Innovation struggles to integrate fully within the organization

In the past few weeks I have outlined the existing gaps at the leadership level on innovation engagement and innovations continued lack of being integrated into an organizations strategy. Time and time again there are new reports, surveys and different comments made on this serious disconnect still going on that needs clear resolution.

It is always pleasing to sometimes be on the same track as the Big Consultants, for working on and moving beyond the trends they are spotting and highlighting, into some clear tangible solutions, to help resolve these. Recently McKinsey Quarterly conducted an on-line survey of just under 3,000 executives on issues surrounding innovation. The report is entitled “Making innovation structures work”- see the link below.

They confirm much that I have seen or gained through my research and point very specifically to the key difficulties organizations are presently having around innovation. Continue reading

The Overarching Proposition for the Executive Innovation Work Mat

When you begin to think through something that might change the present dynamics within innovation and its management it becomes exciting. When you develop an emerging answer , by recognizing one really critical gap that needs filling, it becomes hugely exciting actually. Not just in researching it, in debating it but in eventually constructing a sound framework, that is visual, easy to connect too and for hopefully many to become involved and engaged with, brings this work together into a realization that is really rewarding.

For Jeffrey Phillips and me, we believe we are offering something that makes sense through our framework, which we call the Executive Innovation Work Mat, with a link to the short introductory series, published in September 2012.

In our initial White Paper there is the outlines of our thinking behind this Executive Innovation Work Mat.  The important message is that we want to deliver the message into the boardrooms of as many business organizations as we can, with this message of intent which can be simply summed up as “we believe we have a framework that will help the leadership of organizations to identify with, understand their role in this and in this strategic participation and framing innovation intent, so advance the contribution of innovation within their organizations and beyond.”

Let me lay out the overarching proposition for this.

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Lining up the fundamentals in leadership and innovation

A week can feel like a long time, actually this present week has got condensed from six months of investigating, exploring and debating but even now it is only the beginning, that public ‘coming out’ of a new framework for innovation. It is what happens after this first exposure, that we will this find its value and contribution and that does depends on a lot of factors, mostly in other people’s hands. Those that will recognize a clear value to help them and their organizations should welcome this, we hope.

So what am I talking about?

The development of an emerging framework, which we call the Executive Innovation Work Mat, is where we are suggesting, lies the responsibility of the CEO or senior executive, to construct and enact. Executives need to fill a leadership gap found in innovation, and define a robust innovation framework.  They can deliver the missing innovation alignment part by engaging and providing this leadership required in innovation that is often missing. What these contain are outlined in our framework that we have exposed this week in a series of seven blogs. Just click on the link above for the foundation article.

There is a movement detected in the innovation air!

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Seeking engagement for innovation change

I’m right in the middle of a launch of the Executive Innovation Work Mat approach, a series of seven blogs outlining a framework and structured approach to this.  During the seven days these will document seven important “domains” that determine innovation success or failure.

Each domain creates innovation potential, but sustained, successful innovation requires a unified “framework” in which all of these domains are appropriately engaged and aligned.  The development of this framework, which we call the Executive Innovation Work Mat, is the responsibility of the CEO or senior executive.  They can deliver alignment by engaging and providing this leadership required in innovation.

Introduction to the Series of the Executive Innovation Work Mat with image credit: opening curtain image from bigstock

If you have the opportunity, do go over to the www.innovationexcellence.com site to see the first two blogs, the foundation document and whose role it is to design this and why.

The first document is called The Seven Essential Domains for Innovation Leadership – the Work Mat Approach and the second The Critical Role that Senior Leaders must fill for Innovation Success

As this is a collaborative effort between Jeffrey Phillips and me, we see this opening series as the engagement to the innovation community. We are looking for feedback and thoughts to take this forward as we clearly believe it is an important problem within innovation to break down. Continue reading

Leaders need to engage and drive innovation

It continues to amaze me; actually it is depressing that although our business leaders constantly confirm that innovation is in their top three priorities yet they stay stubbornly disengaged in facilitating this across their organizations, especially the larger ones. Of course I am not suggesting this is all our business leaders but I would argue innovation and its ‘make up’ remains a mystery to nearly all our leaders. They are more than willing to allocate responsibility down the organization, failing to recognize their pivotal role in managing or orchestrating innovation engagement themselves, or even ensuring the mechanisms are fully in place. Why is this?

Time and time again you read one report after another, about the leadership gap in innovation or issues relating to innovation disconnecting from the top of the organization. You can read reports from Booz, Allen Hamilton, Boston Consulting, the Conference Board, Harvard Business Review, IBM, A T Kearney, A D Little and many others all reporting issues and gaps in connecting innovation at the top of our organizations. Can they all be wrong, if not then why aren’t our CEO’s listening? Why are we not resolving this and only just keep reporting it?

In March of this year Capgemini Consulting and IESE issued their report called the “Innovation leadership study” and this went deeper than most into the problems. Continue reading

Innovation catalytic converters

A catalyst reactor in our hands

It is sometimes very pleasing that “what goes around, comes around”. Recently I was reading a piece by Scott Anthony, talking about the new era of innovation under his article appearing in the HBR “The New Corporate Garage” http://tinyurl.com/9fy6ua2  and I had one of those ‘coming around moments’ and went on a hunt through my old files.

Then Deanna Lawrence prompted this even further in a twitter note to me and a few others, mentioning a http://www.you tube.com discussion on catalysts and infusions which just added more of the ‘coming around’ that I’m sensing or reading about. Take a look here: http://tinyurl.com/8paprqw. In this video Dr Hans-Peter Neumann of BASF (the Chemical Company) and Marcel Vigneron, a celebrity chef, talk through and describe the unique similarities of innovative catalysis and molecular gastronomy they share in how they approach innovation. I love it when you can share a common language and set of beliefs and gain validation in what you do.

So why does this get my interest?

Well firstly I think there is some movement to a new phase of innovation, maybe to Scott’s forth-era innovation, as he is suggesting in his words: “For catalysts to flourish, companies need to embrace open innovation, approach innovation systematically, simplify and decentralize decision-making mechanisms, and be learning-focused and failure-tolerant. Beyond that, they need to make the pursuit of transformative innovation a purpose-driven activity

I think we are working at both the edges of discovery as we are equally at our core, in innovation and we do need to pursue both in parallel. We need to identify, explore and become more immersed in bigger picture innovation as well as extract from what we have already available, to extend in new, better ways. To catalyse needs considerable experimentation ,trial and error and a real passion and energy to find that ‘reaction’ point. Often it is the ‘raw’ energy and commitment of individuals that provide that catalytic effect. Continue reading