Intractable’s needing resolution for innovation to flourish in organizations
So what does block innovation? Arguably there are plenty of things up and down organizations: a lack of resources, an overcrowded portfolio of ideas, a lack of dedicated people, treating innovation as one off, keeping it isolated and apart from mainstream activities. The list could go on and on, no question.
Let’s take a different perspective.
If you could ask those that lead innovation, your senior organizational leadership, a series of question that might help unlock innovation blockages would that be valuable? This would need a good external facilitator as my recommendation who has deep innovation knowledge and expertise, able to manage the ‘dynamics’ within the room.
What would happen if you could get the leadership in a room together to discuss innovation which would allow innovation dialogues to emerge? Perhaps allowing those conversations that begin to build a common understanding, a common language for innovation? Different views can surface for the challenges but they all need addressing. Gaining a working consensus to share across the organization so these blockages can be openly discussed and in time resolved.
Seven parts to the Innovation Litmus Test for the Executive Innovation Work Mat methodology
Let’s cut straight to the chase. To achieve the alignment of innovation to the organizations strategic goals and ambitions is so highly critical, yet we are, in so many cases, failing to meet this essential objective. We end up in that position that innovation disappoints.
We should bring together all that makes up those considerable efforts that goes into all our innovation activity. We need to work at strongly aligning all the innovation activities into the organizations goals and agenda. So how? Stay with me, I believe its valuable to your finding better innovation solutions.
To this end the Innovation Executive Work Mat was designed. I would recommend you consider this within your innovation thinking. It provides a structured framework for an organization to gather around but it is leadership driven and often this is simply missing within innovation activities.
We are in need of fresh growth through innovation
Keeping our global leaders safe, behind the barbed wire of Davos.
So the annual meeting in Davos is currently taking place. Those of us who are peering through the barbed wire trying to understand and pick up on current thinking by many of our global leaders are scratching our heads, wondering
We hope we can deepen our understanding of these trends, wanting Global leaders to turn their talking into real action and also be ready with applicable supporting solutions or at least readying ourselves for these possible changes. Our leaders do need help.
Listening and watching you do question who is actually tuned-in to the current trends or not. Oh yes, Davos is back full of conflicting signals and potential promises.
PwC have produced their annual global CEO survey (download here) and lead with this as the suggested conclusion from interviewing 1,344 CEO’s across 68 countries:
“The global economic recovery continues to be fragile, but with immediate pressures easing. CEO’s are feeling more optimistic and gradually switching from survival mode to growth mode.
As the latest PwC Annual Global CEO Survey shows, the changes they’re making within their organisations now have less to do with sheltering from economic headwinds and more to do with preparing for the future”
So how are CEO’s responding?
Innovation is like a tropical rainforest
Recently I have been asked about my innovation activity ‘going forward’ and I described it like a forest needing some fresh attention. There is my need to cut down certain trees, clear away a lot of the floor covering to allow the sunlight in and permit those ‘selected innovation tree’s’ to be allowed to grow stronger.
We all have those times where we need to choose, to pursue clearer pathways we believe are better for us. To be more selective in what we do, to be more focused and hopefully achieve a better, lasting result that hopefully offers a more satisfying set of outcomes, to both clients and to ourselves.
Within this comparison I am presently making of innovation being like a forest, I really began to see so much more of a connection in what is happening around in innovation that it can be compared to understanding a tropical rainforest. There are many comparisons, let me outline some of these here.
The ecosystem within the rainforest is also needed for innovation to work effectively
Firstly I would argue that innovation, to be managed well, needs to operate like an ecosystem, the same as a tropical rainforest. Ecosystems to flourish need to experience critical feeds, in the rainforest this is high average temperatures and significant rainfall. Well innovation to thrive needs equal attention; it needs a real focus, above average and significant attention to be well maintained.
Organizations have been focused for far too long around the importance of financial capital. It determines and drives organizations destinies. We are caught in a constant focus upon our achieving a return on our (financial) capital as our measuring criteria. Organizations strive for improving their ROCE, RONA, IRR, EVA and a host of other financial measures.
As Clayton Christensen has been arguing the agenda of organizations begins and ends with the “search for numbers”. I think there is a time for changing this, we need to search for the knowledge that makes-up eventually the numbers.
There has been a distant voice for some time putting forward the need to appreciate and value the other capitals sitting within organizations. Much of the discussions have been housed under the term “intellectual capital” which denotes the sum of knowledge made up and contributed by our human assets, our organizational structures and our relationships that are developed. These are the ‘capitals’ that transform into economic value through organization action. It is the financial capital that simply finances this.
Polar vortex and innovation vortex are both deep freezes
America is presently trapped in their “polar vortex” We are reading reports telling us that temperature records were shattered across the United States on Tuesday as the polar vortex continued to take hold, with all 50 states experiencing freezing temperatures at some point in the day.
As I’m sure many experiencing this extreme weather that is giving us this polar vortex most have become aware of what is causing it. It is a circulating pattern of strong winds flowing around a low-pressure system, which normally sits over the Arctic during winter.It is not a single storm.
These winds tend to keep the bitter cold air locked in the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. However, when the vortex breaks down or splits into two, the vortex becomes distorted and dips much further, allowing this to spill farther southward than you would normally find it, sending this very cold air further south.
For many organizations they are also presently trapped in an innovation vortex.