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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The innovating power of ecosystems and platforms

Ecosystem 1Our whole understanding of innovation is changing; there are numerous shifts occurring.

We are moving towards a new management of innovation where ‘greater’ collaboration is fueling new business models built on platforms, formed around ecosystems of communities with vested interest, contributing and extracting value.

Today and in the future, the value is created outside the individual company and not within. It is a far more working as a constellation, drawing from an evolving network effect seeking out combined solutions from this design.

In this third post of an extended series on my thoughts on “moving towards a new way of managing innovation” that explores the potential for changing the management of innovation, this  looks at the significant value of platforms and ecosystems.

We need to find a new way of doing things differently around innovation and its management.

This is based on a relationship-based, networked designed concept built for collective activities. Relationships where shared value leads to a value creation that no one single organization can provide. This requires open collaboration and an environment seeking mutual promise from individual input, contribution and extraction, delivering an integrated set of services and solutions being constructed on the platform from a sharing of knowledge, for delivering into evolving value propositions, all benefiting from, both collectively and individually

I am proposing in this series a view that innovation management needs to radically adjust and will be based on the thinking around the shift from products to solutions, from transactions to growing far more value-adding ongoing relationships, from a supplier of product services into highly valued network partnerships, exploring innovation across all options, instead of delivering on discrete elements; this requires managing the whole ecosystem of the innovation design differently through technology where platforms dominate.

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Moving towards a new innovation service model

Moving towards a new business model BalloonsThe realization that innovation goes way beyond product innovation is a massive hurdle for many of our existing organizations to overcome, certainly in what they are offering today as solutions.

We are also witnessing such significant erosion of long-standing practices, established boundaries between suppliers and customers, you get this feeling that everything is blurring.

This is part two of an extended series on my thoughts on “moving towards a new way of managing innovation” that explores the potential for changing the management of innovation.

How can the innovation process capitalize on all the changes we are undertaking at present in new ways, in broader engagements and collaborations, to deliver more effectively on the promise within our innovation potential?

Well I would suggest we do need to refocus

There is a very strong case we need to rethink the whole management of our innovation activity, as innovation is failing to deliver on its potential promise in the current ways we are attempting to undertake it, highly constrained and under-resourced.

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Shifting Radically the Innovation Business Model

Changing the innovation business model

Shifting Radically the Innovation Business Model

I have been spending some significant time on questioning the current innovation business model, from both the customers (clients) perspective and the innovation consultants’ one.

Now we all know not all things are equal, many companies have invested significantly in improving their innovation capabilities.

Many of these have been heavily reliant on outside help in achieving this position yet all the effort has led to limited returns for many and still a work-in-progress.

Yet far more of our business organizations are continuing to really struggle on their innovation activity for a whole host of reasons that seem never-ending, disappointing in end result and stuck in management quicksand to ever really change.

For me, the process and management of innovation really does need to be definitely questioned.

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Anticipating disruption by preparing adaptive pathways to respond

Option pathways

disruptive innovation pathway options

Option pathways are those viable alternatives available when you are suddenly confronted with the need to change.  By being proactive, anticipating and structuring the options ahead you can be more prepared for disruption, you can respond with more thoughtful reactions. Have you ever considered option pathways?

Having available options so you can react to sudden changes, as more sketched out scenario’s that are representing possible variables, the better prepared you might be to respond thoughtfully.

Preparation for blunting or neutralizing possible attacks, vulnerabilities and changing business conditions is more than helpful, because you have made some investments in different possible options and far more ready to respond in thoughtful ways and not simply in those knee-jerk reactions, simply needing to respond. Considered response, with significant parts already thought through can safe significantly on ill-considered ones.

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Innovating: So What Is Possible?

Often we forget to frame what we want to really achieve in our innovation activity, instead we simply dive in and start innovating. I believe until we know what solutions we feel we need or the market wants, we will more often than not, end up disappointed in our innovation solutions. Simply generating ideas, for ideas sake, just does not cut it at all.

In recent years our innovation understanding and its management have significantly changed, due to numerous factors that have been happening. These have been advances in technology, methodology or design- thinking and we do need to stop and think about how we could do ‘things’ differently by asking “what is possible?” This should be asked not just on each occasion of an innovation concept design but within the total innovation system we are presently operating under.

Perhaps by asking three critical questions on “what is possible?”  we might produce better innovation answers (and solutions) than in simply not bothering to, at least, scope out the real possibilities, where we can miss so much.

The aim of asking is to reduce the constraints, free up resources, leverage the techniques available, and equally, push the boundaries of your thinking to want to generate “great” innovation, not just the mediocre, incremental stuff, so often produced and labelled “innovative” that we end up doing.

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Making an impact on an organization’s innovation environment

Our Innovation EnvironmentWhere do you set about to intervene and begin to change the organizations ability to innovate? There are seemingly so many intervention points it can get bewildering.

The innovation environment can be made-up of how well you collaborate and network, the level of group and individual interactions, the presence and commitment of leadership towards innovation, as well as the organizational set-up and structures.

You can explore the make-up of the innovation environment in so many ways.

So what makes up the environment to innovation?

It is the culture, management and its people who have a mutual dependency. Culture can enhance or inhibit the tendencies to innovate, it certainly has a profound influence on the innovative capacity and provides the rich nutrients to nurture innovation or kill it. Culture has always been regarded as a primary determinant of innovation.

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