Opening up our innovation to stay relevant

Staying RelevantOur whole understanding of innovation is changing; there are numerous shifts occurring. We are opening up our thinking in where and with whom, to collaborate.

We are evaluating and changing our existing focus from closed (internal orientation) into ones that are having a far more open stance. We are searching for more collaborative innovation (external orientation) combining external partners into more ‘collective thinking’.

The shifts taking place are offering us the promise of “extra acceleration” that is needed to improve our innovation performances from concept to market delivery. Or, we hope it is!

Collaborative innovation is also leading us to higher chances of achieving greater impact and success, as nearly all novel ideas lay are mostly outside the organization’s domain of understanding. We need to always bring the knowledge inside and build from it.

As we increasingly include the customer and their more exacting needs within our understanding, these multiple collaborations and dialogues are building this better internal understanding to align our innovation with specific opportunity, relevancy and need.

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The New Innovation Value Chain Perhaps?

TSatisfied or Nothese are simply some opening thoughts. For a long time I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the way we have managed or even depicted the innovation value chain. I really think we should bring it up to date.

There has been such a considerable change taking place in many of the parts of innovation management, I think we need to replace the existing fuzzy front end, the pipeline and portfolio stage followed by execution with something far more reflective of how we think and what we deploy today as tools, methods and frameworks to deliver innovation.

The ‘old approach’ just does not calibrate anymore for me with the where we have been heading, or more importantly in how we are attempting to manage innovation within our organizations.

So I feel we need to determine a new innovation value chain and would like to make a first attempt

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Seeking fresh winds and new directions

the_winds_of_changeAnyone who has felt the ‘full force of the wind’ will know the feeling of how hard it is to keep on your feet, to stay determined to stay upright and true, to hold the course, whatever happens.

When you feel the force of change running through the organization, you tend to have that same sensation, to resist the force with all your energy.

It is often really hard to let go, the environment was something you had become used to, you accepted and become resigned to its weaknesses and constantly exploited its possibilities or even possibly the other way round.

Ignoring the power of choice within change is dangerous

Constructing a climate for any transformation is hard. Our cultures are deep-rooted; we resist those winds blowing into us “full on,” well beyond being reasonable or smart enough to avoid them before they confront us. The Chinese proverb below gives us a clear choice: “to build walls or build windmills”

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Innovators – are you thinking about Ecosystems?

Business Ecosystem Trends

Business Ecosystem Trends by Deloitte

Thinking about ecosystems certainly allows us to go out of our normal scope of internally generating new products. It opens up a host of possibilities, that can add significantly towards a new service design, new capabilities and solving more complex problems.

In opening up to managing within ecosystems you begin to see your ability to contribute and tackle societal problems within a collaborative system.

You can see new opportunities that can allow you to enter new markets that would have been impossible as an individual organization.

You begin to see the power, scale and strength of having the collective collaborative ability to extend beyond more traditional thinking design. You go beyond the utilization of leveraging existing infrastructure, building on others specialization and leveraging through technology powerful new concepts to tackle increasing complex innovation design.

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The sharks that prey are arriving a lot earlier now

The Sharks are CirclingChange is all around us, it is accelerating not abating. Do you feel you are trapped, encircled and just a little concerned. You often hear of volatile trading conditions, a more complex market and situations changing constantly and moving faster than ever. ‘Much’ seems to be closing in on us.

We do know we need to re-equip ourselves for constant disruption; we are really beginning to see a shift from the classic bell curve into more of a shark fin for adopting change.

One that is characterized by sudden, even violent success or an event, some moments of brilliant dominance, followed by a dramatic change in conditions as others have spotted the same opportunity and you hit a rapid decline, the race to the bottom of competition constantly negating one another.

Market are segmenting, the life cycle is shortening or having an even longer tail of dealing with slow decline and constant erosion of any competitive position. The sharks are arriving even earlier and in a greater need to show their dominance.


It does seem “creative destruction” is a central force in many of our activities. Activities where innovation is continually replacing not just in products and new services but in designing radically different business models, searching to replace less adaptive competitors in the marketplace at faster rates.

Adoption is far earlier, the pace of change is quickening and from this the competition is responding in new ways, often surrounding the new innovation with their version, built on often a really ‘fast follower’ principle to keep in step, and throttle off any different adoption, knowing what it costs to have to win this back over time, if it can at all when it switches. The life cycle is becoming even more important to manage in all of its stages, as its traditional shape I feel, is radically altering. It is coming faster and fading away quicker unless you manage its parts very specifically.

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Technology leads, innovation exploitation is lagging

Technology and PeopleThere is a growing, perhaps even an overwhelming business case, for transforming the innovation management structure. The new combination is the new connections through people and things (IoT) that we can achieve a new innovation potential.

We will obtain increasing more powerful insights that have the real potential of being turned into new innovation outcomes, through the connected businesses we are presently needing to  build. This can generate new value and business propositions.

Today the virtual world of digital is moving much faster than the physical ‘enacted world,’ of turning insights into actual innovation activities, through the innovation pipeline. Our innovation systems are lagging significantly behind. We need to radically redesign them and bring them up to date, fit for managing innovation in the 21st century.

The whole discovery to final execution, is for most organizations still a very fragmented, often disconnected system. It is highly reliant on manual systems with people often disconnected from the real innovation engagement making decisions on inadequate data or insights.

We are failing to leverage all we have gained from our innovation understanding over the years, in our ongoing inability to connect the innovation system through the use of technology and growing value networks, so as to provide the integration, the dedicated resource and accountability successful innovation outcomes that our customers require, one that is certainly possible, from a well-designed innovation management system if we apply the time and effort to conceive and construct it..

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Our inabilities to adapt needs changing.

TransformationErosion is everywhere, it just seems inevitable, we somehow get caught up in the process of time and our organizations seem to ‘freeze’ before our eyes, then simply age.

They become fixed, rigid and locked into their established ways, not adapting to the changes occurring around them. We often give up and leave, moving on to better places and challenges.

We seemingly are reluctant to undergo any transformation, experimentation or adjustment in our organizations until it becomes a matter of survival, then its often far too late.

Then it becomes a mad scramble to transform ourselves, often with damaging consequences of deteriorating performance, battling more competition that are sensing our weakness, never capable of returning to those previous highs.

We simply  hate adapting or adjusting, certainly on a constant basis, we resist any form of ‘greater’ transformation – why?

If we can’t adapt to changing times, we simply struggle to survive, that is the growing reality operating in today’s environment. Simply put companies ‘die’ due to their inability to adapt to change and transformation projects fail because the message somehow fails to register and never gets completed to the original objectives. According to a survey by McKinsey in 2011, 72% of our transformation programs fail to deliver on their original targets. Also one out of every two of our top organizations in the Fortune 500 will be gone, history, dust, taken over in ten years, according to the OECD.

Unless we create a strategy to transform, how can we re-imagine our innovation processes?

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