Re-ordering the organization’s genetic code for innovation.

As we enter 2012, what really disappoints me is that we still have not cracked the innovation DNA code sufficiently to embed this within the organizations genetic principles, structures or systems for completing an everyday innovating business. Why is that?

I see no reason why innovation cannot be a clear (integrated) management discipline, shared, taught and fully aligned with an organization’s strategic intent and execution. It needs to have a set of molecules that carry the ‘genetic’ innovation information in logical and a comprehensive arrangement, of its separate elements. These need to be strung together like all living cells by a set of clear rules. The code order defines the sequence, the “alphabet” of the organizations ability to innovate. Well that is how it should look if we want to allow innovation to enter the present DNA of an organization. Innovation cannot sit outside or be run in parallel but it needs to form part of the essential organizational code.

I am convinced innovation can be implicitly understood but I still feel there is an awful lot of conflicting advice being offered that must leave many confused. Let me add to the confusion! Continue reading

A Christmas Story on Innovation

Jim turned from staring through his microscope, rubbing his eyes, and looked out the window. It was dark and the snow was really coming down. The lamppost had turned that funny yellow colour, as more and more snow was falling in the car park and building those little domes of snow on top of everything. It was the Friday before Christmas, the last day in the office for three days.

Jim was looking forward to getting home tonight, so he could share some time with the family after having been on a frantic trip to four different cities, on three continents, in seven days, to meet with his different team members. This was quickly put together to coordinate the project they were all working upon, comparing notes, setting some goals for the coming weeks. Continue reading

My one word for 2012 – ingenuity

Some weeks go better than others; I’m sure we all have found that. This last week has been a good one for me. I think my weeks are getting better the more I read and explore other peoples thinking or find that ‘precious’ time to have a good conversation or two- they simply spark and strengthen my identification with critical points for innovation and its need.

This week I was talking to Jeffrey Phillips in one of our regular exchanges and he was asking me if I took some time out, straight after Christmas, to reflect on the past year and also begin to sketch out some of the thinking for next year. I love mind maps to capture these evaluations but I also like to ‘squirrel’ away lots of insights into a folder (scrapes of paper, articles, insights, references and visuals) that sits on my desk, for one of those moments I need reminding or prompting me to get back on track. That folder can stay unopened for weeks but it is a constant ‘drop box’ for those reminders.

Unrelated connectors often occur for gaining new clarity.
Continue reading

Multiple Use of the Business Model Canvas

Recently I was having a ‘conversation’ with Alexander Osterwalder concerning the limited adoption of the Business Model Canvas within large organizations. I was asking him if he agreed and if he had any thoughts on this.

Now if you know Alex, he is either jetting off to somewhere in the world to keep spreading his Business Model gospel, or about to get immersed in his next idea associated with it, so these conversations are grabbing him through twitter or short email exchanges.

Short and sweet

Excellent! One thing I’ve seen: once the Canvas is in an org it spreads organically, virally without my intervention… interesting research topic!”

Those of you in the business world that have either been hiding under a rock recently or obviously as it seems, in a number of larger organizations, the Business model canvas comes from the pioneering work Alex did for his PhD. This was published not just in his thesis but in a bestselling book, as lead author, called ‘Business Model Generation” http://amzn.to/uY9U4b. Also take a look at his site : http://bit.ly/m4DNC1

The books claim of “You’re holding a handbook for visionaries, game changers and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models, and design tomorrow’s enterprise” on the cover, it sets itself up for the imaginative person striving to alter the status quo within their business. Continue reading

The Accelerating Innovation Tide Across Asia.

Asia is moving towards the remaking of the innovation landscape, I have no doubt about that. Over the next ten years or so, along with a number of other wealth generating activities, the centre of gravity for innovation will shift increasingly towards the East.

I have been lucky to see part of this taking shape in my 15 odd years being based in Asia until recently. For twelve years I was based in Singapore and it is still, like all of Asia, on my advisory radar. Innovation in Asia is quite different; here are some of the dynamics. Others will follow.

The combinations abound are ‘rich and heady’.

With the attraction of fast growing markets, rapidly growing middle classes, rising education standards with millions of graduates emerging across Asia and plentiful state funding you have a powerful cocktail to ‘kick start’ innovation. For many countries in Asia they are well passed the ‘kick start’ and more into the establishing and maturing of their specific ‘brand’ of innovation.

The West views Asian innovation through the wrong lens. Continue reading

Innovation Convention 2011, EU organised, Brussels

The European Commissions Innovation Convention 2011

I was planning to go to this convention held in Brussel over December 5th & 6th, 2011, but eventually was forced to stay back in the office to complete some work for different projects I’m working on.

Thankfully the main conference was on line so I was able to follow it, even if a little selectively.

I’m sure you agree conferences or in this case a convention, are often ‘variable feasts.’ You never find everything appealing or valuable to you, but even at a distance I did find plenty of interesting areas in those I was able to watch. I hope they make many of the sessions freely available post convention as they have much to draw ‘inspiration and understanding’ from for all of us.

I’m not planning this as a detailed report of the convention but to reflect  and comment about why I think it provided a good contribution to the innovation debate(s), especially here in Europe. We do need to ‘tune in’ more on what these events can offer, if managed well, in depth and breadth of innovation’s scope. I’m singling out some of the more striking moments for me. Continue reading

Is innovation within the consulting sector under enough pressure?

In a recent study (see below for details) it seems innovation activities need to change within what consultants are offerings as services to their clients. The study makes for fascinating reading and answers a number of questions I’ve been recently having. Let me expand on this:

One: there is increasing less time available within the mid to large consultants to train, research and development for their services so as to differentiate themselves in innovation, in what is actually becoming even more of a crowded market. Focusing on maximising utilization and containing overheads and costs leaves less time to think and develop.

Two: equally the cumulative experiences of clients in dealing with consultants, especially through the practice of more central procurement, has added more pressure on consultants not providing ‘added extra’s’ or to take more radical approaches to innovation solutions for the risk of being compared badly, not offering clear returns and then screened out of the bidding process. Continue reading