Delivering the innovation core: building capability, capacity and competency.

Building capabilities 4Each organization needs to understand its strategic resources to build continuously, so as to sustain and grow the organization; otherwise it will eventually die, starved of what is vital to sustain itself.

The resources provide the lungs that give oxygen; they need to constantly be nurtured, too breathe and pump new life into the existing.

For innovation the same applies, we need to consistently build our innovating resources, they give delivery of the healthy living cells to promote and sustain us in new value potential.

The problem is we often are not very good at maintaining our resources and innovation activity. We just simply do not sustain our efforts, we tend to allow them to drift along or become lopsided from one individual teams efforts, while the others simply ‘wallow’

Equally organizations rarely set about designing the right conditions, working towards the innovation environment that ‘delivers’ a particular state of being, so as to allow something positive to happen, it just expected to happen. Do we even bother to check for the real pulse of our innovation efforts?

My belief is if we do not have a constant working and reworking of these conditions we can’t honestly expect our organization to build the capacity, capability and competency we need for innovation to take hold, embed and becomes the long-term driver of the growth our organizations need and desire. We need to design a more sustaining effort

How do you develop the capacity to be exceptionally good every day? It is this constant focus on building the capabilities that matter, yet often we are not aware of those that significantly contribute, against those that are necessary to have or simply those that we need around to maintain what we have achieved.

Combining capability with capacity and competence becomes essential.

It is the combination effect of skills, organization abilities, processes and learning that combines to get things done. They individually and collectively impact performance.

Are organizations clear on what makes-up their core competencies? Do they constantly evaluate these within a consistent evolving set of changing market conditions or are they rather static, inwardly driven and not outwardly aware?

I have been working on for some time –actually it seems for ever- on a framework that separates the static needs of working innovation with the more dynamic ones that make the difference and provide the abilities to turn every-day activity into more distinctive, breakthrough, radical or disruptive innovation outcomes. This work-in-progress I keep building upon,can be explored on a dedicated web site of

We do need to plan a capability maturing pathway so as to move our capabilities and competencies through from often a current ad-hoc state. We need to turn these into a more formalized and predictive, planned out state, which brings a more integrated approach so as to extract any synergies but allows for a decent level of autonomy to grow individuals, yet build teams that constantly ‘form’ and reform to tackle the challenges the innovation opportunity presents to bring those to a successful fruition in better ways.

Organizations seem not to learn from common mistakes

The amount of inconsistency in innovation (fits and starts) ,the turning off and on holds the building of our capabilities and competencies to innovate continuously back. We do need to have a consistent, well-thought through plan for innovation development within organizations that is a resource development plan that has its distinct budgets, plans and dedicated group that is accountable to deliver on these plans, updated like all others within the normal planning cycles of the organization.

Innovation needs to be central within the new business core

When are we going to recognize that innovation should be a real core of our organization’s make-up? I wrote a three part series about “moving innovation into our core” (here, here and here)

I concluded with the emphasis on technology within all our organizations that we are in need of a radical newly designed Enterprise-wide innovation process. One that is embracing and adapting constantly to all we have been learning about how innovation works and what technology, digital, networks, relationships and social streaming brings that all needs to be fully integrated within this redesign.

Innovation requires increasing agility, flexibility and allowing creativity to flourish on a constant, evolving basis. Today, innovation often stays outside the mainstream system and operational structures, often to it’s and the organizations detriment. as it is seen as something that does not fit the ‘norm’. This is today’s innovation problem

Innovation needs to be fluid, open, responsive; sometimes reliant on the instinct, hunch or powerful insight that is never ‘predictable’ but suddenly emerges from a collision of events, or random thoughts that lead to a new insight, a game changing one. It is really hard to turn this ‘randomness’ or serendipity into a system but certainly not impossible.

How are we going to design our innovation capabilities, competencies or capacity unless we fully recognize the dramatic changes in business that are now underway and what this needs to be addressed, to allow for a more responsive, fluid, agile and adaptive culture, to flourish and respond so as to generate the better innovation of the future we need.

Recognizing differences

There are real differences when it comes to building innovation understanding and equipping your organization to perform at improved levels. There are different traits, actions and activities to think through. Here are some of the needs:

* We need to build far more serendipity into what we do, also random connections,as well as purposeful discovery, by seeking out increasing connections and engaging in networks of learning and mutual exchange. Places where we are turning curiosity into reality and building our innovation mental abilities for growth, development and accomplishment, opening up and being receptive and then translating this into new innovation.

* We need to embed into our new innovation core new routines and thinking. It is determining the changes needed by those new combinations of fusion by seeking out the chemistry from all the connections and exchanges, pushing for creative collisions, positive tensions and dynamics to engage fully in innovation, so the culture, climate and environment are vibrant, challenging and exciting.

* We need to constantly seeking the new space from knowledge exploitation and exploration, redefining the organization edges, enlarging and enhancing our understanding, pushing constantly out, constantly evaluating, discovering and aligning growth options and then seeking out those outcomes that potentially offer the right return on innovation

* We need to place learning into the centre, to allow our capability building, new competencies to grow and evolve. We focus on the constant need to provide the mechanisms so as to improved performance and capacities by focusing on both our mental and physical abilities to our position and function to explore and exploit. Each contributes to our ability to receive, hold and absorb new knowledge. We measure these by the increased volume and quality outcomes

* We need new structures, attitudes, investment and motivation to change, to focus on innovation building that needs instilling and coming from the top, not just as a commitment that must happen but integrated and aligned into the strategic thinking and planning, worked through a clear pathway of change to achieve a different, core innovation capability..

* We need to determine the abilities to deliver in effective, focused, efficient and aligned ways. Knowing what is important, seeking out the actions to support and deliver the part needed to achieve the desired goals. Adjusting as we go, as we learn, ramping up what is working, dampening down what is clearly not.

* We need to build innovation by working it continuously,  on making our environment into this more evolving and dynamic one, where the climate and culture of innovation thrives and grows from this constant feeding and attention.

In summary

The more we focus specifically on what makes up our innovation competencies, capabilities and capacities, delivering the dynamic ones that give innovation impact,  the more we are able to comprehend what is important, to produce added-value and transform from what we have known into what we can see differently, opens us up  more into the world of innovation possibilities..

It is developing the skill, knowledge and ability (or capability, capacity and competence) for innovation to deliver on its promise to sustain, grow and provide new value-adding outcomes that takes the organization forward and it can no longer be haphazard but systematic and purposeful.

2 thoughts on “Delivering the innovation core: building capability, capacity and competency.

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