from it. A big independency is needed when the emphasis of the innovation goals is exploratory.

The closer innovation is kept to the running business the more friction is to be expected between the two. The tougher it is for the innovation department to maneuver, but the more the organization as a whole will benefit from the success of innovation eventually. A limited distance between the innovation department and the organization is instrumental when the innovation goals are strongly related to the assets of the organization or a future embedding of the innovation department within the organization is foreseen.

Define the intersection of the innovation department and the rest

In this step the way the innovation department is meant to collaborate with other departments should be specified. For instance do they have the freedom to collaborate with competitors of the old business? Or are there area’s where collaboration is mandatory.

Set a enumeration that fits the innovation goals

The elementary different task of the innovation department asks for different competences and another type of leadership. The way of collaborating within the innovation department will result in a new culture, different from the existing organization. Also the enumeration should be different and derived from the innovation goals that are set.

Successful innovation departments have a clear framework, a high level of autonomy. Within the employees get clear targets, a lot of trust and are being judged by their results but are offered a high level of autonomy in the way they realize their targets. To find the right people for the innovation department you can turn to those who actively responded to your invite for feedback on your master plan in Step#7.

Once you have set the sub goals, timelines and the organization you can proceed with Step #9: to execute your change.


The DOK 5 Cycle of Innovation is an easy-to-use method that helps existing organizations to innovate effectively & efficient. The cycle consists of 10 steps that precede each other logically. They help to envision, plan, focus and deliver results without ignoring the existing business. Read more about the Cycle of Innovation.

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