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

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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

So the value we can derive from using Knowledge Graphs

How does Knowledge Graphs fit within our need to communicate in new, visually exciting ways?

Let me provide a short narrative to give this a meaning and why it is becoming so important

 

Today we deliver content- It has become far too easy. We are drowning in it on a daily basis. We all suffer a massive deluge of digital input. Content can’t stand alone.

  • What we need is context to anchor content and give it meaning………..that’s our necessary starting point.

Context shifts everything, it gives it shape, a structure to draw (deeper) meaning from. We learn to know, to integrate, to remember, to understand and to act.

 

Of course, context is going to be fluid as it builds out its related content.

Having content and context is complementary, interconnected, and interdependent, they interrelate to one another, as we gain more insights we can potentially build a greater understanding. We improve our knowledge.

It is going to be needed to be adaptive as we learn but it will be placed in ‘certain bounds’. If we start from a much clearer starting base then the learning and discovery allow people to want to find solutions as they gain increased knowledge and provide fresh inputs, they begin to strongly relate. We pass through memory understanding. Continue reading

The new ROI for digital innovation

Innovation has had a bigger brother moving into the house next door; Digital Technology and between them, they have been busily knocking the walls down, to share the future going forward. The two have become interlinked, you seem to always need the one to respond to the other. Maybe it is a “digital – innovation twin” that shapes the physical world with digital understanding- think about the current Industrial Digital Twins for IIoT solutions.

Seriously, have you not noticed the more we work in the innovation space, digital and technology have become inseparable and part of any innovation solution. The innovation funds are increasingly being switched to digital or technology solutions and the output of the discoveries from this digital technology need innovation to then be applied. A virtuous loop.

Managing in this shift has become more intense and committing.

The reliance on deeper insights, more data, greater communications is changing the way we undertake innovation. Speed, scale, and scope are greater within the mix than ever before. We are testing uncertainty constantly, validating a part, pivoting more, experimenting and prototyping to work through this deciphering. Data specific, technology-driven, innovation invigorating.

Organizations are spotting opportunities faster than ever. We are cutting across borders, teaming up with start-up’s, past competitors to seize these opportunities. Continue reading

A New Integrated Innovation Engagement System

I have written extensively, certainly over the past eighteen months, about our need to take innovation into a new era, designed for today and tomorrow’s “fit for purpose”. Below you will see my view of how I see this sketched out, as my suggested concept outline. Does it make sense?

We have this compelling need to have a new cycle of innovation design. A more integrated solution that takes our understanding of innovation and how to manage it, into the realms of ecosystems and platforms in its design and thinking.

I wrote a piece “Jumping to a fresh cycle of innovation design” that stated much of what I saw as any design intent.

” We need to increasingly rely on problem-solving techniques that we generate through greater automated discovery and inquiry, those that emerge from analysis and data mining. So, we seek out greater applied science knowledge we will use it to support and develop practical applications based on technology and innovation. Utilitarian in its principles, seeking real-world use and implementation through a more creative, collaborative environment, leading to more discoveries that distinctly ‘blend’ the lab application with the customer discovery of unmet need. Through a blend of pattern recognition, predictive analytics and exploring cognitive computing we can change much with innovation”

“We have been steadily learning to adapt what we knew inside an organization with what we should increasingly listen to outside it. There has been an increasing emphasis on linking concepts in new and novel products and services, increasingly closer to these customer needs and desires.

We need to consider how big data and analytics, technology and a far more creative thinking needs to be applied collectively but in greater constellations of partners. We need to get far more comfortable with working in ecosystems, managed in platform designs to work more collaboratively. Continue reading

Munich Re offers a real clarity to their innovating future

The most impressive presentation I reviewed in 2017 was the one from Munich Re, held on 21st November 2017 under their investor day link

This, for me, was so well structured and offered such a high level of clarity on the pathway they are pursuing, combining innovation and digital, with the outcomes emerging, of building a new suite of Business Models.

I can only simply touch on it here, I suggest you do your own drawing of conclusions.

The Insurance industry has been struggling to adjust and adapt to the rapid changes occurring yet so many are hanging onto the traditional way of doing things. It is so refreshing to see how Munich Re are venturing out, exploring and exploiting, in multiple ways to learn a new innovation pathway.

I follow the two big Re-Insurers, Swiss Re and Munich Re specifically and the innovative differences are quite significant. Swiss Re seems locked far more into traditions and I am still to be convinced they have yet to embrace innovation, certainly from an external perspective, in the same way as Munich Re is undertaking. I struggle with Swiss Re’s messages on where they are exploring the future of Insurance. The way I view, it seems far more unclear, even random, they seem far more closed down with isolated attempts to explore opportunities.  Whereas Munich Re is constantly opening up to change, exploring and seems far more comprehensive and holistic. It seems one is undertaking “words are simply spoken” the other “actions underscored”. Maybe I am wrong. Continue reading

Creating the Industrial Ecosystem

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the Siemens Innovation Day. I really appreciated it, yet it took me time to absorb all that was provided, over these past two weeks.

One outcome is this post. I am grateful to have had the time to translate this in my mind. We all move on far too quickly and not have the time to sufficiently reflect, and that can be a huge mistake.

The day before the main event I was included in the Industry Analysts visit to the Siemens Technology Center, at Neuperlach in Munich. We were provided a variety of insights in different presentations and demonstrations, of the technology they are working upon.

The time spent in the Siemens Technology Centre was far too short, in getting the depth I would have liked. Yet, by accessing and re-evaluating all the presentations I have collected over the recent years, I pieced much of it together, into the clarity that I wanted, well actually needed, to understand where Siemens was positioned and going.

I came away from my visit to Siemens greatly impressed, now I am busy filling in the blanks.

The opportunity to attend has certainly triggered a lot of thoughts and connected me into Siemens, a whole lot more. They do seem to be are on a good path for growth but to make it a path that fully connects to exploit all the opportunities it can explore, Siemens needs to exploit Ecosystem thinking a little more. Surprisingly, I felt they lacked a more holistic view of innovation; a clear innovation process, and dedicated focus on this, which is required. Innovation is certainly central to the future of Siemens but it seems to me not to have the core positioning it should have.

Often you come across a dominating mindset of engineers, scientists, and technicians, who often have the mistaken view that they know innovation well when actually they only have a terrific depth on a given subject, not the breadth or broader comprehension. This comprehension is often missing by not having both fully connected and available, or consciously built in.

If you take a more holistic view of the all the connected parts of innovation that value-add, built on customer need, etc., that a structured innovation process offers, the result is more than likely to be more radical in final design and end-result. More radical in design and outcome The whole process to capture and translate options, to minimise the gaps, and leverage the critical opportunities, fully needs a system, a connected system.

I can’t prove it, in a very limited visit I had at Siemens but I certainly felt, they might value a more detailed review of their innovation environment, some more, it might potentially benefit them. Continue reading