Recognizing an innovation need

Increasingly I am noticing that Organizations are facing the increasing dilemma of how to organize and manage within their present systems and structures their innovation activities.

Innovation is becoming far too complex for the innovation process installed within the (one) organization. It is far too self-contained and not open to the collaborative environment we need today, where others outside the one organization can freely exchange and collaborate on the same platform.

I have argued for some time we do not have an “innovation fit-for-purpose” system, we still are focusing far too much on having separate solutions for the front end (IP discovery), then idea generation, and then keep separately the pipeline and portfolio management. We are still randomly applying a range of tools that individuals have collected for themselves to complete their part of the job and the outputs can’t be shared. We continue to exchange across different social channels, often seen as a necessary evil to be bridged, as often systems do not “speak” to each other.

We fail to connect up all of our innovation process and design. When will we have a fully integrated, end-to-end innovation system? Some software solution providers seem to be working towards it but tend to keep adding pieces and not stepping back and designing a fully integrated process. Why? We are managing innovation at often very sub-optimal levels of effectiveness. Continue reading

Checking for the global pulse of innovation

As a report, the 2019 Global Innovation Index (GII) is a whopper, at 450 pages, although 50% of this is detailed economic profiles and data tables for each country within the index.

This GII report investigates and reports on 129 countries and then analyzes and ranks them accordingly.

When you are caught up in generating innovation within a business these sorts of reports can often pass you by as not so relevant to your everyday job of innovation.

I can certainly understand that but as a barometer of the health and investment going into innovation, it will eventually filter through to you and has more relevance than you first imagine.

This report is mainly for those interested in forming national policy on innovation, or judging where they are within the global race on innovation, yet it tells us all some really important points on the current health of innovation.

Yet the innovation message is for us all. If nothing else read this summary. Continue reading

Your Future Lies in Occupying the Innovation Job and Using the Skills it Provides

Source: World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Report 2018.

We all need to begin to grapple with what is redefining work in knowledge, skills, our experience, and our necessary abilities to be viable and useful

We continue to hear and begin to see the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It continues to impact skills, tasks, and jobs.

The implications are a growing concern that both job displacement and talent shortages will impact business dynamism and societal cohesion. It is the pervasive power of technology integration that will change the business models of all industries.

Yet we are recognizing it will also giving rise to a number of emerging jobs yet to be identified or formulized to be trained in. A proactive and strategic effort is needed but based on what? We need to manage reskilling and upskilling to mitigate against both job losses and talent shortages but prepared the future workforce to be more nimble, agile and fluid. Here is where innovators are going to be well-positioned.

Working within the innovation space will be one of the best launching pads for being more comfortable for the future of work. Let me explain why Continue reading

All things considered for Innovation Thinking

Source: Rikke Dam and Teo Yin Siang

When we are designing innovation for the future, the search is even more centered around strategically connected value creation.

The task of searching to resolve more complex problems allows Design Thinking to step up and become a far more visible component on how we can go about this.

Design thinking needs to work in harmony with many other thinking skills to make its contribution. Here I outline some of my “must go to” frames or tools.

The need when you “cast out” and look into the future we need to make a lot of connections, these can be really different, seemingly disparate in ideas and approaches. The whole search for diversity can generate so much fresh thinking if we open our minds to the alternatives.

We need to draw on insights, creativity but most importantly have a growing sense of the context we are thinking through to search for new ideas, concepts, and eventual new innovating solutions.

We often get caught up in data far too early, looking for the real nugget that can transform our thinking. I would guard against this, we always need the “larger” context. Never allow the “narrow prism” to dominate until any concept is getting clearer in its final design. Continue reading

Valuing digitization alongside innovation

We all see around us increasing disruption caused by digitalization. The powerful effects of digitalization are opening up different business opportunities, the chance to design different business models and get far closer to the ultimate need, to understand the customers wishes from the products and services they are wanting to buy.

We are seeing a very distinctive advantage in embracing digitalization into innovation. The potential of combining digitalization and innovation insights offers significantly more potential for sustaining growth and building a greater connection into the needs of our customers.

Much of our innovation work today is caught up in out-of-date information, poor and inadequate data, restricted research and limited market understanding. Our innovation insights are badly lagging, with the effect being the solutions offered are not ‘tuned’ into the present and anticipated needs, as they often lack dynamic data. We need to digitize our innovation activities fully.

We need to ditch much of our existing innovation processes and practices, reliant on manual systems and so often trapped in silos of knowledge. Digitalizing innovation processes can potentially liberate us from ‘second-guessing’ customer needs and connect us into real-time understanding. This being ‘digitally connected’ can provide the catalyst to a greater level of innovative solutions that are far more aligned to customer and market needs.

Why does the combination of digitalization and innovation have such a transforming effect?

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Recognizing it is all about Value Creation

I am reading a lot about the concept of value creation recently, it answers everything but tells us so often nothing about how it is made up or it is truly present. It seems to have that same ‘heady vaulted position’ as innovation in that we all talk far more about the ‘promise’ of it, we want it but still are not prepared to put the real effort into it to make it happen.

So let me try and explain my thoughts on value creation. So what is behind value creation? What drives it? What will tell us this is an organization where value creation seems to well invest in, nurtured, built and protected?

So what is value creation?

Value creation is highly dynamic, it is going on all the time and can increase, decrease or transform, in different ways, when you exploit your different capitals that will be in constant change and adjusting to reflect your organization’s business activities and eventual outputs. This is when you can begin to see the value created by the use of deploying all the capitals to build new growth and what I call “stock” that along with “flow”. I loved this explaination of the two.

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Building the Coordinates into your Innovation World

Most of us are very aware that Innovation can be fairly complex in what needs to be pulled together to take an idea or concept into a finished product.. We are also aware innovation often ‘flies’ in contradiction to the normal organization’s ways and wishes, especially the emphasis on working in structured, efficient and productive ways. Innovation can often be rather chaotic and discovery driven, it often is seen as counter-productive to the orderly state our organizations wish to achieve.

Yet it is that randomness, that serendipity, that sudden discovery that needs a different way of thinking and organizing innovation. It can still be well-structured and effective but it needs the opportunity to allow in accidental discovery, by-chance conversation, fortuitous moments that just seem to happen and occur as you are “open” to them. You need to have both structure and unstructured aspects to allow innovation to happen, evolve and eventually shape towards an outcome that changes the current status quo. Innovation should always challenge and question this status quo.

One of the useful ideas of using an external resource is to put additional coordinates into your innovation world, they see contradictions in a different way. They can assist in working through the conflicting signals, so as to help align innovation in helpful and thoughtful ways. Certainly, the innovator’s role is not an easy one inside the structured world of larger business entities.

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