Fluidity – the growing need of organizations today.

fluidy 9Organizations are facing increasing a dilemma in how they organize and manage within their systems and structures.

They are being forced to deal in increasingly complexity and environmental turbulence and ‘adapting the appropriate response’  remains increasingly a difficult one to master, within the existing regime and structures.

On the one hand the value in stability is still essential, working within specific routines and practices gives a clear ‘path dependence.’

This allows for efficiencies and effectiveness to be constantly at practice, constantly building the problem-solving processes, so as to master tasks in complex environments to resolve ‘known’ problems in ‘given’ ways.

We need to become increasingly fluid but how and why?

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A new innovation perspective – change to fluidity

Fluidity 5Today most innovation is focused on creating new products or services. These new innovations frequently change or modify operating models and business models, often not by deliberate design.

We’d stipulate that most innovation should be focused on updating and changing business models constantly and with increasing focus. With this focus new products and services become by-products or outcomes that support or sustain new business models for driving greater lasting sustaining competitive advantage.

In short, most innovation should be focused on creating new business models, with new products or services serving as enablers to intentional business model innovation, rather than the other way round. This is what we mean by flipping perspectives.

Critically we have to become far more comfortable with constant, ongoing change and aligning this into new innovation and business models. This move to positive change is discussed here, recommending a movement that allows the changes we need within our organizations to become more fluid in their adaption, for leveraging and exploiting innovation in new, far more compelling ways.

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Most Innovation is Becoming Business Model Innovation

Ending BeginningAs we consider the interplay between innovation, business models and change, it becomes clear that many companies have a definition of innovation that’s far too narrow.

Increasingly we need to rethink the scope, depth and breadth of innovation possibilities, as well as the secondary implications of innovation.

Ignoring this broader definition of innovation means we can never achieve all of the possible benefits innovation has in store.

We believe ignoring the breadth and depth of innovation can also allow competitors and new entrants to disrupt your position or industry. Fortunately, some of these definitions have been created for us.  Our responsibility is to understand the definitions and their implications, not stay constrained but seek and explore the broader options this can provide.

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The Interplay in 3 Essential Change Points for Innovation

The Critical Interplay 2

There is always a certain impact that innovation brings, it should change habits, alter perceptions, improve our lives or alter the way we work and think.

Each change brought about by innovation does have different impact effects upon three important market constituents: customers, the markets and the industries themselves but also and often totally under-appreciated, internally on the innovator driving the change.

We need to understand the broader scope of our innovation

Until we understand the scope and impact of innovation we can’t fully grasp the nature and amount of change that innovation can unleash. It can alter businesses, shift markets and challenge customers to move away from their existing thinking into adopting this new product or service.

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The Interplay Surrounding Innovation

The Interplay Surrounding InnovationInnovation should be the primary source of real change. Often when exciting new innovations occur they have the power to significantly change our habits, and choice of product, preferences and ways we set about our daily lives.

Yet why is it we often ignore the power of change when we design innovation?

We often fail to fully appreciate the changes that are occurring from the innovation we produce, it often seems an afterthought, there is this lead and lag effect and needs, firstly recognition and then addressing in how we manage innovation going forward.

In a recent series introduced initially and given a feature of the week prime spot on http://www.innovationexcellence.com on June 7, 2015 we discussed the importance of the emerging interplays. This series will be re-produced here as it is a important concept to consider all the aspects within any innovation interplay.

The emerging concept of “interplays” Continue reading

The ongoing challenge is making change our constant

Change is a constant 2Thinking about the managing of change has been occupying my mind in recent weeks. It will continue into the next few weeks as Jeffrey Phillips of OVO Innovation and I have co-authored a White Paper called “the critical interplay among innovation, business models and change” as it rolls out.

In this we provide a foundation document that highlights the important interplay between innovation, business models and change. To launch this, we have kicked off our thinking with a feature of the week on Innovation Excellence introducing the themes that have multiple interplays we often fail to exploit when it comes to innovation. The opening post is entitled “the interplay surrounding innovation”. Please take a read

Our opening argument resolves around the recognition of change as part of an interplay

We argue that we are failing to manage the different and multiple interplays that are constantly taking place when innovation occurs. We are often ignoring them and failing to extract the best or optimal value out of the innovation we are introducing. The change effect is often being ignored.

You can download this whitepaper on this site within my newly created “Insights and Thinking” tab on this site. Continue reading

Navigating the future landscape by developing adaptive innovation skills

So where are we focusing upon to make sure we are developing the right proficiencies and abilities we will need to manage our innovations of the future?  For me innovation capabilities and competencies needs to be far more adaptive and aligned to the different emerging skills we should be bringing to bear, so we are able to find better innovating solutions for our collective futures.

The issue is this: if we do want to reshape much of what we are struggling with today – poor growth, diminishing futures, disconnected communities, stagnating economies or ones struggling to emerge from devastated and austerity measures inflicted upon them – we do need to change our skill sets to reflect a more realistic and up to date need to navigate and transform knowledge to tackle these. Often our present skills are not equipped to manage in these more “disruptive” environments.

I wrote in a past post about “Learning to absorb new Knowledge for Innovation and the ability to understand Absorptive Capacity and how it works. Recently I followed that up with two recent posts about our pressing need that Jobs can be created but our skills do need very much adapting and refining, from where we are at present. One post was “Innovation Job Chasing- A Race Needed to Win” and the other was its precursor “The Present Innovation Jobless Era We Face.”

Our real need is to put in place those stronger adaptive skills  as our foundations so we can be better equipped to compete in the growing innovation race we all facing at personal, community and national levels. We need to equipped differently to meet the tougher global conditions that will be with us for our lifetimes, irrespective of our present age.

Competition won’t go away; it will only increase in its intensity.  To meet this we need to be far better equipped to be ‘innovation-ready’ in our skills. What forms a better ‘innovation ready’ skill set?

So what are those future skills we should be working towards to group around?

There was a report published in 2011 by the Institute for the Future (IFTF) and sponsored by the University Of Phoenix Research Institute to understand the skills workers will need over the next decade in our changing world, based far more on technology and its continued advance.

The report “Future Work Skills 2020” looks initially at what it feels are the six drivers that are shaping our landscape and then the ten skills they see as emerging that need to be where we place our future focus upon. These are:

Future Skills Set

  • Sense-making: the ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
  • Social intelligence: ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
  • Novel & adaptive thinking: proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based
  • Cross -cultural competency: ability to operate in different cultural settings
  • Computational thinking: ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
  • New-media literacy: ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
  • Transdisciplinarity : literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
  • Design mindset:  the ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes.
  • Cognitive load management: ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
  • Virtual collaboration: ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.

A call to action

As the report authors of Anna Davies, Devin Fidler, and Marina Gorbis suggest, the results have clear implications for individuals needing to learn these skills. They will be asking from where will these come? From the educational institutions that need to grapple with changes that are occurring fast. Also it is the actions both  in business and at government level on how they will encourage and develop the strategies and policies fast enough, so as to offer the incentives to drive the changes needed. It is how quickly we move towards any organized ‘grouped’ learning of new skills can we begin to build within these new groupings.

All institutions certainly do need to provide the leadership to embrace the shifts needed in a constantly changing set of lifelong learning. It is recognized increasingly that skill renewal is constant to meet tomorrow’s ever changing global challenges.  A place where skills are far more heavily reliant on technology and we are able to manage these constant changes effectively. So as the knowledge that is emerging gets translated into new values offering new opportunity, learning and growth. We discover, absorb and translate.

Teaching both hard and soft skills that reflect tomorrows needs

The underlying need is to teach skills that promote quickly in response to changing conditions that will include a higher emphasis on critical thinking, depth of insight and the analysis capabilities to ‘translate’ the information or data emerging from multiple sources.

Equally the soft skills, so often ignored as crucial become increasingly relevant. The ability to collaborate and network, to read social cues, not ignore them as not important to me and respond with this much higher level of adaptability. I wrote about “Recognition of better soft skill taxonomy for Innovation some time back that has a useful way of grouping soft skills.

My summary

Predictions can always be difficult but the impression I gained from looking at the suggested ten future skills suggested by IFTF is that they do seem to make for a solid basis for us to gather around.

What of course we need to do is to develop what ‘lies underneath these ten skills ‘to allow us all to become more ‘innovation ready’ in our skills needed to survive. These might give us that better chance to thrive in the future and find fresh innovating opportunities because we are better equipped in relevant skills.

The burning issue is that our window of time to change and incorporate these into our organized learning is shrinking at ever faster rates. We need to move from recognition of these skills into the setting about of building them far more systematically.

We need to build our future innovation capacities on more relevant skills that are based more on what we need to have within our ‘natural’ skill base based on today at least, and not ones still based on 20th century practices.