Asset Orchestration is Required for more Dynamic Innovation

to orchestrate 5We all should recognize the incredible power of “orchestration” that is needed in innovation to bring the initial idea into a final successful commercial concept.

We have an ongoing need to create, extend and modify resources constantly and to achieve this we need to orchestrate and enable those resources to exploit and execute on our innovations.

We need to ‘asset orchestrate’.

One of our blind spots is perhaps the focus on pursuing and organizing around innovation just within an organization and not to be as aware of all that is externally going on around us.

There are continued and rapid shifts taking place outside the walls of our organizations, constantly occurring and changing, often it becomes a ‘race’ between spotting an opportunity and executing on it, before your competitors do, or the market further moves on and it becomes a lost opportunity to have exploited.

There is an awful lot of dynamics to consider and are we not just capturing the dynamics of the constant changes but ‘fit’ enough within our organizations to read and react to these in more dynamic ways. Much of what an organization does is simply perform through its established routines, managing the passages that lead from one ‘event’ to the next. These form much of the activities, yet these should never be seen as the end, only the prelude.

We need to fully appreciate the complexities of all the interactions needed to make innovation more dynamic. That’s constantly changing and evolving and like a piece of music it needs this conducting to be thoughtfully manage through the whole piece, the routines and the new understandings and interpretations.

To manage and orchestrate means to lead, to frame, conduct and set the tempo.

The clear intent of any orchestration is the need to extract the underlying value. The person responsible, our conductor, is responsible for managing and searching for new innovation and they need to determine the path. They need to coordinate and integrate all the activities, they need to draw out new learning, new interpretations of the knowledge collectively gathered and reconfigure it all, to deliver something different, fresh and new to the world.

When we begin to want to orchestrate across external innovation networks we not only need to know ourselves extremely well, we also need to know what others can bring and what is missing. Networks and relationships, interactions and knowledge flow needs to be dynamic, they need to be somehow captured and translated, transformed and often reconfigured

Picking up the baton we need to pull together the different fragments

to orchestrate 6Asset orchestration has potentially a real value to appreciate and manage.

There is limited academic research into this but it becomes significantly richer in its importance when you tie it into dynamic capabilities.

Also as we increasing need to understand the value creation in building our networks and relationships, the need for asset orchestration increases so as to build a pathway through gathering knowledge and what you can learn that leads you towards new innovation.

As our organizations become increasingly dependent on specialization the coordination task becomes far more complex and difficult. We constantly need to search, select and configure our resources and capabilities.

Work undertaken to frame this asset orchestration was in different research by Sirmon et al during 2007 and 2008 that focused on the different actions of the manager, or asset orchestrator. They suggest there are three primary stages of structuring, bundling and leveraging resources for the purpose of creating new value for customers and gaining competitive advantages, however temporary in today’s world. It is why this needs to be dynamic, ever evolving, to keep orchestrating your assets continually. These three primary stages can be broken down:

  • Structuring involves acquiring, accumulating and divesting resources to form the organizations resource portfolio.
  • Bundling of integrating resources to form capabilities, that can stabilize or provide incremental improvements to existing capabilities, or that enrich and extend existing current capabilities and thirdly, pioneer, which creates new capabilities.
  • Leveraging involves a sequence of processes to exploit the organizations capabilities to take advantage of specific market opportunities. This includes mobilizing, offering a clear plan or vision of needed capabilities, coordinating for ways to integrate these necessary capabilities and finally, deploying to achieve a resource advantage (or gain) that promotes market opportunities and instils more entrepreneurial strategies to exploit new resource configurations

We are all facing these needs for greater asset synchronization or orchestration.

We need to learn also that innovation needs this growing orchestration, due to this increasing move from firm-centric to network-centric innovation. In my understanding of an orchestrator they needs to manage the tempo, knowing where and when to cue in the different players (learning) and to inject the intensity into the performance.

We are dealing with managing the tempo, interpreting the different passages and movements as interactions become distinct, providing fresh value to build upon.

We need to learn to identify, assimilate and exploit far more than ever, the value of knowing your innovation fitness, your dynamics and the terrain you wish to traverse in new innovation activity becomes even more critical. To create and to extract does clearly need to understand the what, why, where, when and how it needs to go about this.

The orchestrator needs to orchestrate.

Asset OrchestratorTo do this you must orchestrate the capabilities, to purposefully build what is needed to deliver the final result. I have reconfigured my thinking around what will influence the evolution leading from internal innovation capabilities to a whole ‘network’ of these.

It still relies in how you purposefully build and conduct these capabilities and competencies. Orchestration is fundamentally dynamic, full of uncertainties but the need is still to connect the parts to deliver the right result.

Definitely the dynamic view of orchestrating our assets is needed

Finally, orchestration has for me become very important to my ongoing work on the dynamic innovation capabilities for recognizing your innovation fitness landscape and the gaps. These become even more of a challenge when different perspectives and competencies enter the mix, where we urgently need to understand the ‘dynamics of innovation’ even more.

We need to not just know the appropriate resources; we need to work on the skills, processes, routines, organizational structure and disciplines that enable firms to build, employ and orchestrate mostly our intangible assets relevant to satisfying customer needs and which cannot be replicated by competitors.

Assets that deliver the new innovation needed, through attracting in collaboration efforts and integrating these into you own evolving resources and turning into being dynamic in nature.

11 thoughts on “Asset Orchestration is Required for more Dynamic Innovation

  1. Paul,
    Sounds wonderful. But just a tad too wonderful. To do what you propose is precisely why you need an innovation management system. We are not all world class conductors like Gergyev, or closer to home, a Steve Jobs. Most people need a manual and it does not come natural to them. It may take years to play the tune correctly.
    Best Gert


    • I think I opened with “We have an ongoing need to create, extend and modify resources constantly and to achieve this we need to orchestrate and enable those resources to exploit and execute on our innovations” and like any good music it can take years to get to that point.

      Of course you need a system, a manual I’m not so sure but perhaps a decent score sheet and lots and lots of practice.


  2. Well, Paul
    That is all done. What we learned is, the sheet music, the orchestra, and instruments need to be uniquely configured for any organization. So these are pure configuration tools, not prescriptive documents.
    Best Gert


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