Defending Europe, including the Brits, on innovation

Europe does seem to be always lagging. You get the impression those in Europe’s leadership are beating back the waves of progress, not embracing them- it is all self-serving. They also seem to operate in a fortress mentality. They seem to be spending all their capital on trying to make this (unholy) alliance of 27 + 1 to function.

The herculean task of integrating the impossible; in rules, regulations, attempting to reduce centuries of proud independence, individual cultures to be boiled down into the Super-European one. For me, it just can’t work.

I had an incredible 15 years living in Asia and came back to Europe some years ago and noticed a real difference, in many ways it has simply gotten worse, not better. Europe has been intent on institution building, forging an EU out of all the different countries that make up the European Union. In this “obsession” it has become very inward focused, the different leaders of the individual countries are battling to save their turf, yet the world continues to turn on different axes, that Europe seems not to have grasped.

This institutional building has forgotten the people-related building where aspiration, identification, inclusion makes the transformation happen or not. The EU has forgotten to translate all its work into true meaning for the people, believing in a worthwhile future. In Asia, you feel vibrancy, energy, opportunism, dynamism, that chance to get “part of the action”, here in Europe you sense a drifting, a separation, and growing fragmentation. Continue reading

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I would recommend applying the Innovation Value Proposition

Thinking about my own identification with the IVP took me back to when I started out on my innovation journey 18 years ago. That now seems like ages ago, and a lot has changed in how we manage innovation since then. But, strangely enough, a lot has also stayed the same ā€“ especially the fact that delivering good innovation is hard work.

Yet, the one thing I firmly believe reduces the “pain” comes back to how you design and relate to your value proposition ā€“ your meaning of what innovation needs to do.
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Building the Single Innovation Digital Platform Environment

Aras PLM Platform Image courtesy of Aras

Throughout the past couple of years, I have been constantly arguing about the need to put innovation management on a digital platform.

These have come in different thoughts on digital platforms, ready for cross-industry and having in place, a rapid digital innovation process that scales and evolves on new technology and insights.

We need a radical design, universal in design and approach.

What if you could manage your innovation in the ways shown in this diagram?

This is the way PLM innovation platforms are progressing and currently being assessed by CIMdata in a PLM Innovation Assessment Scorecard shown further below. Link to the position paper

The argument about what any innovation management system provides goes on and on and still, we seem not to be at the universal acceptance point that an innovation management process is critical and needs a better system of management.

What we should finally accept, a platform connects all users, both internally and externally in their ability to share their knowledge and information in exchanges, in one environment to cultivate collaborations and continuous collaborative creativity. The more we design and need to deliver smart, connected and innovative products the more we have this innovation platform need.

The majority of the present software providers fail to grasp this. Continue reading

The Need for Digital Innovation Platforms

I want to offer some thoughts that need us all involved in innovation to think about as we finish out 2018.

If you are frustrated with your current innovation process then read on. If you are not, then simply “click away” and certainly my best wishes by ignoring a very changing innovation world that we are all undergoing.

The reality is we are all moving towards becoming “Digital Enterprises”. Digital transformation is deepening into an enterprise-wide movement. and is modernizing how companies work.

As these Digital Enterprises effectively adapt and grow in an evolving digital economy, then it is clear that innovation certainly needs to be part of this but is it digitally ready? I think not. Much of the current innovation process you are currently working with is a Dinosaur, it should have disappeared long ago. Can we manage innovation the way many still are?

Innovation, in my view and many others, is rapidly becoming even more complex. Risks are actually rising not falling. Products continue not to meet customer needs in multiple ways. Without the “connected digital difference,” products are remaining limited in their appeal. Innovation is struggling to really perform and unleash breakthrough products due to many ‘inbuilt’ inhibitors. We need a radical redesign of the innovation process and that is becoming full connected up and have a distinct digital thread running through it. We need to think about complete digital innovation solutions in the future. Continue reading

The problem of scaling can confuse those innovating.

The problem of scaling can confuse those innovating and can this be changed?

I have been often returning to scaling, struggling with finding the best answers. Many organizations struggle with scaling. This can be scaling their organization, their capabilities or more often, taking an idea into a fully scaled delivery.

Maybe I have been looking at it all wrong?

The complexities of scaling can’t be lightly dismissed. You need very often, size to scale. This could be in a new plant, in where production should be situated, so it can be allowed to scale at a later date, in resources able to achieve scale or more importantly you scale according to the type of goods or demand so they can be readily available, closer to the market they are needed.

When you work in a global organization, scale takes on even a greater set of dimensions; one that needs coordinating and managing.

So I was thinking through some points on scaling a little differently. They are partly ‘open questions’ or some thinking out loud. You can say they are “half-baked”, perhaps in more than one way! Continue reading

Adopting a Rapid Digital Innovation Process

As we start to think about the next year, (is it here already?) it is a time of reflection and some forward thinking. We do need to make some real changes.

From my standpoint, I am simply amazed at how the world seems to be spinning faster and faster. I am convinced my working days are shorter or the clock is moving faster or worse still, I am being “deflected” even more by everything “digital”.

I never seem to finish what I had intended to complete by the end of a day or week. I then get caught up in the spillover effect. Something always gets in the way, something has to give. So we make a resolution to change something to improve on this constant catch up state we find ourselves in. We all seem to be spinning faster but equally slowing down. Often our innovation activities face the same dilemma.

Innovation needs time, it needs evolution and resolution but also speeding up

Here are some thoughts for our future. The need for innovation results has sped up considerably. The belief that lean management principles will get the innovation out of the door quicker, has been one of those management adoptions that often trick us into believing we are achieving more than we actually are. Reality is, we have only been tackling part of the innovation process and the end results often remain the same – a slow process of innovation follows as lean hits organization reality, it gets caught up in internal roadblocks, countless discussions, and debates.

Certainly, in the majority of cases we have found nothing wrong at all with applying lean management, as it tends to lead to improvements in a final outcome, but does it actually speed up the process? Iā€™m not sure it does. Leans slows down and becomes increasingly burdened by fat being layered on, further down the innovation execution process.

For me, I think the real need is in speeding up of the whole innovation process, approaching the whole innovation in a systematic way, as the only path to tread in the years ahead. We need to broaden out the whole process of rapid innovation application beyond the two current favorites of lean and design thinking. That requires it to be fully connected up and that means making the innovation process one that is fully digital, on a platform and accessible by all, those that can bring value and meaning to the process to deliver greater innovation outcomes. We need a greater innovation rapid prototype approach to the whole innovation process- test, learn, adapt, adjust, iterate, refine at speed and rapid scaling.

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Why Are We Making Innovation So Complex?

It always amazes me how we limit growth by not investing fully in innovation. While most large companies want to become more agile and innovative, many of them fail to turn this wish into a reality.

There is this consistent need or pressure to grow, yet that specific needle stays stubbornly stuck in low growth numbers, even with all this innovation talk and desire. Why is that? We know you simply grow a business by choosing a mix of investing in innovation, merger, and acquisitions or releasing your resources into more profitable activities. Innovation as a dedicated activity still sits uncomfortably within many organizations.

To try and catalyze growth, companies undergo perennial reorganizations, often to revitalize themselves. According to a Deloitte report, 50 percent of companies are undergoing an organizational transformation, yet only 11 percent think they will succeed. What’s worse, 70 percent of transformation programs do fail. In these failures, we only seem to continue to layer on complexity as a further stop-gap measure.

It is no wonder we’re growing increasingly pessimistic about making a positive change to a different transforming model within organizations. Without innovation taking a more leading transforming role, most of our established companies will continue to struggle to break out of their existing approach to business. Far too many are mired in a past business mindset. Continue reading