Platform models are the new order of our innovating business need

Part of my shifting my own innovation advisory work was to build out a greater understanding of the power of ecosystems platforms and customer experience collaborations. This site here https://ecosystems4innovating.wordpress.com/about/   explains why there is this dedicated approach in my focus. Also oulining the reasons I chose to shift part of my business over to developing a “certain” knowledge expertise on ecosystems and platforms last year so to help others and equip myself for a growing part of the future of innovation.

Increasingly we are looking constantly for better value. We are increasingly restless and explorative. The big question for many companies that simply sell products is can they benefit from making changes in these platform models. How do they go about it to capitalize on this restlessness and constant need of new experiences? Is the stand-alone product model breaking down? Do the more traditional approaches to customers, those that are more supply sided, still serve their needs today? The answer is no, platforms are building very different connected experience for customers, they are voting with their digital clicks to move their business to these offerings. Are you building platform businesses? You should.

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Moving to a Digital World totally across your Business is highly challenging

Transformation is very hard at the best of times for all of us to undertake. Digital transformation 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, as we may remain unclear of the finished design for quite some time.

We have to evolve it, as we go. With anything that is evolving in front of our eyes, we will need to recognize some of the decisions we will make will turn out to be wrong but made as a good judgement at the time, on ’emerging’ evidence, not proven. Achieving a digital transformation is becoming really essential for innovation, helping to enable your ability to deliver sustained growth through making all the ‘connections’ come together in different ways, than ever before; in evaluations, analysis, in collaborations and in the process from discovery to eventual commercialization.

Digital transformation executed well is a really big undertaking. It goes way beyond making a series of incremental improvements to become cloud-ready as are supposed to build in and reflect social, mobile and digital technologies in the solution set. We need to fundamentally transform our processes by opening up and engaging with customers in dramatically different ways, in real-time, in constant exchanges and connected ways. Everything needs to be tracked and traced. Continue reading

Relating to the New Innovation Era

I firmly believe we are on the cusp of a new innovation era. When you step back and recognize all the different advancements we have been making in designing tools and frameworks, in understanding innovation, it holds promise.

Yet it is this recognition that the present is not working anymore with existing innovation systems, you do need to search for a real lasting change that does transform and connect all the parts into a new innovation designed ‘whole’. There are a number of intersections and driving forces that are coming together and what is emerging is this new innovation era. Now we have to weave them together.

Of course, much of what we have will still remain. We are still in need of finding innovations that provide new products, services or business models. These outcomes remain constant, it is the way we approach these that is in need of being seen as dramatically different. We require a more evolutionary, fresh perspective.

The sad part is that many of our existing consulting firms offer solutions that are unfit for todays need, or ill-equipped for offering advice on tomorrow’s purpose and the designs necessary. Equally, nearly all our larger business organizations are still locked in the past, or attempting to catch up to the present but in random ways. This does need a real change but can we achieve it?

Innovation is advancing but most of it has been designed for a different time, the old era of stable markets, predictable solutions and having a clear sense of your competition. All that has changed dramatically. We have all been trying (very hard) to stay relevant in an ever-increasing uncertain world, applying solutions left over from a past era. Something has had to suffer and I believe this is our innovation outcomes, that are not shifting the growth needle as we keep our innovation systems and thinking trapped in the 20th-century mindset. Continue reading

The Essential Connection Between Strategy and Innovation

Most organizations are seeking solutions to the necessary connections between Strategy and Innovation. The connection between the two are often broken.

Often it is within the strategies that should be outlined, lies the potential new spaces to play for innovation’s design. Yet how often do we fail to connect the innovation’s we design and execute specifically aligned to the strategic need?

We somehow seem to stay locked in the ‘here and now’ constantly repeating and refining the known and established within our domain of responsibility. Is this because innovation is not at the core of the business as it should be? Often we are inherently resisting to exploring change as it becomes risky and far more demanding. A good strategy, well outlined should encourage innovation and gain engagement but it can equally determine how we break down our imposed boundaries by its strategic intent, to encourage exploring and extending on what we know into the what we need to know. Strategic intent informs innovation.

If you have a clear strategic understanding of the needs of the business you are getting more of the understanding of where-to-play and how-to-win in your innovation activities and market investment. It is making these strategic connections that is giving innovators a better chance to deliver back concepts that offer alignment to this strategic need. Investing in this understanding and alignment should never be understated. The time invested, allows for the innovation investments to do their part in supporting the business and feeding it with the growth options required, or highlighting where the possible gaps might be, for additional investment or M&A activity, to accelerate this and bring-in fresh innovating momentum.

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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

Advancing My Applied Innovation Thinking

I wrote a post “Needing to Think Applied Innovation Services” recently, it was extending my view that innovation needs to change. We need to think of managing innovation in different ways, we need to automate it and in addition, augment it. I suggested in that post “we need to pull down what is needed” and design a totally ‘adaptive’ innovation process to fit a specific need.

I argued we need to think differently about how we manage innovation. It needs to be more radical in design, actually, it needs to be far more up to date and in tune with the technology progress we recommend so much to others! Innovation systems are lagging, they should be leading in their design and connectivity.

What I mean by this is it needs to begin to ‘account’ for cognitive solutions that can augment and help automate our present highly manual innovation systems. I know we have some good software for different parts of the innovation process but none of these are integrated, fully connected up in their design. We still work in piecing them together. We lose significant collaborative opportunities and speed due to this mostly disjointed innovation approach. Surely this has to change?

We need to bring innovation and its process up to date. With cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, cloud-based solutions, purposefully designed apps and specific tools and frameworks, we do need to begin to stretch our imaginations further and flex our technology and app solutions more towards providing a better, more connected innovation process. I want to see a new innovation era happen.

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The Perfect Conditions for Entering A New Innovation Era in 2017

a-new-connected-pathway-for-innovation-2So if there was ever a time to clear the existing innovation agenda and rework the entire space for innovating, it is about to become the pressing reality as we enter into 2017.

There are so many forces coming together that require this reworking. We are moving from diverging into one of converging, we are at a changeover point for innovation; let me explain each of the contributing factors but firstly, a brief overview.

The Merging Conditions and Forces

The very different political and economic conditions that will be arising in 2017, the continuing shifting social conditions, profound shifts we are undergoing in business and our own personal ones, makes it a world that is moving from being complicated to complex.

Any renewing does need innovation to become more central in our design but it will be managed differently far more collaboratory.

There is a lot of change occurring around our innovation abilities. There is the shift to more open-sourcing, the profound shifts that technology and digital transformation is having upon all our worlds is allowing a very different “connecting” innovation to come into play. We will see a significant acceleration of more innovation ecosystems, we are increasingly recognizing all the different collaborative tools increasingly at our disposal, we are exploring both platforms and forming ecosystems to radically alter the competitive edge previously seen to reside inside the single company.

A more opening out, forming more connections into customers, engaging them in appreciating their needs is leading us to recognize the value and power in the seamless customer experience. All of this comes from achieving a greater access and deepening the connections across networks. It is becoming the network economy

So I am exploring here each of these conditions that I believe are coming together for a really important transforming storm built around a new innovation management, increasingly making it the core to the future for growth. There is a time where each business has to become highly adaptive, agile, open and mutually dependent on others to deliver in this ‘connected’ world to exploit these conditions and explore the opportunities that will emerge. Continue reading