The Perfect Conditions for Entering A New Innovation Era in 2017

a-new-connected-pathway-for-innovation-2So if there was ever a time to clear the existing innovation agenda and rework the entire space for innovating, it is about to become the pressing reality as we enter into 2017.

There are so many forces coming together that require this reworking. We are moving from diverging into one of converging, we are at a changeover point for innovation; let me explain each of the contributing factors but firstly, a brief overview.

The Merging Conditions and Forces

The very different political and economic conditions that will be arising in 2017, the continuing shifting social conditions, profound shifts we are undergoing in business and our own personal ones, makes it a world that is moving from being complicated to complex.

Any renewing does need innovation to become more central in our design but it will be managed differently far more collaboratory.

There is a lot of change occurring around our innovation abilities. There is the shift to more open-sourcing, the profound shifts that technology and digital transformation is having upon all our worlds is allowing a very different “connecting” innovation to come into play. We will see a significant acceleration of more innovation ecosystems, we are increasingly recognizing all the different collaborative tools increasingly at our disposal, we are exploring both platforms and forming ecosystems to radically alter the competitive edge previously seen to reside inside the single company.

A more opening out, forming more connections into customers, engaging them in appreciating their needs is leading us to recognize the value and power in the seamless customer experience. All of this comes from achieving a greater access and deepening the connections across networks. It is becoming the network economy

So I am exploring here each of these conditions that I believe are coming together for a really important transforming storm built around a new innovation management, increasingly making it the core to the future for growth. There is a time where each business has to become highly adaptive, agile, open and mutually dependent on others to deliver in this ‘connected’ world to exploit these conditions and explore the opportunities that will emerge.

Today I believe we are on the cusp of a new innovation era and it is a powerful set of enablers that are combining to bring us to this point. In my last post “We are entering a new innovation era in 2017” I outlined this briefly and spent some time looking back, recognizing many of the points of transformation that have been forming, well at least for me.

So what do I see that is combining to give us the true ability to transform the way we undertake innovation.

Political and Economic Conditions

The surprises of elections and referendums continue to rebound on us all. The new president-elect is looking to make the USA great again. Greatness comes from invention and innovation. “ Brexit means Brexit” and this will require a fundamental rethinking of the UK finding new solutions to their standing independently from the EU. The need to renew is calling for a new innovation momentum.

We have France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, and Italy in a state of flux as we go into the New Year. Each has to find a new model of moving away from austerity in 2017 and find ways to grow as the political tensions are drawing out more extremist views, innovation again is the means for this. The EU is facing a crisis that needs a very different approach to overcome the virtually stagnant growths in most of the 27 countries and the present digital recession that is holding it back in today’s connected world.

There is an increased call to foster innovation at Government level, the need to boost productivity and find different ways of competing on the global stage need to be found as there are this increasing need and demand for real growth and jobs.

The economies in many countries remain weak, the currencies are in a highly fragile state and our banking system has resisted wholesale change and any economic crisis cannot be met by flooding the markets with liquidity but this time around it needs to be on high levels of creativity, collaborations, and innovations. Will we address the EU or China’s Yuan Renminbi that have been ‘artificially’ propped up for long periods? Where will blockchain figure?

Innovation beckons, it is the pathway to begin to get us out of many unsustainable positions caused by political policy and disappointing economic management. Out of crisis, comes renewal and innovation responds to this need.

The Shifting Social conditions

We have seen an amazing transformation in how we socialize through the use of technology and the smartphone. The expectations continue to rise as technology pervades our world. We are more reliant on what it gives us, to undertake our business, social and day-to-day activities. We have more ability to monitor ourselves, our partners and friends and track daily events and be a ‘click or two’ away from our leaders to provide our opinions.

The social effect is influencing government, business, and whole communities. As we learn the value and power of these tools we become more fluid, more flexible and agile but equally more influenced. The whole network effect is changing us, it may be broadening our views or defining them and it is allowing for increased possibilities to influence and materially gain. Innovation will continue to drive this dynamic social condition and demand and expectancies will continue to increase as the connected social phenomenon is in the ascendancy.

Managing The Profound Deepening Shifts in Business

We are facing more complex challenges than ever before. Innovation is increasing becoming “innovation as a service”. Traditional borders are blurring, business sees more opportunities in merging those past traditional market conditions into new ones, built increasingly on the powerful effect of technology, digital transformation and tapping into the new network means of platforms and ecosystems, exploiting new technologies.

The Business Model seems to have a reduced shelf life, we are witnessing more disruption and transformation of existing formats. The usurper is in the ascendency and will be even more encouraged by the political need to renew, due to the increased funding to undertake this.

There grows a real need to change the enterprise innovation portfolio into ones that take a higher risk-taking position to regain dominating positions. It is the battle of the platforms and the ecosystem selection that will decide the winners and losers. To achieve a repositioning increasingly will require a greater reliance on a connecting into and having knowledge access outside the one business, it will need broader network collaboration

Our Personal Shifts and Growing Recognition of our Influence

We are all in need to personally relearn. Everyone is in need of finding new skills to play in this network economy. We recognize this being always connected and aware is offering increased personal gain. We are becoming far more need driven. The digital tools we have in our hands or at our finger tips are changing all our previous assumptions and attitudes.

Each of us is raising up in our expectations, pushing for answers to our positions, constantly forming alliances that are fluid and adaptive. We expect a more open governance or will dig until we find what impedes it and we are constantly questioning or joining forces to champion what each of us believes in.

Catering to this personal world is getting highly complex and shifts the power away from a few into the crowd. The source of our needs is increasingly coming out in different ways, often a venting of frustration and anger and this can be highly destabilizing. The power of the connected world is shifting to the consumer of ‘connecting’ knowledge and they are voting with their pockets or offering their voice of dissension if the solution does not meet their need. Each of us has a growing voice to influence and change others through our network and opinions, good or bad!

Moving from the complicated to complex

Innovation has to deliver in all these different forces to satisfy the different opportunities in far better, highly connected ways. This becomes a highly interwoven set of interconnected parts. No one party or organization has a complete map, they must learn to rely upon and collaborative with others.

The world is not a linear one anymore, no more predictable, it is becoming everywhere one that needs a non-linearity in approach to markets, ways to solve and solutions offered, it has to be agile and constantly adjusting. The system behavior is fluid, feedback loops are constantly surprising up to adapt in different responsive ways. We need to manage complexity daily and find a pathway through it and be ready to respond and react to the next hurdle immediately.

The feeling of being in (total) control is giving way, we are replacing that self-driven behavior to be increasingly reliant on others, working alongside you, to connect and combine together to find mutual solutions to the opportunities ‘out there’ at increasing “speed, scope and scale” – the mantra I hear increasingly. This needs collaborations and connections to deliver the type of innovation solution expected today – a seamless set of experiences that gives real connected value for the ultimate consumer, rendering what they have as obsolete or dated, as it only achieved one job and not address the multiple jobs that always surround the task on hand.

So What are the Critical Parts of the New Innovation Era?

The World of Collaborative Tools

The explosion of collaborative tools in recent years has certainly been transforming. The communication means, the choice of apps and software, the growing use of the cloud are allowing us to change. Yet for innovation, it has been the transforming effects applied to a very cumbersome innovation system that is undergoing a real force of change.

The adoption of Lean and Agile, of Design Thinking, of being encouraged to invest in rapid experimentation and build prototypes that can quickly advance understanding of customer need, design and how it will provide functionality in the marketplace is accelerating innovation. We are encouraging more innovation hacks, providing different designs of crowdsourcing for funding, ideas, and understanding.

We are designing a host of easy to use canvases or work mat’s to frame the problem or challenge and then go out and work through a whole customer validation journey, testing the hypotheses and learning to pivot constantly to give us a higher level of fluidity and understanding. This is becoming the accepted way to innovate and confirm the business opportunities.

We are establishing living labs, innovation centers of excellence and having increased access to a vast array of collaborative design tools. Technology is allowing us to build through 3D printing, we can synthesize and trial in faster ways through new design and portability. The power of computer graphics, modeling and simulation are moving at a real speed of advancement. We can rapidly design software to capture the knowledge we need and we can exploit the power of “apps” in quick and purposefully designed ways to do a specific job

There is a whole world of collaborative tools that are intent on speeding up the innovation process but we have not yet fully mastered these and built our complete toolkit. It needs a base.

Why platforms, ecosystems, and customer experiences become central in 2017

If we do recognize all the above forces are converging, then innovation does become central to what we do. Yet in a complex world, we need to learn how to collaborate and network among our peers and with our consumers. This needs technology, digital and designs that we are determining are based around platforms and ecosystems.

Platforms become our new operating base, often the connecting brand

This is the technology infrastructure where producers of knowledge can come together and create new value and equally enables the consumer to become plugged in, contribute and then influence and consumer the value. It is how the parties coalesce around the platform gives it its value as it is the place for interactions.

Platforms bring the knowledge exchange together, in its related architecture lies the ability to perform, reducing tensions, exploring opportunities in collaborative ways. As knowledge is shared and exchanged you have the greater potential to leverage the assets. Utilization of the resources becomes essential to coordinate.

The learning process of shifting from a pure linear pipeline thinking into one that recognizes the multiple options available in working on a platform as opportunities to exchange information that is relevant to the goal of the collaborators, it becomes the place for the exchange of goods, both tangible and intangible and finally an exchange of different currencies.

A good platform requires a high quality of liquidity in content, resources, data, the potential for dollar capture and knowledge flow. It is a place designed to scale, adapt and adjust and be easy to enter, engage and interact. It becomes a true exchange source based on technology design. Within any platform design you need your gatekeeping and rules; otherwise, it can quickly lose its value.

Ecosystems are needed to be formed

Today individual organization resources are simply not good enough to compete in what you own it is how, where and what you can access. It is the tapping into new or different skills, deep, specialized knowledge and those fresh perspectives to alter the thinking, changing the impossible into the possible, through these connections.

Ecosystems can provide this connectivity coalescing around a common purpose. Competition and Co-dependency are blurring, what were at one time a major competitor can become a partner to combine different parts of a puzzle to offer increased value to the consumer. It is all about challenging the business model constantly and searching for different possibilities that can provide a new competitive advantage, ecosystems can help in achieving these.

The combination effect provides for a greater value creation, it can deliver a far greater collective impact, it allows companies to have focus zones to explore. Ecosystems open up innovation potential; they can co-evolve if they are dynamic and mutually recognize the collaborative value.

Digital Transformation is Upon Us

To transform is hard at any time. Today we are grappling with digital transformation, changing, adapting and learning what new technologies can provide. This is stretching many organizations in their beliefs, challenging their existing operating systems and pushing the abilities to transform in ways that minimize disruption. The call is every company should become a “digital consumer company” where it can recognize the shifts taking place and take advantage of them, digitally.

There is a magnitude of the speed of change required. We need to think mobile, digital, cloud and social far more. We need to become increasingly comfortable in all the analytics and big data mining expected to yield new innovation opportunities. Digital transformation will keep pushing us to become even more efficient and effective in what we do but it will equally expect a high level of adroitness and innovation outcomes.

We really don’t know the end game, yet we do have to play the game. This is the game theory on speed, where we don’t know where it will all end up as it has some many unpredictable variables all coming into play. What we need to do, to start, is the need to keep believing and pushing in three places of real potential value on where we are positioned today.

Firstly achieving a greatly enhanced customer relationship, where they make greater contributions to the ideas of the future to meet their needs. Secondly, we need any digital transformation to provide this deeper streamlining of operational efficiencies and thirdly, to have in place the structure, system and approaches to handle new connected lines of business, different emerging business models all based far more on this digital connectivity and network potential it can provide.

It will be how you connect, translate the technology challenges into winning models and engage with the outside, this is where it will make or break you. As we think the value of technology and digital transformation, we need to recognize there is no the same, it will be different and offer the real potential to seek out completely new innovation opportunities. You will require a digitally connected fitness.

Seamless Customer Experiences are the Order of the Day

We have been poor at connecting all the touchpoints that customers engage into our organizations, to link them up and provide back more tailored experiences. Customers today expect seamless experiences, supported, maintained and enabled by complex ecosystems of products, services, business models, channels, information, and complementary products and services.

Customers aren’t interested or willing to acquire disparate products and services and integrate them. Increasingly customers prefer to acquire seamless experiences, and this expectation will dramatically change how companies innovate.

For decades, companies have organized around their own products or services. This needs a radical rethink. Rather than “a product produced by us” perhaps we should call the necessary outcome a “whole ecosystem” or “whole experience” as these will have this connected difference.

Now, the innovator must define the totality of the seamless experience and then determine which components or portions his or her company can provide, which of the components or solutions that other companies or partners will provide, and work to ensure that these disparate components, services, business models and information will work seamlessly for the customer.

Our Need in Building Our Own Portfolio of Innovation Ecosystems

We are recognizing in multiple ways that ‘innovation ecosystems’ are denoting a departure from an old reality and system of working into a new one. It is often requiring an underlying shift in organizations mainstream thinking from an existing to a new paradigm.

Innovation ecosystems have been ‘constrained’ to date in more geographic, economic, industrial or entrepreneurial terms, often part of economic policy. We have seen successful value in having innovative regions (Silicon Valley, Bangalore), successful ICT platforms (iPhone, Android) or in combining technology companies for establishing new industries (cloud computing) and entrepreneurs clustering together in centers deliberately built up and funded.

Innovation ecosystems are being established that fundamentally are challenging the way we are managing currently and in the future our innovation activities, setting about our innovating of “doing things” in very radically different and more connected ways.

These are threatening to dismantle the way innovation is being managed today, and due to this, we require a radical adjustment in our approaches to achieve a far more collaborative one built on innovation ecosystem thinking.

Purposeful Innovation Ecosystems through can liberate, accelerate and realize business options, that can have a radical effect on the organization. They can radically shift the core, they can tap into the edge of discovery. We need to recognize ecosystems accelerate learning for innovation and where collaborators will be ‘seeing’ increased value in what can be offered by combing resources, to sustain and grow their businesses.

Innovation ecosystems today seem to offer a more focused approach to the management of a more radical but highly collaborative form of innovation.To help a new dedicated site has been created here on:

https://ecosystems4innovating.wordpress.com .

This is a dedicated blog posting site, for ecosystems, platforms and customer experiences, as it can help you understand and forge a new direction and momentum for innovation to travel, dedicated to the changes occurring.

In Summary

It is the powerful effects of different conditions, solutions and forces combining that will deliver the new innovation era in accelerate forms in 2017.

We have a perfect merging of conditions that will have a transforming storm effect on innovation based on the ones outlined here. They are converging rapidly so please be ready to clear that existing agenda of innovations within your present (very) linear pipeline and be prepared to rework the entire innovation space. It will be radical as the forces coming to bear are exactly that, disrupting forces and they will require an awful lot of management’s attention in 2017 to steer and manage.

What we will be seeing I am suggesting that the changes will be radical, as all the forces coming to bear are exactly that, disrupting forces. They will require an awful lot of management’s attention in 2017 to steer and manage for tapping into real growth that is not just expected but required.

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8 thoughts on “The Perfect Conditions for Entering A New Innovation Era in 2017

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