Reflecting on our innovation practices

reflecting-on-our-innovation-practicesInnovation has been rapidly changing and much of its basics have been swallowed up by some newly defining frameworks that have raced up to the top of the innovation agenda. They have driven much of our thinking and reacting. It is right that we all respond to these but we often forget much of the rest of what innovation needs to be built upon.

The problem or challenge with this focusing upon ‘breaking’ practices or new methodologies, are they can be so much harder to master and build them into established positions and practices, without the right amount of debate, understanding and assessing the implications and impact.

This often needs different perspectives to form the final position. We fail to constantly review and re-engineer the innovation process and tend to layer more upon it, without a consistent reassessing what we are trying to achieve.

The excitement of ‘breaking innovation’ is in the pioneering, experimenting, discovering, sharing and exchanging. If you are always open to this new thinking, it does enrich and advance innovation understanding and that makes it so valuable but so demanding.

Many of these for me have been utterly enjoyable to explore as they advance our understanding of the emerging management practice of innovation but you can’t ‘gloss over’ the basics of innovation. Continue reading

Possibly a Significant Shift in the Innovation Consulting World?

huron-acquires-innosightIt always catches you by surprise when one of the leading players within the innovation space makes a change. In this case, Innosight has been acquired by Huron, a fellow professional services firm, one that has the vast majority of their business in the United States. Huron focuses specifically on Healthcare, Education, and Life Sciences and has been to-date far more operationally driven in its delivery solutions.

Being fairly curious you search for the fit and its meaning to both parties as Innosight has been continually shaping their offering to focus more on the strategic positioning of innovation over the past few years as the market has been undergoing a significant change in client demands and innovation solutions. I wanted to work through all of what this might mean and some more.

The transaction overview is ” Huron will purchase Innosight Holdings, LLC for $100 million upon closing, consisting of $90 million in cash and $10 million in Huron common stock, plus contingent consideration of up to $35 million if specific financial performance targets are met over a four-year period”

This time last year we saw another acquiring of a pure innovation firm Continue reading

The New Game Or Is It? Asset Orchestration

asset-management-for-innovationIn a recent post over on a dedicated website for discussing ecosystems and platforms, I was discussing the differences between Amazon and Alibaba. I quote “I’d say Amazon are “asset heavy” whereas Alibaba remains “asset light”.

They might be operating at the two ends of the current internet trading spectrum and are coming from different market maturity positions but it is the asset management that is becoming critical for delivering the profit or dragging performance.

Now Amazon is far from “asset heavy” when you compare them to the Industrial companies like GE but asset orchestration is seemingly getting far greater management time for all companies it seems. The lighter you are, the more likely you are to be more flexible and adaptive to respond to more disruptive challenges being faced by industries that are undergoing the shift to being more “digitally enabled”. Alibaba is very much a good asset orchestrator.

Continue reading

Building Differentiating Capabilities for Innovation

pulling-the-levers-on-all-the-innovation-variablesWe so often get caught up in the building of our capabilities. In some ways, I keep attempting to “peel the innovation onion” in explaining the need to focus on building the capabilities in different ways but to be honest, it needs these various approaches to an ever-changing environment.

A different intensity of innovation onion perhaps? Why, well we have the business of today, the emerging business of tomorrow and the future business that will provide a radically different set of capability building needs?

The struggle to date is that innovation remains hard to manage well; we strive to systematize it and then attempt to replicate any success we then have, so as to achieve more, yet more often than not. we do not take into account all the variables that came together for that particular winning outcome. Often this does not work on a repetitive basis as the variables that make up innovation can be different for each innovation event or activity but we can learn under a growing ‘range of’ differentiating capabilities.

Continue reading

Taking advantage of emergence for discovery

emergence-and-discoverySo this week my research was moving around issues of complexity within innovation and I came across a great paper, written by Deborah Dougherty “Organizing for innovation in complex innovation systems”

Although she is addressing within this paper the bigger more complex social and economic challenges we are facing in healthcare, alternative energy, water scarcity, climate management, poverty and economic revitalization, she is attempting to reframe these into problem resolutions from breaking down discovery into four distinct channels. I liked this thinking.

The new innovating world we face in the 21st Century

Her opening insight is in the twenty-first century we are all requiring more reliance on social technologies that are designed to allow the different technologies to emerge and be allowed to integrate, due to the diversity and diffusion of knowledge. This is different from past practices found within organizations. Dr Dougherty points out much of what takes place today is still based on nineteenth-century practices where organizations were designed to stabilize, scale up and optimize, mostly internally, the scientific and technological knowledge into large working configurations. Continue reading

The future innovation core lies at the edge.

our-new-core-lies-at-the-edgesBoundaries seem to be continually pushed in business, nothing seemingly is standing still, yet we are faced with many things that stay caught up in simply not being changed. Something eventually has to change, there is increasing pressure. We need to jettison old ways and establish new ones. In with the new in 2017, out with the old.

I continue to read and explore as much of the thought leadership on innovation, it continually points to a change in how we approach innovation.We need to embrace this need for change.

I have written about the new innovation era in 2017 made up of higher levels of needed collaboration, where platforms, ecosystems and customer experience understanding become increasingly central. We need to push well beyond our existing core of innovation understanding, we actually need a new innovation institutional design.

We are pushing further away from the old core. Continue reading

Building the Core Competencies for Innovation

Building capabilities 4For my final post of the year, I went back to some of my thinking through, those around the building blocks needed in developing the core competencies for innovation that we need to have in place for realizing its true potential.

For me, the bedrock of innovation is built upon competencies, capabilities, and capacities and all these involve people as well as technology. They go hand in hand in our connected world.

Building these is the core of my own innovation offering in consulting, in advising, mentoring and coaching. My work constantly “maps” back to this essential three “C” of competencies, capabilities, and capacities.

Let me offer some thoughts that build around a framework I work through.

I often break my explanations down on this building core competency into eight parts.

We have two levels to it. The first (or higher level) is the need for a 1) Unifying framework, 2) to gain alignment and this needs two essential aspects to be well-clarified. We need to establish 3) a working blueprint and a clear understanding of 4) the business focus orientation for innovation to reside in.

The outcomes of this top-tier framing then we can begin to construct the underlying level of 5) well-designed competencies that need to be pursued, we need to move the organization or the innovation activities into ones that are seeking out this constant alignment and this needs building 6) critical behaviours, a seeking out of 7) motivators and finally, 8) the dependencies we must have to map back and advance our core and build our innovation competencies upon.

Let me explain these a little more, they tie together. Continue reading