Core capabilities have upsides and downsides. As many of our business organizations seek to optimize their processes across the company, they are constantly reaching more outside to gain growing partnerships and greater innovation interactions. They are looking to complement and reinforce existing capabilities through more open innovation thinking and approaches but is that enough?
One focus area is on value chain optimization, another on customer engagement, yet the one that has the potential to really transform the innovation process lies in the partnerships emerging from reaching back into established suppliers, but also by tapping into the broader network of knowledge that can be found in reaching out to the innovation community of start-ups, venture capitalists, research institutions and other key players, capable of fostering and delivering innovation in unique and diverse collaborations. The collaborating edges are becoming our new core.
The core is far more found at the edge, in the collaborating capability and networks we form and this needs very different organizational design.
Building new innovative collaborations.
The richer ecosystem of collaborators are those that can bring complementary capabilities, that can drive increasing opportunity and values, push out the thinking, which was not possible in the past, based on pursuing innovation as purely an internal process.
Underway is a series of transformations to redefine activities, realign core activities, centralize around clearer corporate shared services and the general intent to release the operating divisions to be more market and customer facing, to invest in innovation and accelerate the innovation pipeline to keep competitive positioning as the critical need in far more ‘disruptive’ markets. That is mostly focusing on the ‘internal’ part.
Technology is transforming so much, it is the catalyst for change. It is the enabler for the external, collaborators part. Combined the intent is to take out complexity and duplication by simplifying and harmonizing services, by sharing expertise and specialized knowledge in innovation ecosystems. By focusing on key common denominators of success the new innovation digital partnership does offer the promise of accelerating time to market, improved understanding of market needs and coordinating solutions through technology that can be delivered to meet these, in the strengthening of the partnerships, tapping into leveraging the networks of capabilities all around the organization, outside-in and inside-out.
There is a significant transformation of the value lying within this extended system of collaborators and organization design. It is the ability to leverage, through technology the broader ecosystem of partners and internal collaborators by a more holistic view of sharing building ‘greater’ value together
The evolving innovation lab
The innovation lab has been part of this new innovation era, we are seeing them being formed and then increasingly transformed into dedicated product innovation centers where the environment becomes highly “entrepreneurial” as it draws in start-ups, alongside established partners to connect the physical with the digital to manage bolder innovation initiatives.
This exploring the wider innovation ecosystem is offering new ways to innovate products and find more imaginative solutions to customer needs. The connecting of a diverse ‘pool’ of collaborators is taking product and service concepts from cradle to grave. The lifecycle becomes part of the design needs by all the partners within this ecosystem. They stay involved from start to finish.
Growth challenges and organizations priorities are being immersed in this innovation ecosystem thinking. Overall project value grows as the complexity becomes more shared but grows in value creation.
In this new emerging innovation, the model is requiring radically redesigned skill sets, consisting of stronger relationship building capability, a higher emphasis on the facilitating, brokering, moderating and influencing concepts. Different entrepreneurial business driven models are being explored and the seeking out and tapping into a broad set of technical and specialized skills are requiring far more orchestrating and project coordinating requirements. Specialist knowledge is being fed into the ecosystem, through the platform set up deliberately to handle the specific growth challenge or priority.
The new innovation era.
We are entering a new innovation era as the conditions for this are coming together. Digital, technology, ecosystems, platforms, collaborative software and a host of others. I have written about these in an earlier post, detailing out these market conditions all forming into this new era that has been building progressively in my mind, to come to this new innovation point occurring.
There are profound shifts taking place to accelerate innovation in the more established organizations, partly to counter the start-up but more importantly to regain the necessary growth momentum that has been sadly missing from treating innovation as, yet again, another island or silo within the larger organization. It has the potential to change through connecting all the parts if you work through the significant strides innovation management has been taking, to form the new collaborating core.
The skill is connecting all the required parts to meet your innovation needs and that needs some specialized focus and exploring within itself.