We are in need of a common language for innovation

German Late Medieval (c. the 1370s) depiction of the construction of the tower.

Any innovation common language needs working upon. It firstly needs recognition it is in our best interests to find a common point. It needs to be relevant to each of us, it must be current, appropriate, accurate and highly visible throughout the entire organization. It also needs to be allowed to grow and flourish, to evolve and become the lingua franca of all our innovation work. It needs building and constructing in conscious ways and design.

Let’s step back just for one minute, these ‘sentiments’ are fine, yet we actually do, seriously lack a common language for innovation and we should find the ways and the means to change this. It holds innovation back significantly. It can’t continue in a world of greater networking and collaboration.

Languages unites us or keeps dividing us

Language can have the power to unite us or potentially divide us. Developing a language to unite us in our innovation efforts goes some way to reduce disagreements and egos, to qualify individual interpretation or bias, often a key inhibitor that can block a team’s success. It lays in a common foundation. It builds confidence and understanding.

Once we have a common language, we can set about building and creating a more robust innovation management system. One that builds on this framework so it can relate to the relevant context, conditions, and environment for innovation, to offer within this building block, the common identity.

These identifiers can build into better understanding how to structure governance, process, and functional structures, to build a culture that is responsive as ‘they’ can identify a need for a common cause of understanding. It is in this central innovation language that becomes our clear unifying context, the enabler, and sense of personal identity with the purpose of what we are wishing to achieve.

In any common language, we need to master the understanding, the nuances and how it all fits together. We need to exploit it and extract what it can offer to enhance all the work we do in innovation. We need to appreciate always its terms, its definitions (and limitations) and the related performance values that can help to improve our performance and in our achievements of working increasingly with others.  A common understanding of our meaning to ‘innovate’ becomes an imperative. Continue reading

The innovation value lies within the new system

Image credit: the film “the Core”

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. Continue reading

Covering Innovation My Way

I set out to engage 100% in innovation work, it has been quite a journey of discovery, relating and then translating the parts into solutions. I still get overwhelmed by the sheer information overload or advice that seems to be offered.

Just trying to stay your own course is tough enough but with all the diversity of views, it must be even more overwhelming for others, those who are asked to take on a role within innovation. Where and who do you turn too must be a real dilemma?

In recent years I have found I need to diversify away from one given ‘voice’ on innovation and channel this out into specialized and more focused areas of innovation activity. At present, I have SIX channels open on innovation advice or advisory service that has made my life partly more complicated but more importantly, able to separate my thinking into these parts, as they deserve a ‘deeper’ dive and/or broader exposure.

I thought I’d outline the six here in this post as the sum of the parts that  contributes to the whole Continue reading

Digital technology is changing the innovation ‘game’

Digital technologies are beginning to have a real impact on the methods, approaches, and rates of our innovation outputs. Social technologies are giving us real-time understanding.

We continually learn, often at our cost, that intuition and ‘gut feel’ on research set up and gathered weeks or more often months ago. This ‘knowledge’ is becoming out of date before we can gain from it and sometimes highly dangerous to follow, or believe in some today’s rapidly changing times. We need to get closer to ‘real-time.’

This reliance on rapidly out-of-date understanding cannot be the basis for any justifications for high-stake bets when it comes to innovation. We need to change our thinking and design in the digital insight part more specifically within and along the innovation process. Technology in all its forms is altering the innovation game but are we adapting to this radical change potential? We need to embrace it. Continue reading

The backdrop of digital transformation and its consequences

Digital transformation is now omnipresent and has the potential to reshape the way all organizations operate. The customer has become absolutely central to this transformation and the push towards the 4th Industrial revolution is driving this transformation wholesale, across all industries and services engaged in business.

Let me outline some of the challenges in my opinion that might help us all form a clear view of the digital transformation journey, recently researched.

Firstly I’m sure we can all agree transformation is very hard at the best of times

Digital transformation is doubly difficult, it forces us to work with mostly emerging, constantly evolving technologies, and then apply these in an integrated way into an existing business. This stretches our abilities significantly.

Beyond making a series of incremental improvements to become cloud-ready, we are supposed to reflect social, mobile and digital technologies. We need to fundamentally transform our processes by opening up and engaging with customers. On top, we have to deal with a broad range of communities, across platforms and in different ecosystems at speed, scale, and scope. However, we must do all this to reposition all our businesses towards the digital world.

I provided a recent digital transformation report that might help you in planning this digital journey.

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The Global StartUp Ecosystem

The 2017 report by Startup Genome recently came out (April 5, 2017) You can find it here “Global StartUp Ecosystem Report 2017” which provides a 150-page review of the global state of startups. It is a really good resource to understand that not everything “starting up” is just coming from Silicon Valley, there are some vibrant startup ecosystems emerging all around the world, some most certainly near you.

The report goes into some depth of the top 20 places and then deep dives into others in America, Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific. In all 45 cities around the world are nurturing startup ecosystems that are worth reading up about.

The report is copyright to the Startup Genome but I am sure they will not object to me quoting them in their goals for this

“Every city has the right to participate in the global startup revolution and reap the benefits of job creation, innovation, and economic growth. As this report documents, however, too many places are currently excluded from this revolution”

The aim of the report is to provide data-driven insights for startup leaders, investors, and the other ecosystem stakeholders like city leaders to capture and access policies and practices so they can learn from this research on what does and does not work, to build these startup ecosystems. Continue reading

Business Needs Innovation Ecosystems

The significant transformation taking place around exploiting technology and digital management has made ecosystems and platforms a mainstream prospecting need, in most of our businesses today. We must engage in what all of this means and its business impact.

I certainly believe the ecosystem approach will increasingly become the main value-producing stream for innovation delivery. Platforms, strategic partnerships, new business models all will be on the agenda of any serious global organization and ecosystems through platforms are the organizing environment to enact these.

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