Building Innovation Capability Through Three Interlocking Platforms

Interlocking rings BorremanA little while back I was reading somewhere an academic paper and it triggered a thought, so I set about capturing it for this post, then it somehow got filed away.

So this is the reworked opening thought to record the idea to ‘capture’ it, so I can reflect later on, about how I should build on this further. I show a number of hyperlinks to help in pulling this together…..well for me anyway!

So this is a work-in-progress and should be taken as a thinking out loud at this stage.

Linking capability through interlocking platforms

We are in need of a different “sustaining” capacity build around innovation as its continuous core, constantly evolving, adapting, learning and adjusting, in perpetual motion.

How? Innovation has many ‘touch points’, a myriad of dimensions that need to be aligned and integrated. How can we achieve this more holistic view, so innovation management can make a significant advancement on where we are today?

Making the business case for innovation to change is not easy but essential

Innovation management is today, mostly standing outside organizations operating structures. Due to this, innovation is often missing the critical line-of-sight from top management and it often suffers accordingly. The numerous resource constrains, a lack of cohesion, alignment and seen creation value are becoming a real performance drag against rising expectations and needs. Capabilities, capacity to innovate well, and the competences are sub-optimal. We need to achieve a greater line-of-sight into the make up of these for raising the potential from our innovation activities.

Innovation needs to be more central in core process thinking or we are in danger of staying with the same as it seems sort of comfortable. We actually do need much to shift, a more radical thinking in our future innovation design, all getting possible through technology and the wonders of the cloud.

Do we grab this shift in incremental bits or push for a more radical redesign of the innovation process? I would argue we can grasp the opportunity to redesign it through our understandings of what we have learnt about innovation to date, bring in the solutions through technology that offers innovation so much and find solutions that can deliver innovation into the core of organizations, so it becomes seemless and the critical enabler or driving ‘engine’ of the business going forward.

One critical design thought I have is having three mutually supporting capability building platforms

Within an organizational setting you need to have in place three supporting building platforms: 1) organizational supporting, 2) knowledge and competency gathering abilities and 3) a clear innovation process to channel themselves through, as final products or new services. All three need to be in place. They stack together.

If you have these three platforms in place you can begin to move from more of an ad hoc set of capabilities through to a more integrated, synergistic and interlocking set of capabilities. A complete picture where you can see and exploit differently when you are needing existing capabilities to be brought  together diferently and combine in unique constantly evolving new ways. Well that’s the theory.

Organizational support platform is made of proving clear leadership and commitment to building capabilities, set in place an infrastructure that accesses, anchors and diffuses capacity so it not just flows but is constantly creating and exploiting for new economic and social value. You need to make sure the conditions for a trusting environment and climate are actively worked on and supported, and finally provide the resources and ways to measure this to support and re-enforce the value of each corporate initiative. You should take a look at a earlier blog here:

Knowledge & competency platform is where you permit time to discover and absorb what is being made available. The key absorptive capacities mentioned above. Deliberately allowing the time to explore both the external world and the internal world, and then setting about to capturing this ‘new’ knowledge through clear consolidation techniques and technology is vital. Knowledge should focus on a given core and context of what the organization is looking to achieve and want to learn from/about. You need to explore explicit and tacit knowledge. See my recent blog on value of tacit knowledge:

Innovation Process platform lies at the heart of your innovation capability needs. This I have called the Innovation Business Architecture within work I completed with Jeffrey Phillips of OVO and can be viewed here . The process needs to have in place the capability to explore, to converge, to keep moving through the innovation pipeline a portfolio and be able to consistently consolidate and further exploit the ‘raw’ material of ideas and concepts by designing in some controls and risk management. Other thoughts for thinking through the innovation process are discussed here as well.

Moving from ad hoc to an integrated, synergistic and unique state

It is not just simply having in place the three platforms outlined above; each is a building block on top of one another, dependent for the ‘strength’ of the interlocking structure, to achieve a ongoing momentum that reduce many of todays ad hoc capabilities, often hidden and undervalued into to this integrated state where the flow and connecting can enable a much higher level of performance through greater line of sight and then applying more the appropriate resource inputs and training.

The need is to recognize that you do move, over time and dedicated effort, from ad hoc availability into a more formalised and recognized capability building process, it covers a more broad-based structure where the three building platforms become tightly integrated to gain a more synergistic effect. Then those that participate can see and to learn from this growing innovation capacity feeding into the three platforms. It over time will also provide increasing self-governance as it becomes visible to all.

The need for external inputs is essential

Building the internal capabilities happens by the way it ‘embraces’ the world. The more you seek, the more you gain, the more you are able to see new possibilities. Seeking knowledge externally clearly comes from the encouragement of exploring networks, building relationships – accessing the external capacities through scanning, scouting and collaborating openly.

Finally market-learning capabilities feed into this cascading need

The real strength of appropriate innovation is designing in the right tension points – see my blog post on this. Appropriateness has to be designed in. Set within these platforms you need to build in new (ongoing) capabilities for Co-creation orientation, Customer Knowledge Acquisition, Customer Sharing Dialogues and Information Interpretation.

This knowledge becomes your collective memory where capabilities learn and grow from these customer conversations, actively sought. Not only will you learn, but you have to unlearn here. Having a reflective market-learning outcome part enables new learning opportunities to be embedded and often triggering behavioural change. For me I feel the “cascading effects” are underappreciated and I have suggested in earlier post on the cascading frame and possible outcome benefits on approaching this.

A short ‘call to action’ summary

I would argue strongly the need to focus on the value of having a clear innovation capability platform structure needs to be a ongoing transforming one pushing the organization into a perpetual learning one, that draws in from each of these different platforms to be combined up to meet and address the tasks and challenges it faces. These are unique to each environment. We need to bring innovation into organization alignment and make it more central to its organization core and that I have suggested a work mat alignment framework to help in this.

This growing capability for increased innovation maturity can offer much.

I need to thing what makes up each of these platforms and know the points where they interlock and feed into each other. That is another stage of thinking to be undertaken to validate what seems a ‘good idea’ into something that will work.

If you want to find out more, keep tuned in or simply track me down. This is some of my early thoughts so as I said previously stated, as a work-in-progress.

I keep looking to finding the ways and the means for building innovation capabilities and capacities. It is my passion and focus within what I like to do across my innovation activities.

What triggered this thought was based from an academic paper from H E Essmann & N D du Preez advancing the view of maturity application and innovation models.


3 thoughts on “Building Innovation Capability Through Three Interlocking Platforms

  1. Pingback: Building Innovation Capability Through Three In...

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  3. Pingback: Is this really breaking the Traditional Model on Innovation? | Paul4innovating's Innovation Views

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