Designing appropriate tension into the innovation process.

I’ve always loved this: “appropriate adaptiveness is not a natural tension- it has to be designed.” OK, I can hear you quietly sniggering.

When you are dealing with the innovation process you naturally have tension. Often if you have no tension or simply too much slack built into the process, you don’t end up in achieving a good result, it falls well below expectations. it is often this lack of designed-in ‘tension’ that is not appreciated like it should be within the innovation process. The wrong tension is left to eat away at the innovation process.

Firstly a cautionary warning here.

Now this is about to get into the realms of theory but I hope you stay with me on this. Why? Well knowing why innovation does fail can be useful (to your future) and what you can design into it, so as to reduce this risk has some value, I would think. So tune out or hang in- your choice. Continue reading

What’s hot and what is not in Innovation currently?

So what is hot, what is not in innovation at present? Any thoughts?

What do we need to remind ourselves about as we go about our ‘daily’ innovation business?

Some of my top of the mind quick thoughts:

  • Innovation is not the preserve of the (selected) few but the domain of the community. Driving this message home yields a real upsurge of new, often exciting activity that you would have missed out upon without engaging the broader community.
  • This absolute growing need to move on from the reliance of symbolic projects to justify innovations existence. Stop dipping your toe in the water, just jump in and get wet. Get everyone involved and wanting to contribute.

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Plan your innovation resolutions early for 2012

For many October is the peak month for bringing together their strategic and operating plans for 2012. Meetings get frantic, issues get raised, and plans get drawn up, rejected and redrawn. The period becomes a fever pitch.

Where does innovation figure within this? In new products, new services and plenty of noble entreaties to adding to the growth I am sure. One aspect you might want to consider within all this activity and planning, is to develop a resolution list of issues that need resolving, I mean really, finally, actually resolving in 2012, to allow innovation to have a greater ‘hold’ on future thinking. Achieving a consensus, a clear focus, and a corporate commitment is what strategic plans are about so draw up your list of innovation resolutions needed to be resolved in 2012 and commit to them within the plans. Be upfront and bold.

Make sure you choose ‘soft’ as well as ‘hard’ innovation resolutions within any mix

One thing I would recommend when you draw up your list. Most corporate executives find the ‘softer’ aspects of innovation harder to work through. There is this certain ‘hard wiring’ that everything has to be clear, measurable and tucked away  in the accounts or ‘ticked off’ in each person’s mind. Softer aspects of innovation often don’t conform to this orderly view of the world and it is addressing this inconsistency ‘head-on’ has great value. Continue reading

Clear trends are shaping the future of innovation

In the last week or so I took a step back to look at the emerging trends around innovation. It certainly seems to have a bright future but its management is growing in complexity. It now needs a deeper understanding than ever. Are we achieving that?

My viewpoint on observing different innovation dilemmas:

  • Innovation used to be about product, technology and R&D but it is far more now about value and anything that carries value. It is about creativity and entrepreneurship and it is even more tied to a clear vision today than ever, so it does become a vital part of the culture of the company. Innovation and its potential value generation have certainly broadened out in options and needs even more to be tightly integrated with the strategy- how different types of innovation are aligned is really critical. I think many organizations are failing badly on this alignment recognition.

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Declarations and Social Innovation

I always get nervous when declarations are made. Over two days in the middle of September, 2011 in Vienna a “Vienna Declaration” was made determining “the most needed social innovations and related research topics”

Maybe it is the way it has been written as a declaration but I’m left uncomfortable. When you read within the declaration document:

the ‘deliberations’ took place on what could be done to strengthen the social sciences capacity to play a prolific role in conceptualising and research of social innovation, and thus favour desirable development of the globalised knowledge society. This led to the idea of a Vienna Declaration that should identify critical areas of social and scientific development, and state a number of equally important corresponding research topics

The rationale behind the declaration states the Vienna Declaration is the first and immediate Core Deliverable of the Conference, created and established during the conference by joint efforts of all participants.

This makes me even more nervous, those that went decided to make a ‘universal’ declaration but OK, I can’t fully comment as it is difficult to see the whole context for this meeting. it remains unclear if it has a pivotal role or not within SIE in Europe, on behalf of the EU, on behalf of society within the EU? I’m left really not sure. Continue reading

Preparing the secret sauce for innovation delivery.

The secret sauce required for innovation delivery sometimes can be hard to itemize but knowing the ingredients and constantly improving on them wil make your ‘sauce’ stand out from others.  For many it seems, execution or final delivery of the innovation is simply not given enough attention inside many organizations and that needs to certainly change and not just left to chance or delegated out as the less important stage.

For me, clarifying and committing resources on the innovation delivery part is a critical task to get right. I’ve discussed that elsewhere, but if your final delivery is wrong then all your preparation and effort simply ‘goes out the window.’

It is like a restaurant kitchen- correct delivery of the item makes or breaks all the hard work beforehand and if the final garnish or sauces are wrongly executed, the meal itself fails and it leaves the customer dissatisfied, irrespective of the original efforts put in. Continue reading

Mission Critical for Innovation – Final Delivery

Why is it that for some firm’s innovation seems to be incredibly rewarding yet for the majority it remains at best an unfulfilled promise. Why does innovation present such a stark choice, often fraught with difficulties for many, yet so simple and successful for the few? Innovation delivery is one of those differentiation points.

Let me sugggest here nine points needing your consideration when it comes to thinking through the innovation back end delivery part. Execution as I have outlined in a previous blog, is the final rugged frontier- the tough one to truly master as it is so variable in its makeup. Just consider: Continue reading