Entering 2019 – What Do Each of Us Need to Focus Upon?

As we enter 2019 I always like to take a day or so, to reflect and think about what I should be focusing upon in the next year, around innovation. What has influenced me in 2018 and what I feel is shaping my thinking going into 2019?

I can honestly say, it never fully works out as the year progresses, there are distractions, subjects that attract my eye, hold my attention or simply ones become bigger in my wish to pursue as important to understand or become more focused upon.

Innovation is constantly shifting in customer needs and issues to absorb, relate too, build into our thinking, in a world where many within the business community are “time-starved, often knowledge poor” I look to help them on different innovation insights.

What about you? Here are my thoughts coming from 2018 that are leading me into 2019

Firstly in the year just closing I have been taking a look back at what I wrote about in 2018.Digital and innovation dominate.

On this site paul4innovating, I wrote 34 posts, a drop on past years, but increasingly with the shift into the constant integrating of digital into all things innovation, continuing as the emerging trend and theme, I seemed to spend the most time upon. On my other main site focusing specifically on ecosystems and platform related work, I wrote 25 posts.

Also in this year I began to put some fresh  life on two new posting sites, one focusing specifically on coaching and mentoring “guide4innovating” and the other “connecting digital and innovation” looking more at the critical part of digital and innovation that is forming most of my posting and researching work in recent months to break it out. My one other continues a very tortuous journey of building the dynamics when linked, become the connecting points in building innovation in the needed capacity, capability, and competence, that I term the pursuit of innovation fitness dynamics

Why do I run so many posting sites? Continue reading

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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

Innovating in the digital age- a terrific report

The report from Arthur D Little “Innovating in the digital age- a cross-industry exploration” has to be the one report that really stands out for me from this year. I highly recommend it. They take a look at how digital technology will transform the way innovation will be managed in the future.

This report was produced by Dr. Michael Kolk, a partner, Digital  Innovation Lead in Arthur D Little and Heike Woerner, a principal, technology and innovation management.

Now that is music to my ears, a report that provides extra “jest” to my own arguments that digital innovation is going to take over in very significant ways the innovation management process from discovery to delivery.

So many of the current suppliers of software are asleep at the wheel still working the old tired model of how to set about innovation. That will change, it will change and I predict we will see significant movement into having digital solutions specifically for innovation management in 2019. As I know the continuing deepening of insights will eventually compel companies to change their innovation management thinking. 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? I’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.

Continue reading

Overwhelmed, underwhelmed at the Web Summit, Lisbon

I am taking the opportunity to review the Web Summit, held in Lisbon last week of 5th (evening) to 8th November 2018. The Web Summit, originally Dublin Web Summit, is a technology conference held annually since 2009. The company was founded by Paddy Cosgrave, David Kelly, and Daire Hickey. The topic of the conference is centered on internet technology and I went looking for multiple innovation angles and left actually disappointed.

I do have to admit I did head to the Web Summit a little biased. Everything “smacked” of commercialization on a big scale. I never really got past this judgment. I had been invited so should I be so cynical or ungrateful, perhaps not but it is hard not to get past this “sheer” commercialization and randomness. I’ll explain randomness later.

When you are told “Forbes has said we run “the best technology conference on the planet”;  or The Atlantic that Web Summit is “where the future goes to be born”;  The New York Times that we assemble “a grand conclave of the tech industry’s high priests.”

These overhyped claims roll on “Bloomberg calls it “Davos for geeks”, Politico “the Olympics of tech”, and the Guardian “Glastonbury for geeks”. My eyes are rolling on these. Overhype is an understatement.

The publicity blurb adds “At a time of great uncertainty for industry upon industry and the world itself, we gather the founders and CEOs of technology companies, fast-growing startups, policymakers and heads of state to ask a simple question: where to next?”

This year over 70,000 people were heading to Lisbon for this Web Summit. Continue reading

Can We Have One of These? A Product Innovation Platform

Recently I was exploring the world of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and read an excellent Whitepaper from Aras Corp, one of the leading PLM solution providers.

The Whitepaper called “Product Complexity, Digital Transformation, and the Innovation Imperative- The race to reinvent how complex products are developed is here“.

This made me a little jealous and a little wishing that ‘we’, across the whole of innovation management, could not have one of these platforms available today. Some claim that they do this already but seriously they do not.

I have argued we do need to change the way we undertake innovation and its development. I am really frustrated by the legacy we have in our processes, systems and the ways we approach innovation, and its development lifecycle. We still break it up into separate parts, dealing with the pre-ideas stage, collecting insights, the idea management, then into a pipeline or portfolio system, that all has so such manual and siloed approaches built into this. These are tue legacy systems.We do need to bring innovation management into the 21st century where everything is transformed through a platform that allows total integration.

So as I read about the solution that Aras provides to the designers within Manufacturing to manage PLM complex systems and products, you have to wonder why this cannot be extended into all innovation’s management. Of course what “sits” on the platform will be different but it has much that can adapted and aligned in the principles of any design. Continue reading

What do we expect from Innovation? Mostly disappointment

Good innovation is notoriously hard to achieve. There are so many obstacles and uncertainties as you take an idea or concept through to eventual release. Often, we are dealing in the unknowns and uncertainties. We continually lack facts, we keep seeking validation. We are pressured for results. Others looking at the innovation progress keep demanding tangible evidence and quantifiable guarantees that the outcome provides clear returns.

Much of the innovation discovery journey is a disappointing one. A hunch or insight becomes a dead end. A promising idea did not foresee a roadblock that cannot be resolved. Resources constantly “churn” and get depleted, waiting for others to be brought up to speed. Those not involved directly within the innovation project constantly remain skeptical or require more proof. The status quo of the existing places an increasing drag on the forces of change.

Then we have that often-delusional aspect; where the organization has this total belief they are well ahead of their competitors and simply point to their financial performance as the justification that their innovation is superior when it is so many other factors that have determined that. Superior is often so transitory.

When they are constantly scanning reports on the “state of innovation” it can often lull them, to give some that warm glow, others quickly being dismissive, disregarding many of the key messages as “not applicable to me”. Continue reading