The argument for a National Innovation Institute

Further to my last blog post on a need for a National Ministry of Innovation, I’d like to expand on this further as I’m presently here in Singapore and feel this is even more topical.

Always Singapore provides you with a positive impression when it comes to development. It is a country that consistently experiments and explores its options to grow its economy. Innovation is within this mix but I still think it should be more central, visible and coordinated to extract that little ‘extra juice’ often needed today.

Visiting Singapore on this trip I’ve been examining where innovation ‘fits’, and there are plenty of examples of experimentation backed up by investment seed money, but for me, innovation still lacks a certain coherency and consistency of purpose within policy. I feel with the changing nature of innovation and its increasing value creation aspect it does need to be given a greater sense of attention, so further investments can build innovation deeper into the fabric of society. A national innovation body can bring this coherency of purpose that Singapore strives for. Continue reading

A Need for a Ministry of Innovation

I am presently busy preparing for a visit to Singapore. I balance my time between Switzerland and Singapore as my business base and as they are ranked 1 & 3 in the WEF’s Global Competitive Index, it is sometimes hard to get an even deeper attention to innovation as this sort of ranking gives a certain belief, yet I often wonder why. I think countries often get blindsided in the pursuit of what they know and ignore what they seemingly can’t capture.

Let me be perfectly clear both countries I operate between, take competitiveness seriously; they both have a real need to maintain their attraction to foreign investment for their prosperity, as they have limited resources to call upon if you compare them to the USA, China, India or Germany for example, and do set about creating the right environment for this but they have their blind sides it seems to me still. Continue reading

A Formula for Sustaining Competitive Advantage through Innovation

Sustainability is central to innovation’s future progress

Today’s challenge for me is not only to be building the innovation capacity but also to be establishing clear ways on how we should set about sustaining it. Increasingly it is necessary for organizations to have a capability and capacity to sustain Innovation so it can provide the stimulus for lasting growth. To get there though, it does seems this must be through continued learning so your capabilities become stronger, evolving and more unique, thus making them more difficult for competitors to understand and imitate.

Let me outline an innovation framework that builds capability through a sustained approach.

When you set out to build capability to be sustaining you need to consider there are two types of capabilities, distinctive, which are the characteristics of the organization which cannot be replicated by others and reproductive, which can be bought in by the competition but always need to need to be appropriate to any objectives you are trying to achieve. Continue reading

The Amplified Individual needed for Innovation

I have been reading a fascinating report compiled for Nesta (www.nesta.org.uk) entitled “Amplified Leicester- Impact on social capital and cohesion”, written by Thilo Boeck and Sue Thomas of De Montford University (www.dmu.ac.uk)

As we all struggle with the increasing needs and complexity of innovation capacity it is the power of combining a greater diversity that holds real promise in the future

In this report it explores at the intersection of difference, amplification and transliteracy the achievements of a city-wide experiment in Leicester to grow the innovation capacity across the city’s disparate and diverse communities, and to share new skills which are fast becoming essential in 21st century workplaces and communities. It looks at social capital and uses emerging social media and provides a framework that allows for a diverse group to move towards cohesion and amplification. Continue reading

The yin yang of innovation

Recognizing its dual force

Scholars tell us that there are two natural complementary, yet contradictory forces at work within our universe. The Chinese call these ‘Yin Yang’. Yin is regarded as more passive, receptive, more outside-in, whereas Yang is more active, creative and inside-out. These are seemingly opposing forces but interconnected and interdependent, one gives rise to the other, they actually reinforce each other. Yin & yang seemingly have the following characteristics: they are opposing, yet equally rooted together; they have the power to transform each other and eventually are balanced out.

Yin Yang in Idea Management

As a good example of these opposite forces we often are required to both generate a large number of different ideas, and apply the countervailing need of selecting from among those that best can meet the organizations objectives. It is critically important to have this ‘flow and balance’ and allow it to constantly evolve. Continue reading

Exnovation’s place in the innovation life cycle

I was some time back reminded about the term “exnovation” in an interim report prepared for NESTA by the City University, London and the Work Psychology Group entitled “Characteristics & Behaviours of Innovative People in Organizations.”

Exnovation is if you were unaware, is at the end of the innovation life-cycle, where it “discards” or even purges existing practices to allow the organization to adopt different and fresh thinking to any new innovation activities. A number of writers have discussed exnovation but its first use was attributed to Kimberly in 1981, who described innovation as a series of processes which in combination define an innovation life-cycle (Fiona Patterson, City University for NESTA). Continue reading

The real desperate need for innovation

Our past business models are not sustaining us, to take us forward. We have made this ‘rod for our own backs’ by producing  thousands of competent managers, risk-adverse not risk- taking managers, with our business leaders continually look over their shoulders or in the rear view mirror who have become short term in most of their actions. Governments still take ‘adversarial’ positions.

Business still seeks short term results. The end result of much of the activities of the past decade have led us to build a ‘failure framework’, one more sustaining old model being layered on top of other equally out dated approaches, and not the ones that can shift us truly up a gear or two, into a new age of prosperity. Continue reading