Innovation is often derived from an identified need which hasn’t been met. In many situations, simply by looking, it can become apparent that many issues need to be resolved.
However, organizations have finite resources and, as such, it becomes just as important to say what needs will be prioritized and pursued within the SEI program, and which won’t.
The needs identification module of the methodology is aimed at plugging procurement into the overall corporate approach to determining the needs and wants of an organization’s customers. This is a front-of-the-business priority, often left to cross-functional teams led by marketing but rarely involving procurement.
Successful SEI demands the involvement of procurement – or dedicated SEI teams – in this process.
Level 1: Opportunistic Innovation
The procurement function follow market and industry movements to understand and align opportunities with existing internal needs.
Level 2: Systemic Innovation
The business strategy, planning cycle and performance objectives are used to define current and emerging needs as an enabler for identifying and prioritizing SEI opportunities.
Level 3: Interactive Innovation
A broad range of markets are systematically reviewed by the organization and its partner to identify, prioritize and secure future innovation into the product, service and partnership roadmaps of both organizations.
Level 4: Embedded Innovation
A broad range of stakeholders work together to evaluate current products/services and identify emerging and long-term needs and trends from both a customer and supplier perspective.
Needs identification is a key component of SEI, and should include a combination of approaches not necessarily led by procurement or the SEI team. Relationships with certain internal stakeholders are key to the success of this process, and ensure that procurement is included at the very start of the innovation process.