The Growing Value in that Crowd- Encourage it Out.

Finding Value in the CrowdThe use of crowdsourcing: the goal for me, is to engage and move the crowd towards a new direction, by encouraging out individual thinking and discovery, searching for combining these contributions; ones that lead to novel, new answers that move a challenge forward into a solution,  one that has improved value over the existing.

The community is encouraged to form, lead and build, taking ideas and thinking onto discovery journeys, seeking out and building on each other’s contributions.

The individual building blocks (like Lego) connect into a collective whole, that piece together, progressively being combined, to solve a problem, to frame something that leads to an answer of meeting the challenge initially set up.

The overriding need is to release the forces within the crowd, by seeking out and gaining their engagement and connection as something ‘they’ believe they can contribute into; as here lies the discovery of many, combining and ‘feeding off’ of each other, to change the existing into the preferred.

This is the third post on crowdsourcing that might offer some general background statements. Part one is here and part two is here.

Crowdsourcing can be powerful if harnessed well.

After a fairly detailed exploratory working through crowdsourcing in this mini-series, I wanted to offer my ‘take’, to help our thinking though in formulating clearer positions in this, to see its increasing value as contributing into an innovation management system.

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So Are You Thinking Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing does have a real potential in my mind but does seem to have some formidable issues to work through, to be well understood and managed.

Partnering with experts in this field will help overcome many of these barriers or at least have reassuring suggestions for resolving them. Let’s take a look at some of these here in this post.

Certainly, I think over time we will learn what works for us and what becomes leading practice, so we can become a lot clearer on crowdsourcing position and value to us, within our context, terms and circumstances.

That is why it will be really hard to cite ‘best practice’ as each crowdsourcing challenge will need different inputs and will yield very different outcomes for each unique challenge or problem raised.

Continuing with my exploring crowdsourcing. Part one is here. Within this second post, I want to offer some different thoughts to work through around the issues and concerns that came out in my researching the subject. There is a part three coming out in a few days to finish this mini-series off.

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Evaluating Crowdsourcing – offering a bright future?

Crowdsourcing 1Crowdsourcing has been growing in interest for some time to change our thinking in innovation discovery. It can hold a key for us to help solve vexing questions, real challenges, and connect different voices, that builds into a community that can combine and open up the fields of opportunity for new solutions.

Crowdsourcing does have both the potential to point towards disrupting possibilities, extends the concept of open innovation into a wider source of participation from a diverse community not possible to reach by other means as effectively. It can simply connect a ‘crowd’ of people to a common purpose. All in all, if applied carefully it can provide you with a leading edge of innovation knowledge and insight.

I wanted to step back a little and take a more measured look at crowdsourcing over three posts. This is part one.

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I keep arguing we all need to seek out innovation alignment

Innovation needsAll too often strategy is not influencing the behaviours and outcomes around innovation, it is simply allowing them to be left to chance.

Innovation is being ‘pushed down’ the organisation for others to interpret and offer their answers. They execute to their own understanding and often the innovations end up as not strategically aligned.

That is plainly wrong, not knowing the strategic objectives it is one of the principle causes of innovation failure and requires fixing.

This poor strategic understanding creates a lack of alignment and directing innovation. If an organisation lacks top leadership engagement it becomes, for many, the reason why they seem to just simply ‘limp’ along in their innovation activity, delivering ‘simply’ incremental outcomes. The more radical innovations can never emerge if these do not have the close alignment to the Corporate vision or objectives and leadership engagement..

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Coaching helps overcome the ten innovation intractables

10 intractable innovation challengesA Question:
If you could ask those that lead innovation, your senior organizational leadership, a series of questions that might help unlock innovation blockages, now would that be valuable?

Getting to a root cause of innovation blockage
So what does block innovation? Arguably there are plenty of things up and down organizations: a lack of resources, an overcrowded portfolio of ideas, a lack of dedicated people, treating innovation as one-off, keeping it isolated and apart from mainstream activities.

The list could go on and on, no question but to seek out a meaningful exchange of minds let me offer these outlined below as ones to tackle. Get a discussion going on all of these needs ‘being selective’, raised at separate times and then integrated into a collective ‘declaration of innovation intent’ going forward.

Let’s take a different perspective.

If you could ask a series of question that might help unlock innovation blockages it would make such a difference to our innovation performance and engagement. I think this might need a good external facilitator as my recommendation, one who has deep innovation knowledge and expertise, able to manage the ‘dynamics’ within the room.

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Developing a new framework for risk and innovation.

Innovation & StrategyI believe we need a new way to manage risk within our innovation activities. It needs to be treated differently from the general ‘risk management’ criteria applied within our business organizations.

In a three-part series, part one outlined the implicit need to align innovation to the corporate strategy and through this we can determine ‘acceptable risk’. In part two I offered up numerous reasons why we should recognize and treat innovation risk differently, so as to allow it to perform closer to its promise of driving growth and achieving real advantage.

This post here is the third and last part, part three, where I lay out different mechanisms and framing of risk and innovation. These need to be evolved to fit your own risk appetite, not one size fits all. I hope it helps.

Risks are certainly shifting. In a recent piece of work by Deliottes called “Risk sensing:the (evolving) state of the art, the risks of most concern are changing each year. Interestingly, the pace of innovation stands among the top three risks in 2015 and tops along with regulatory risk, the list foreseen in 2018. With technology disruption, business model disruption and growing competition, social and customer engagement challenges the ability to manage innovation is growing as a concern and in risk management. We need to formulate a more robust risk innovation framework. Risk management for innovation needs to evolve to keep pace with the changing demands and pace of change we are undergoing in business challenges. Risk is becoming an evolving capability.

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Treating Innovation Risk Differently, Dealing with Uncertainty

risk innovationWe need to open up our thinking about risk and innovation management. We should aim for a really healthy construct that does help all involved or associated with innovation and managing risk, that gives a better chance of pushing beyond the incremental innovation that avoids most risk and disappoints those seeking real growth.

In this post two, within a three part series, I build the argument on why we need to treat innovation differently within any risk assessment. Part one focused on linking risk into an innovation strategy that needed to align to the corporate one.

Each organization finds its own level of risk appetite. Regretfully innovation, often by default, gets swept up in this generalization of “risk management” that is corporately driven and the serious message of “risk” dampens exploration. There is a real need to make a clear argument that innovation should be treated differently. It can still come under the broad risk umbrella but judging innovation risk is utterly different from organizational strategic risk.

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