Aware, Exploit and Sustain Innovation Framework

I have a secret confession to make, I collect innovation frameworks, there I’ve admitted to it, and feel just that little bit better that one of my innovation secrets is out.

This collection has built up over eight or so years and I have certainly seen some really excellent ones but also some seem pretty thin, those “oh dear” moments! I suppose I collect these a little like collecting pictures; some rare, some new, some promising but you can recognize and appreciate each for expressing that often difficult task of encapsulating innovation in any organizing framework.  Sometimes it simply boils down to each to their own, as long as it does the job, then fine.

Although I’m always curious to see how these seemingly can differ so much. Many I’m just convinced don’t go underneath the initial organizing framework top picture and I feel that is wrong. Some just seem to skate on innovation ‘thin’ ice.

I’ve used one over a number of years that I feel builds innovation systematically.
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The Innovating Power of Eight Words

Lately eight words have come up more often than not as the new imperative for business, not just for the start up but the more established business to measure themselves against. We live in ‘volatile’ times and they reflect what we have to constantly remind ourselves to do and they just are keeping me buzzing at present.

These are: Adapt, Investigate, Agility, Speed, Scale, Impact, Experiment, and Execute.

Here is my take on the power of these eight words that need to be in our innovating lexicon Continue reading

Innovation is simply in crisis near you.

Over the weekend I was enjoying my cappuccino and suddenly it started to taste bitter, not from the actual coffee but from what I was settling down to read.

I enjoy a lot of what Steve Denning writes and his series in nine parts on “Why Amazon Can’t Make a Kindle in the USA” (start here ) has really hit home on the seriousness we are facing in Western countries over innovation capabilities.

He mentions the “decades of outsourcing manufacturing have left U.S. industry without the means to invent the next generation of high-tech products that are key to rebuilding its economy”, as noted by Gary Pisano and Willy Shih in a classic article, “Restoring American Competitiveness” (Harvard Business Review, July-August 2009).

The pursuit of profit is killing innovation Continue reading

Tacit Knowledge- Rich in its Innovation Implications.

Imagine if we could understood tacit knowledge better—what it was, how we can set about to capture it and organise it effectively, once acquired how it can be built upon even further. How can we learn to recognize it more actively as as essential part of our lives, when to trust it, how to teach it to others, how to share what it has offered to us, as individuals, to others.

Then imagine what it could provide us for this knowledge to be leveraged within any broader community use, so it is knowingly valued by others as something they can gain from, not as we often do, simply reject it as not within ‘our’ experience. That could be pretty valuable. It could give us a deeper understanding and empower us to function better in many sorts of situations. Then surely we must search for understanding this more and what it means, as in this case, for relating it to innovation.

Let’s start off by stating tacit knowledge is inherently inefficient, so is good innovation; it is messy, often unstructured. Why do we continue to not give this TK sufficient ‘head space’ in our thinking? Is this because it is not tangible, that softer aspect that we reject as we don’t have time for it or simply we don’t ‘trust’ it like those ‘hard’ quantifiable measuring points? Continue reading

A quick innovation translation

Often you can be asked or placed in a position where you have to assess quickly the innovation capability of an organization, a unit or a team, working on an innovative concept to deliver in changing market or organizational circumstances and can they?

There are many ways to do this but when someone says “look, (and takes a long breath) it has to be really quick as we need to make some fairly swift decisions to meet some deadlines” then you can’t go and propose a three month study, or to construct an extensive questionnaire. Sometimes a real urgency needs some sharpening down within your focus.

You certainly need to be careful in accepting these assignments and ensure you set out some caveats and qualifications before you accept them.

  • Caveat lector, “let the reader beware”
  • Caveat emptor, “let the buyer beware”
  • Caveat venditor, “let the seller beware”

Six honest men are often simply not enough. Continue reading

Recognition of a better soft skill taxonomy for innovation

In our present uncertain environment, it is becoming increasingly important to build our ‘transferable skills’ for our future employability, adaptability and occupational mobility. The amount of economic restructuring presently underway will require a far more flexible workforce in the future that needs to have a wide range of transferable skills. Knowing what and where it will be is valued is becoming important for all of us to understand.

Released in late September 2011 there has been a timely report for the European Commission as part of the Social agenda for modernising Europe entitled “Transferability of Skills across Economic Sectors”,  ISBN 978-92-79-20946-8, doi:10.2767/40404 © European Union, 2011 found in the DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion section under this link: I think this helps build a better understanding of the different skills required and especially for me, a better structure for softer skill definitions

The background to this report is the increasing concerns within the EU as to how to improve its competitiveness and redirect the European economy towards higher added value to generate new and better jobs. This increasingly relies upon a more strategic management of human resources. Continue reading