All things considered for Innovation Thinking

Source: Rikke Dam and Teo Yin Siang

When we are designing innovation for the future, the search is even more centered around strategically connected value creation.

The task of searching to resolve more complex problems allows Design Thinking to step up and become a far more visible component on how we can go about this.

Design thinking needs to work in harmony with many other thinking skills to make its contribution. Here I outline some of my “must go to” frames or tools.

The need when you “cast out” and look into the future we need to make a lot of connections, these can be really different, seemingly disparate in ideas and approaches. The whole search for diversity can generate so much fresh thinking if we open our minds to the alternatives.

We need to draw on insights, creativity but most importantly have a growing sense of the context we are thinking through to search for new ideas, concepts, and eventual new innovating solutions.

We often get caught up in data far too early, looking for the real nugget that can transform our thinking. I would guard against this, we always need the “larger” context. Never allow the “narrow prism” to dominate until any concept is getting clearer in its final design. Continue reading

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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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How do you apply the three horizon framework in your thinking? Steve Blank you are limiting your thinking.

Presently the three horizon model is argued as no longer applying to innovation as it has been suggested, or I feel so, in a recent article written by Steve Blank.

Now I am a terrific admirer of Steve and his thinking but he does, I feel, rush to an assumption to fit one specific problem area, most coming from the start-up world. I apply the three horizons from the more mature organizations perspective and in a much wider lens framing approach than clear he does.

Steve Blank, no less, wrote about the problems with applying the three horizons as his view recently. You can read it here. He changed the title from “the fatal flaw of the three horizon model” to “fast time in three horizon high” mainly due to the push back he received from one of the original creators of this framework. It got even further dampened down into a more observational under “McKinsey’s Three horizons Model defined Innovation for years. Here is Why It No Longer Applies” in a Harvard Business Review posting that digs him further into his specific business focus corner that little bit deeper, as his title assumes.

Steve, I have news for you, the three horizons frame is healthy and fit for use, maybe not in your specific application (although I know it can be) but in multiple applications. I am not sure he decided why he became so dismissive on the 3H. “Fatal flaw, fit for use” can confuse a wider audience, many living off his pronouncements, when the value of this 3H frame is even more compelling today than when it was first proposed. It has moved on, not regressed. Continue reading

I would recommend applying the Innovation Value Proposition

Thinking about my own identification with the IVP took me back to when I started out on my innovation journey 18 years ago. That now seems like ages ago, and a lot has changed in how we manage innovation since then. But, strangely enough, a lot has also stayed the same – especially the fact that delivering good innovation is hard work.

Yet, the one thing I firmly believe reduces the “pain” comes back to how you design and relate to your value proposition – your meaning of what innovation needs to do.
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Building the Single Innovation Digital Platform Environment

Aras PLM Platform Image courtesy of Aras

Throughout the past couple of years, I have been constantly arguing about the need to put innovation management on a digital platform.

These have come in different thoughts on digital platforms, ready for cross-industry and having in place, a rapid digital innovation process that scales and evolves on new technology and insights.

We need a radical design, universal in design and approach.

What if you could manage your innovation in the ways shown in this diagram?

This is the way PLM innovation platforms are progressing and currently being assessed by CIMdata in a PLM Innovation Assessment Scorecard shown further below. Link to the position paper

The argument about what any innovation management system provides goes on and on and still, we seem not to be at the universal acceptance point that an innovation management process is critical and needs a better system of management.

What we should finally accept, a platform connects all users, both internally and externally in their ability to share their knowledge and information in exchanges, in one environment to cultivate collaborations and continuous collaborative creativity. The more we design and need to deliver smart, connected and innovative products the more we have this innovation platform need.

The majority of the present software providers fail to grasp this. Continue reading

The problem of scaling can confuse those innovating.

The problem of scaling can confuse those innovating and can this be changed?

I have been often returning to scaling, struggling with finding the best answers. Many organizations struggle with scaling. This can be scaling their organization, their capabilities or more often, taking an idea into a fully scaled delivery.

Maybe I have been looking at it all wrong?

The complexities of scaling can’t be lightly dismissed. You need very often, size to scale. This could be in a new plant, in where production should be situated, so it can be allowed to scale at a later date, in resources able to achieve scale or more importantly you scale according to the type of goods or demand so they can be readily available, closer to the market they are needed.

When you work in a global organization, scale takes on even a greater set of dimensions; one that needs coordinating and managing.

So I was thinking through some points on scaling a little differently. They are partly ‘open questions’ or some thinking out loud. You can say they are “half-baked”, perhaps in more than one way! 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.

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