Where are the new feeding grounds of innovation?

Credit Wildebeest migration, Kenya, by Bonnie Cheung

Wildebeest migration, Kenya by Bonnie Cheung

I am presently reading an early release draft of a book written by Mike Docherty of Venture2, on innovation, and I would certainly recommend the read when it comes out. The book Collective Disruption will be available as of February 2015.

The book as Mike wrote to me, is aimed at corporate leaders, both in large and small companies, charged with new sources of transformative growth and makes the case for co-creating new businesses with entrepreneurial partners. It builds on a foundation of open innovation, but is focused specifically on new business creation (vs core business support).

I know that Mike is passionate about the intersection of corporate innovation and entrepreneurship for co-creating new businesses and business models. As CEO of Venture2, a consulting and new ventures firm, he works with leading brand companies and start-ups to commercialize breakthrough new products and businesses.

Mike has experienced disruption many times.

This crisis is personal one to Mike, as he has seen and been involved in numerous points of innovation disruption. As he states in his book: “I have been on both sides of the conference table as it (disruption) has unfolded. In my work inside and outside of big brands, I have come to know, respect, and work alongside the managers who have to make innovation work for both the company and the customer. Theirs is a serious challenge. I know because it has been and continues to be, mine as well”.

Mike was part of the turnaround team at Sunbeam Corporation some years back, who combined became really creative thinkers and they become well respected in pioneering many of the aspects of open innovation. They achieved an impressive delivery of 150 product launches in the second year by leveraging partnerships and the internal creative forces, going from the previous 10 new products in the first year. This experience took Mike into a new direction and helped form his business evolution in his work with his venture business and boutique consulting practice, Venture2.

In his book he clearly stated open innovation is not enough.

The core of his book is firstly arguing the old definitions of innovation are dead (this I totally agree with) and as he states new ideas are coming from everywhere, emerging competitors are disrupting established companies every day. Companies need to increasingly focus on new business creation for step-change growth.

Yet as he states, and I totally agree, this is a scary place to go for big companies, as this is transformative innovation and most are simply are not good at undertaking this. His book sets out to address that ‘soft spot’ in the big- company skill set. It is all about understanding, learning ad playing the collaborative disruption game. This he believes comes through a collective disruption model where you engage more with the entrepreneurial ecosystem to create market-disrupting businesses. That means collaborating earlier and more deeply with partners and that’s the roadmap he’s trying to share with this book.

Mike lays out some practical approaches in each phase of corporate/start-up co-creation: discovery, definition, incubation and integration. And he supports his case with interviews and examples from some leading exponents of innovation He offers a book for the insider of big organizations but also for the partners found outside, as well as for the many entrepreneurs that will find they are dealing with big organizations. They need faster-scale up and preparation for a successful exit, early engagement of the bigger company into the new value proposition, either threatening them or enabling them to enter into a new area of their innovation.

So this is a book that goes beyond transactional approaches and focuses on the need for relationship-based networks and a solid understanding of the innovating ecosystem, one of collective disruption for future growth.

So we are at the end of the old era of innovation?

That era that did have self-imposed walls and traditional (old-fashioned) design. Today we need to build our ecosystems, seeking out partners and entrepreneurs alike. This does call for being far more disruptive, as Mike suggests in his book “Collective Disruption,” we need the new order, where you can navigate, always with some risk, into new growth opportunities by constantly learning and collaborating with others.

I would argue once you become familiar with managing in disruptive times, in working with partners all dependent on each other, in mutual and ever-increasingly ecosystems, you learn to look well beyond your old self-imposed borders.  You will suddenly see this new innovation expanse where you can begin to roam to explore increased innovation opportunities. You recognize that migration of constantly moving and change that becomes essential, a necessity that gives you a greater chance to not just survive but feed off of those new innovation opportunities.

A place Mike suggests: “where you’re living the unique challenge of creating transformational and step-change growth”.

Finding that set of collaborating capabilities and competencies that can be successfully unleashed as our new innovation activities, ones that can be radically different- they create real growth. One’s where agility, lean and risk-taking become more of the norm, they are dynamic, ever evolving and changing, and so those innovation activities are richer in eventual outcomes.

A place to keep you healthy and sustaining and growing by traversing constantly across a very different, ever changing (and challenging) landscape, than the one you left behind that also needs renewal.

For some reason reading this book triggered thoughts of the mass migration of Wildebeests in East Africa

As I was reading through the opening chapters, for some reason, it triggered a thought of the mass migration of the Wildebeest in East Africa. The old-established practices on innovation are exhausted; we do need to change our approaches and mind-sets to find those new ‘feeding grounds’ of innovation.

Why this book triggered this is that disruption is becoming part of our business life, or it should be. To stay alive today or to remain healthy, you have to leverage and extract from the whole innovation eco-system to create the different conditions; equally you need to take increasing risks to transform and improve your chances of survival.

Watching the frantic herds of the wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River can be very spectacular; there are often scenes of great panic and confusion as the massive predator crocodiles in the river wait to pounce. Utter disruption yet necessary to survive and prosper for all involved. For business, are these predators the consultants advising a business with often conflicting messages adding even more panic, or the entrepreneurs, who seize the ‘feeding opportunity’ to fatten up by creating the frenzy that goes with this crossing point?

When you make a significant move away from your established ‘feeding grounds’ you suddenly have such an expanse of new opportunity but it is not without risk, the risk of crossing over, recognizing the other side is essential to be the place for new,real growth.

I could not get this thinking out of my head of migrations as I continued into the book. Strange isn’t it on what sometimes does get triggered as connections as you read a book?

Are we about to witness this mass movement to find new innovation opportunities?

Mike’s book Collective Disruption certainly nudges us along, it does lay out a case for change, a contributing part of the processes and understandings that needs to ‘stir the forces’ we do need to bring about for real innovation change. Mike, in his book, partly catches that sense of the wind of change, that is blowing and needed for innovation. Mike offers some highly practical solutions and thinking, based on his depth of knowledge and experiences within his work of approaching your need to change, with an imaginative framework to help you navigate the terrain, so as to make the necessary transition for yourself and your organization.

Innovation, certainly is for me, in real need of changing; the global forces and those competing are making the mass within our companies restless for change. We are on the road to migration; finding new solutions built far more based on collective and disruptive approaches, that will offer far better innovation outcomes for sustaining our futures and opportunities for achieving better levels of growth we need.

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One thought on “Where are the new feeding grounds of innovation?

  1. Pingback: Why We Are Entering A New Innovation Era. | Paul4innovating's Innovation Views

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