The Challenges Being Faced by Innovation Consultants

Ignoring different voicesFrom my perspective I’ve been looking at a real challenge today, that many consultants offering innovation services are not providing real sustaining consulting value to clients, only ad-hoc services.

Unless this changes it will continue to erode the clients’ confidence in these service providers and they will be seeking increasing internal solutions to tackle their problems. I think if this trend continues it will be a mistaken course.

Consultants are not addressing many of the changes occurring and ignoring opportunities to adapt to different circumstances, they are simply not putting up a strong case of their engagement  by redesigning their business models or opening themselves up to different forms of collaboration.

In many ways, the consulting industry specializing in innovation is its own worst enemy.

It is highly fragmented, often highly specialized in certain innovation practices, and with much of the advice comes from a cottage industry of independent practitioners, caught up in executing and little time for advancing their own knowledge.

There is this sense that consultants are resolutely staying very internally driven, self-promoting, still trying to convey the story of innovation mastery, when clearly this is lacking in rapidly changing market and technology conditions and due to this staying ahead of the knowledge curve are actually failing the client.

Many consulting firms have spent the last decade trying to make themselves more efficient, going from craft work to selling one solution as a mass production to many, to yield ever-increasing fees, so as to gain a re-occurring return on a one-off invested solution. Innovation solutions simply need to be crafted to each set of circumstances mostly, in my opinion and that conflicts with this repeating model.

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Deeper read or quick summary? Depends on the time we have.


I recently wrote a post “Finding knowledge and research to help you learn and adapt. On reflection I should have replaced the word “research” with “time”……time to help you learn and adapt.

Finding time is a real struggle and going that extra mile to read thought leadership views, long often drawn out reports or academic papers can be a step too far, I know but I can’t help myself, it is part of my job and certainly for me, many are really worth the read in a positive end result of new learning..

In that post mentioned above, I was recommending Deloitte and their thought leadership as a good place to visit. Now I’m not sure how many of you actually did so I thought in this blog, to pick out a couple of ‘choice pieces’ and make a posting summary of these, as ones that might be useful.

So I’ve chosen two that challenge and break ground.

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Finding knowledge and research to help you learn and adapt

Learning and Knowleodge Sharing“The world has never been as complex, dynamic and uncertain as it is today and the pace of change will only increase.”

We hear this consistently, our continual problem is trying to make sense of it.

So much is coming towards us and to assimilate it and turn it into value, usable value, so we can adapt and respond to it in new ways of opportunity by adding further to the knowledge by turning this into new innovation potential.

Seeking out knowledge, being proactive, partly helps as being consistently caught by surprise makes your world even more insecure.

To attempt to keep up to date we all need to invest increasing time in acquiring a better understanding, a deeper knowledge of all the interconnected parts. Even if we are “time starved” we simply must try and keep moving along in this understanding.

As part of my job, advising others on all things swirling around innovation, I invest significant time in researching, learning and applying what I feel is important to others, so as to understand or at least to raise their awareness to changing practices, thinking or approaches. At times it all seems to come literally flooding in, overwhelming the senses, that I just have to wait and let it settle in my mind, before I can attempt to process it and translate it into something of value to me, then eventually to my clients or readers.
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Delivering the innovation core: building capability, capacity and competency.

Building capabilities 4Each organization needs to understand its strategic resources to build continuously, so as to sustain and grow the organization; otherwise it will eventually die, starved of what is vital to sustain itself.

The resources provide the lungs that give oxygen; they need to constantly be nurtured, too breathe and pump new life into the existing.

For innovation the same applies, we need to consistently build our innovating resources, they give delivery of the healthy living cells to promote and sustain us in new value potential.

The problem is we often are not very good at maintaining our resources and innovation activity. We just simply do not sustain our efforts, we tend to allow them to drift along or become lopsided from one individual teams efforts, while the others simply ‘wallow’ Continue reading

The Four Lenses of Innovation by Rowan Gibson

Four lenses of innovation for post3Every now and then, a book comes along that completely surprises me in terms of my own reactions to it, forcing me to unglue some of my preconceived ideas, and then stick them back together again into a whole new pattern. It threw me into a loop, trying to figure this out.

To be honest, I still have not fully figured out why I keep pondering over Rowan Gibson’s “The Four Lenses of Innovation: a power tool for creative thinking”, which will be published in early March, and why it is forcing me to reconcile different thoughts in my mind.

Rowan Gibson’s previous book was “Innovation to the Core- a blueprint for transforming the way your company innovates”, which he co-authored with Peter Skarzynski. It has been one of my favourites since it came out in 2008. I often dip into this book, refer to some of its thinking and frames that have emerged following its publication. One of those frames was the “The Four Lenses of Innovation”, outlined in Chapter Three, which became the basis for Rowan’s new book.

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The last five yards – the really hard part

Innovation Project ExecutionIt seems so simple doesn’t it – “bringing final ideas to market”. So easy to say, yet it does seem so very hard to achieve.

Everything we should be aiming towards boils down to the judgement of a ‘successful execution’ or not. It is this last, hard five yards of all the work that went into something, which can make or break so much of the efforts that have gone into this emerging ‘commercial life’ of our new innovation activities.

We should regard the back-end of innovation as the rugged part

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So Welcome to the Age of Digital Innovation

New age of innovationDigital technology is about to become the precursor for all the changes we have put off for years within our organizations.

We need to radically improve our abilities to engage, relate and discover new innovation opportunities at a completely different level of faster performance.

There are many issues both strategic and tactical to work through, to extract the rich potential from any digital transformation for new innovation growth outcomes

The final part of a seven part series –  a new dawn or your worst nightmare?’

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