It is crucial for software houses to incorporate innovation strategy plans into their product release cycles. This strategy needs three key elements order to succeed. Namely, good research teams, when aligned innovation/product life cycles and proper communication channels.
The start of all good innovation strategies within companies is having a dedicated research and develop team. These individuals may work within other departments (e.g. engineering) and not have a dedicated research budget/group assigns them. The key point however is that you do have some individuals within your company actively seeking out new technologies that can be used or new concepts that can be incorporated into your product range.
The work the research teams also has to dovetail nicely into your own product release cycles. The outputs of your researcher’s work becomes the inputs for engineering teams to develop new software products. As a result, you need to have a constant stream of new innovations being produced in order to ensure you can incrementally improve your product range and individual product features. This is a fine balancing act as you need to have the right amount of researchers in order to produce enough ideas on a regular basis. Research by its nature requires a certain amount of prototyping and trial and error in order to cope with truly good ideas so time and resources are necessary.
Finally, all this good work by the researchers has to then be incorporated into the software products produced by engineering. This requires good transference of ideas between the two groups which is often best done by having research staff incorporated into the engineering group, if even for just the start of the software development lifecycle. The use of an architecture board can also provide some finessing of research ideas prior to submitting them to your engineering teams in order to make sure the ideas are transferred in a well-thought-out manner.