Managing Energy Transition through Innovation

In the past few months, I have been placing an increasing focus on the energy transition we all need to undertake in our energy systems, to build a more comprehensive understanding of the parts that make up the whole of this transition.

It is one of the most critical places where innovation application is required and able to be conducted to deliver a sustaining impact in our world. Innovation solutions will provide the energy transition needed, and that is what makes it such a compelling area to focus upon.

For me, the energy transition that the world is undertaking requires all forms of innovation, to offer technically advanced, as well as breakthrough solutions, to an incredibly complex system of energy delivery. To redesign a complete energy system in twenty to thirty years, which is the current time frame being wanted to be achieved, is as demanding as you can get. I certainly want to play a role in this transformation, it is exciting, challenging, and demanding on all involved.

We need to appreciate the magnitude of the innovation challenges Continue reading

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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

I prefer the work-to-be-done for innovation.

When we are really innovating we are actually working on the Work-to-be-done, it is a far more exciting activity than constantly focusing on work done, that we need to do to refine, it, to make it more productive, efficient and effective. This work is done, certainly needs doing, no question but it is the “work-t- be-done” that gets the pulse racing. Yet both are really hard work.

The work-to-be-done is the need for our future growth and well-being to be derived from innovation activities.

These are so often made up of so many intangible parts that need exploring, investigating and discovering, the exciting parts of work. As we reveal ideas, concepts or new designs we are providing the new wealth of organizations, in the knowledge sharing economy of today and the near future. We are adding discovery. 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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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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Innovation Capital Lies Within Organizational Learning

We need to know how to unlock the real value of innovation both personally and within the organization, we work for. If we do not fully understand where the innovation capital comes from, how new capital and stock can be provided, innovation will remain tentative, always stuttering along.

Innovation will lack that essential organization innovation rhythm, and it will stay disconnected for many and will be frustrating your own evolution in understanding if it does not become an organizational learning need.

I’d like to offer a fresh view on building your own innovation capital. Continue reading