The art of “Back Casting” needs care

Backcasting is a planning method that starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect that specified “future to the present”. The fundamentals of the method were outlined by John. B. Robinson from the University of Waterloo in 1990. The fundamental question of backcasting asks: “if we want to attain a certain goal, what actions must be taken to get there?”

While forecasting involves predicting the future based on current trend analysis, backcasting approaches the challenge of discussing the future from the opposite direction; it is “a method in which the future desired conditions are envisioned, and steps are then defined to attain those conditions, rather than taking steps that are merely a continuation of present methods extrapolated into the future”

I have collected different views on “Backcasting”.

Those are from assorted references like Wikipedia, from past work on water and energy systems, from Natural Step, from Innosight, discussed and promoted in Mark Johnson’s book “Lead for the Future” and a really recent one from Roxi Nicolussi and her Backcasting; Creating a Strategic Roadmap for the Future” or finally here, this one “All Roads Lead From The Future Back — A Vision and Spoke Model” by Aidan McCullen. I am looking to further explore the applications applied in water, energy and climate work.

So exploring backcasting as a method

Continue reading

No thinking time left- help

Today most executives seem to be time-starved. They are constantly reacting to daily events, to fix upon the focusing and fixing of short-term performance. This applies to the top executive down to the most junior. The sheer difficulty of having most, if not all of your colleagues working remotely is making it so much harder. Keeping the business simply going is hard, demanding work. What time is there left to think beyond the present?

How can you keep the engagement, how can you find an environment that is creative, stimulating and allows for innovation? Juggling so many crisis events in different ways is exhausting.

Who is encouraging your pause button to go on as we lose more of those relaxing moments to top up our stimulations, as we all continue to isolate, with our lack of socializing, travelling, being in each others company continues to leaves us so devoid of real human interactions, apart from countless Zoom, Skype, or Team meetings? We need to replace this “void” with better thinking time to re-stimulate our curiosity and logic senses.

It just seems to me they simply don’t have this luxury to think.

Technology is rapidly taking over this thinking role, we increasingly rely on searches to at least begin our thinking. Humans are becoming the 2nd class citizen for thinking. Continue reading

Building our understanding of the factory of the future

Siemens Digital Enterprise SPS Dialog Results

Last week, Siemens had a really valuable virtual event called their “Digital Enterprise SPS Dialog. Those that missed it you can watch previous sessions on-demand at any time via “Recordings”. They provided an outstanding virtual showroom packed full of innovations, product presentations and use cases are exhibited in an exciting real 3D environment. The platform and all on-demand assets will be available until January 29th 2021.

The “Digital Enterprise SPS Dialoghad 56 3d-exhibits in 12 topic areas, more than 130 product presentations, 3 real factory showcases with 21 stage presentations involving over 38 speakers. By registering you can view “on-demand” selectively or watch the whole event, explore the showrooms and simply learn, evaluate and assess what these concepts would mean for you in your own Industry 4.0 journey, to a more highly automated and connected environment.

I said it at the time, and I repeat it: “The event was, for me, the best virtual event of this very strange and weird year we have all been caught up in“. For Siemens, they also commented this was quite a milestone to be achieved in the field of virtual events. It delivered a lot. My initial post “Siemens SPS Dialog.” might be worth also picking up upon.

By being virtual, the insights provided has advanced my understanding of what is being offered in Siemens Digital solutions significantly and would give any clients a terrific understanding of Siemens combined physical and digital offerings.

An event showcasing critical aspects of the factory of the future Continue reading

Setting the right innovation challenge

Atos is a global leader in digital transformation. Atos employees 110,000 across 73 countries with annual revenue of Euro 12 billion.

Atos holds the number one position in European advisory companies in Cloud, Cybersecurity and high-performance computing that provides end-to-end solutions to Orchestrate a wide array of Digital Solutions.

Why do I single out Atos for a post? There are several good reasons:

Firstly, I like its stated purpose “to help design the future of the information space” and Atos looks to contribute to the development of scientific and technological excellence. Continue reading

Adjusting to a changing world

 Reflecting on a rapidly changing business world.

The issue we must tackle today, is how we go about adapting to the changing world? One that will be able to take all the advantages of the changes all businesses are undergoing, how societies will be adjusting and responding. We are facing a time of unprecedented economic and social crisis but this is a time equally for seizing and sizing different opportunities.

We clearly need to find ways to navigate ourselves back into some (new) order; to stabilize the chaos we are in. What we first need to do is make sense of what is going on around us, we need to determine what actions to take and the level of action, resource and support each part needs. We are in a period of (great) change. How are we thinking about how to adjust, not just to the immediate challenges but the greater ones that are certainly heading our way.

Within business, the present crisis is offering a chance to make significant changes to how we operate in the future. I am not sure many of you feel the same, it seems disruption is in everything, in what we need to undertake, in what is coming towards us in change. We are challenged but we have ample signals to amplify and explore. 

Disruption actually has a common purpose, often far less sinister than promoted or we suspect, it requires us to re-equip and open up, as we learn to deal in this changing world where connections can emerge from anywhere at any time, offering a new ‘line of sight’ onto an existing problem to begin to break down the barriers and find new fresh ways forward. Continue reading

Connecting innovating value comes from Ecosystem thinking

Ecosystems can offer so much connecting value out there to ‘form’ around.

We are witnessing a very radical change, driven by technology, increasingly disrupting and breaking down past traditional boundaries, partly built to defend positions so as to achieve economic scale.

There is a new economic logic to build even greater scale, it involves greater complexity, yet its value proposition is to strive towards offer greater customer experience and satisfaction, where the solutions are valued highly in social and economic value.

Ones that get closer to their connected expectations and daily needs for solutions to solve, in far better ways, than that are presently offered. The innovative design has become paramount to these new offerings.

Ecosystem design will create new business opportunities. We need to make the business case
Continue reading

We are searching for new pathways

Ecosystems and Platforms are our pathways to a new innovation future. Ecosystems have suddenly become of age, as they can be formed around common concepts fairly rapidly, they can enable cross-cutting innovation to be delivered in highly collaborative ways. They can, through shared platforms achieve a closer relationship with the customer, to understand their needs and experience through increased collaboration, and engagement.

Connecting and collaborating opportunities for business seem to be really powerful networks of value-adding effect, for finding new economic opportunity. This calls for some radical rethinking of the existing business and deciding the design of the future business. We are at a critical point of change. Business needs to explore the future is far more highly collaborative ways.

This calls for thinking through a different designed structure for the business and different skills needed. The shifting from the current state to the future designed state is no easy task. It requires a radical redesign of the organization, as it significantly increases complexity and where any digital transformation has to center upon as the critical enabler to enable this shift.

Clarifying the new critical capabilities Continue reading

Defining Innovation Capital

My definition of what makes up innovation capital:

New Core of Innovation Capital

“Innovation capital is the sum of all that promotes the development and changes required for achieving innovation outcomes, within one organization or its broader networked environment, for marketplace advantage.”

The capital of innovation has many moving parts.

“These are made up of the resources, processes, knowledge, and capabilities, that are constantly evolving and highly dynamic to build greater innovating capacity.”

“These build upon the capabilities of ‘sensing, seizing and transforming’ to build new capital that focuses more upon the dynamics within innovation, that provide the true value creation in successful outcomes in the final product, services or executing within business models.”

We need to value both “stocks and flows” in equal attention to build innovation capital.

The stock of innovation capital can render different productive value outcomes, is a bundle of the firm’s resources/assets and holds the renewal capabilities and they possess attributes that make it a “strategic asset.”

Innovation capital is made up of many different assets that are often context-specific and interconnected, and this makes it hard to build without taking a broader, more holistic approach to developing your capabilities, capacities, and competencies to innovate. You ‘map’ and align these to fit your strategic goals and aspirations; these provide the basis for the “flows.”

Each company needs to build its own unique capital stock. Continue reading