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

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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

Optimism in Innovation, Thinking About Risk Differently

For me, there is never enough talked about innovation risk. Innovation is held back so often because the quantification of it’s risk cannot fit into an organization’s current assessment and measurements of risk.

Innovation is often too intangible, full of unknowns as the very nature of anything new and different. Innovation risk leaves many executives very uncomfortable.

Organizations get uncomfortable when the words “radical” “intangible”, “unknowns” and other words like these when they form part of the conversation. It often starts to induce that “risk twitch” where that careful management for short-term performance might become threatened, or the manager feels any decision is ‘going out on a limb’ and possibly career threatening.

That growing uncomfortable feeling that innovation places their bonus at “risk” so they like to ring-fence innovation as much as possible. Now some of that ring-fencing is fine, you contain a risk to keep it manageable but most innovation does not constitute organization risk, yet it gets caught up in that risky fear that innovation seems to induce. Actually, if we were managing innovation at the core, our risk management for it would be very heightened and managed differently, but how many of our companies’ have innovation as their core?

So I always welcome discussion on risk and innovation. The more we talk about it the better for what is coming towards us. Continue reading

Ring Fencing Constrains Innovation

It is the very act of ‘ring-fencing’ we have constrained innovation. We then can limit risk, as well as we are constantly separating it from the center of the company, even though many of us try to push it back towards the core.

Innovation remains separate for the clear majority of our companies even today as it is full of unknowns and question marks. Top executives just do not like the sound of this, so they seek to ring-fence innovation. One where they want to contain it, to try to tame it, so it can mirror their (mistaken) believe that our world is one of order, control, and stability.

Instead of embracing that the real world is actually an innovating world, full of opportunity, for those prepared to take a greater risk, will have much to gain. Regretfully we still see many companies operating with a 20th-century mindset. Thankfully the pressure upon companies to innovate, to get their growth back, is getting a very tough place to operate in today without tangible demonstration of innovation being realized. There is this need to “embrace” innovation. If not, rapid extinction is occurring for many that choose to ignore the sweeping changes we are witnessing in the business world, where more open and technology-driven innovators are connecting and collaborating. Those companies that only halve-heartedly attempting change are fearful and still want to “box” innovation in. A transformation where innovation and technology go hand-in-hand does have to be utterly full on to succeed! Continue reading

So I keep asking myself “What is the role of social media in innovation?”

Social media haunts us all. For many years you first become aware, then very aware and then fully aware that social media is changing our lives.

Let me confess: I am not alone I am sure but I seem to be presently suffering from Social Media Return Dilemma. There I’ve said it, it is out in the open, “I suffer from SMRD”.

To be honest I am struggling with social media in innovation, struggling to get my head around it for my business, for me for a long time. It often seems overwhelming, do you feel the same? I worried about this years ago and still do. What is the best social media to have as part of your communicating strategy, how much time do you network?

It starts with a realization

I can see daily the amazing power that social networking can provide, it is certainly eating into my day, more and more. Is this a good thing or bad? What suffers, what benefits? The time issue has to increasingly be managed, and I have yet to come up with a repeatable plan to manage social media consistently each day into my work. I get so much from viewing, commenting, relating and learning.

I don’t have a clear enough strategy for it or where to direct my social media energy, does anyone? It continues to evolve in front of our eyes, are you cresting the social media wave or swimming like crazy to get back up on the surfing board?

I am still learning, experimenting, exploring through a combination of writing blogs, contributing to others, updating my connections, tweeting sometimes like crazy, publishing, promoting or simply clicking on a retweet or offer a “like” back to the author or the one that has publicized something that interests me. Often I do wonder all this frenetic energy leads to what end. It does nag away at me?

Continue reading

What goes around, comes around, in Innovation

It is funny but that often-used phrase “what goes around, comes around” seems appropriate here.

I was catching up with my often collaborator and sparring partner on “all things innovating” Jeffrey Phillips  recently, and within our conversation, some of our discussions sort of triggered a reflection back to some fundamental work we undertook some years back.

In revisiting it, I felt it does stand the test of time and does seem to make this “come around” seem true. Let me provide a quick introduction along with some brief explanations : Continue reading

Return Value Back to Knowledge

Let’s return knowledge back to knowledge!” “Let’s return value back to knowledge” This held my attention.

So now I want to draw this to your attention, the underlying story. I was recently invited to join the Future Shapers as a contributor and I was delighted to be accepted as a future shapers contributor. this is my profile link.

There are some strong reasons to add my voice to this group so I wanted to share this with you here on my main posting site

Normally I would not try to merge my posting site with others unless I have some growing level of involvement, contribution or strong identification with. Well, this is one of those but I first wanted to wait before I publicize it here, as the official launch of a funding project kicked off late last week in Madrid,(link) that radically gives it a really different meaning, one to draw to your attention as it is radically different.

So let me explain why, so I have provided the outlines of the story below in their words Continue reading