Technology leads, innovation exploitation is lagging

Technology and PeopleThere is a growing, perhaps even an overwhelming business case, for transforming the innovation management structure. The new combination is the new connections through people and things (IoT) that we can achieve a new innovation potential.

We will obtain increasing more powerful insights that have the real potential of being turned into new innovation outcomes, through the connected businesses we are presently needing to  build. This can generate new value and business propositions.

Today the virtual world of digital is moving much faster than the physical ‘enacted world,’ of turning insights into actual innovation activities, through the innovation pipeline. Our innovation systems are lagging significantly behind. We need to radically redesign them and bring them up to date, fit for managing innovation in the 21st century.

The whole discovery to final execution, is for most organizations still a very fragmented, often disconnected system. It is highly reliant on manual systems with people often disconnected from the real innovation engagement making decisions on inadequate data or insights.

We are failing to leverage all we have gained from our innovation understanding over the years. We have this ongoing inability to adapt, to connect the innovation system through the use of technology and growing value networks, so as to provide the integration, the dedicated resource and accountability to deliver successful innovation outcomes that our customers require.  Successful outcomes that are certainly possible, from a well-designed innovation management system brought up to date, adaptive, flexible and responsive, if we apply the time and effort to conceive and construct it.

It is still managed mainly through a linear process of stage-gates and investigation / validation to decide to move on or not. I can’t see this continuing to work in any efficient or effective way in such a digital hyper connected world, where insights flood into the innovation engine room, expecting the same ‘hyper’ response and delivery outcome result. We need to address this incompatibility, we need to integrate and harness the innovation management system and bring it completely up to date and integrated in design and function.

In a series of posts I have been arguing  that innovation management needs to radically be redesigned, based on the thinking around the shift from products to solutions, from transactions to growing far more value-adding ongoing relationships, from a supplier of product services into highly valued network partnerships, exploring innovation across all options, instead of delivering on discrete elements; this requires managing the whole ecosystem of the innovation design differently through technology, driving the design and response capabilities where platforms dominate and transformation becomes an ongoing process, to constantly evolve the business model, so as to seek out constantly changing market opportunities, in agile, adaptive and fluid ways, for successful innovation outcomes that meet those real customer needs.

Mashing up for explosive change

I recall reading that up to now, each digital technology change was a separate era of change, to absorb and adapt towards, yet today we are facing something seemingly different, a collision, a whole mash-up of disparate technologies and systems, that seem to be heading for such an explosion of change, a post-digital transformation.

This merging of cloud, big data, social, and the internet of things is becoming the new system of discovery according to some. Others call it the crossroads where the post-digital reality of bringing together the cloud, mobile, interconnected devices, data analytics and embedded intelligence are pointing us to a hyper-connected world, less tomorrow, more speeding towards us in the here and now.

Digital matters, in its raw innovating power and its potential business impact

I think digital is clearly a transformational phenomena across much of today’s existing business. The unique combining of the cloud, big data, social streaming, the internet of things, mobility, the industrial internet, are all making this the time for new growth opportunities through this digital economy and the radical overhaul of the activities to realize the benefits.

The enterprise integration will need to be constantly evolving, adapting and become highly agile, it will totally redistributed, decision authority will move more rapidly towards evolving business models and distributive decision-making, to seize breaking opportunities far more quickly than in the past.

Business models will not stand alone, they will interlock in intelligent ways, to benefit from scale that becomes the essential need and greater appreciation of sharing services, jointly working towards common outcomes. These strategic connections will open up different partnerships, opportunities for shared cost of new channel developments, separate value propositions driven through common back office services and increasing requiring a platform management to manage these.

We are transcending traditional industry and product boundaries

The dizzy array of strategic choices will totally disrupt existing business models if they are right in their design. The whole world of communicating, transacting and designing all the different negotiations and products that meet the immediate needs of the customer makes this the “digital business era”, where constant redesigning and orchestrating the parts will keep it at the forefront by a constant evolving set of combinations and leveraging a network of diverse capabilities.

It will be how and where a business or entities of business come together and see where ‘people, things and their business offering’ can come together for mutual value based on the unique combinations of the different technologies available.

There will be a constant evolving evaluation of the assets both internal and externally that make up this digital world (people, the business and things) that will take this out beyond the control of one company, into a system within a larger system to make it work at a constantly evolving speed and gain adoption. Innovation will certainly not get any easier; it will be faster, more demanding and a heck of a lot more risky.

Innovation is caught up in this transformational change.

To be an innovator, you are always restless but the present structures and frameworks that innovation operates within have been often highly constraining and heavily reliant on manual operations. Innovation as a system has often conflicted within the approaches taken by our organizations. The quest is in finding different approaches to allow the human side to shape, interpret and extract the value not just in what they want to see but through different lenses

The balance in innovation activity is changing

What needs changing is the innovation process to accommodate these changes that are occurring all around us. We will need to transform much within our systems but more importantly to orientate our skills to receive, translate and diffuse new knowledge, in significantly different ways.

It is through this combination of people and ‘things’ connecting into our businesses that we will be able to extract new observations, to give us insights that can lead to completely different innovation opportunities. Huge amounts of data can be interpreted through specific algorithms but these will have to have set very clear parameters set within them, for them to be of any worth on what we believe is needed by our customers, for delivering successful innovation outcomes.

The real need is delivering a new integrated innovation engagement platform

Without doubt digital and physical operate at really different speeds. We need not just a new innovation management system, we need a modern engagement platform. We need to integrate and sync so many transaction and stand-alone systems that have been allowed to proliferate over the years to meet specific business needs.

The growing pressure will be demanded to find solutions that provide a cohesive and business-focused approach to the new social enterprise where we seek engagement at scale into a multiple array of communities and advocates that has data and innovation as its core.

The Need to Automate the Innovation Process

We still are very reliant on stage gate intervention points, often more due to dogma and imposed oversight by committees occasionally meeting. Decisions are determined by the human, based less on hard knowledge or dynamic intelligence, often these have tended to be thinner on the ground to validate concepts and judgement becomes highly personal and reliant on (past) experience.

What can we change within this? There are leading practices to compare and contrast with but we do need to push this automating the innovation process further, in different ways.

How can we connect, enable and deliver better innovative outcomes?

There is so much to be realized, connected and enabled for the higher scale, richer, more innovative business outcomes but it is a massive undertaking that is only just being ‘kicked off’ by the current internet of things. It will eventually become the integration of everything but the disruption and realization of what needs changing is only just dawning on many.

We need to review organizational engagement. Much has to change, be uprooted and completely revisited to begin to design a new digital and physical integrated innovation system.

The need to respond quickly to new business objectives

We will need to adjust our thinking on risk. Technology insights can provide a better mitigate risk, it can equally fine tune innovation but it can equally make it far more complicated. Massive amounts of data can complicate decision-making, determining the right decisions and next steps.

Technology will require opening up the present risk mitigation process to capitalize on emerging opportunities at greater speed and higher levels of compromise, to meet that emerging opportunity ‘seen’ requiring it to be turned into commercial offering quickly, so competitive advantage can be gained.

Managing digital knowledge that adds value and growth

Digital technology is about to become the precursor for all the changes we have put off for years within our organizations. We need to radically improve our abilities to engage, relate and discover new innovation opportunities at a completely different level of faster performance.

There are many issues both strategic and tactical to work through, to extract the rich potential from any digital transformation for new innovation growth outcomes

Digital is presently moving way ahead for the systems our organizations have presently in place. What does need changing to ultimately yield the innovation returns we will be looking for?

Expectations and reality needs resetting, the hard work is not ‘just’ in connecting the technology, it is its impact that it will have across the organization to be able to ‘react, respond and reorganize’ in very different ways from today’s practices.

We are dealing with a completely different set of mindsets, skills, procedures, governance, processes and responsibilities. To gain from the digital evolution taking place we need a robust, comprehensive and radical overhaul of much of what is going on within our organizations.

We need to begin to really think though this as a complete redesign – achieving a clear engagement platform for all to gain from

So in our need to achieve a greater engagement from everyone within our organizations we need to recognize the importance of having a ‘modern’ engagement platform available, a central place for scalable learning to take place, so we can structure the new knowledge and insights that is coming into the organization and manage this through a well-designed innovation system into a final execution of successful innovations.

Moving from ad-hoc approaches to an integrated, synergistic and designed for each organizations unique state for the innovation management process to perform in today’s and tomorrow’s world on a sustaining basis. One where technology is central to its structure, highly connected, highly adaptive and totally fluid in its response to meet the constant array of innovation opportunities, looking to have solutions applied to them.

Is there not a mounting case for designing a new innovation management system?

I clearly am convinced there is and it certainly can be designed today in my opinion.

What is involved in plotting out a new innovation road-map, who is the lead orchestrator or the navigator in this and can we structure this design accordingly, to bring it into our organizations sustaining innovation?

One that offers a system that is fully integrated, connected and compatible with the needs of the business to grow and recognizes the need to build a sustaining innovation capability.

One that can to capitalize on the innovation opportunities being discovered in new and different ways that need connecting and accelerating, into commercial propositions that meet customers needs ?

I want to look deeper into these in the coming weeks to add some thoughts to this new innovation system  design and where and with whom it fits.

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