Innovation is very often swimming in uncertain waters that rise and fall just like the waves in a sea: they are choppy, demanding and exhausting to fight against. As uncertainty constantly arises as we discover more, expend more energy, the very nature of our original starting point set down in a well-thought-out, well crafted strategy actually begins to suddenly drop. Then we are left with more ‘open-ended’ questions than answers. Welcome to real innovation where faith and belief play an important part .
There often seems to be constantly arising critical unknowns and sometimes all you are left with as your innovation emerges is just actually and simply a new starting point. A new starting point as the concept is so different to cause you to rethink dramatically. Innovation and its journey of discovery takes you into so many new areas you never expected, when you first thought of the idea or concept. What do you do? Do you abandon this or press on? What helps us maintain a commitment and a course?
Innovation should always deliver on a specific purpose or promise, often it simply doesn’t. It needs to be suitable to our needs; it needs to resolve a given job-to-be done.
In the developed world we are consistently over-delivering innovation for many and there is a given cost to that, which we all pay for even though we often don’t really need it in the first place. Take for example, the software provided by Microsoft for its windows application, in its office versions, they all are over specified for our personal needs. The majority of these ‘sit’ on our computers taking up space and never used. This continued requirement which we are forced to constantly upgrade requires us to seek more computing power yet it is really inappropriate for most people’s needs.
I am getting increasingly disturbed. This week two people I know and respect have been talking about the innovation effect. Is innovation the business process re-engineering of our decade; is it part of a bubble like the the dot.com boom. Is innovation simply a fad and fashionable to talk up when we are in the present economic uncertainties? Is innovation durable or will executives move on to new ‘feeding grounds’ as they smell that possible wind of change? Yes, possibly, I hope not. Innovation is still a very furtile feeding ground.
Innovation is meant to be the catalyst of fresh jobs, new growth and leading us all out to the promise land of wealth and security. Can we place such a burden on the slim shoulders of innovation?
Politicians here in Europe and America are using the past tool kit of tried and tested methods to kick start their economies, restructure the mountains of debt we have accumulated and generally stimulate growth. Our economies remains stuck, entrenched and resistant, even some are about to possibly plunge even further back. So it becomes “time for playing the innovation card”.
Recently I was reminded of an article by Daniel Krauss, writing on the Forrester blog site (http://blogs.forrester.com) about the “Path to Revolution In Management Consulting” which lead me to reply to his question of “what constitutes a management consulting firm 2.0?”
I’ve adapted my view here to reflect where it becomes even more relevant to the innovation consulting companies that I feel are in general struggling in today’s environment, for multiple reasons.
The challenge today lies for many in that they are not providing real consulting value to clients, and unless this will change it will continue to erode the clients confidence in these service providers.
The greater challenge today with innovation is to build a more sustaining framework for innovation to be consistent, like a beating heart, day in and day out.
The struggle is what constitutes the right areas to frame and build innovation capability upon? I argued last year in one of my previous blogs there was a formula. If you go to “A Formula for Sustaining Competitive Advantage through Innovation” at http://bit.ly/95kCI1 it introduces this.
Now we need to align this further.