Reflecting on our innovation practices

reflecting-on-our-innovation-practicesInnovation has been rapidly changing and much of its basics have been swallowed up by some newly defining frameworks that have raced up to the top of the innovation agenda. They have driven much of our thinking and reacting. It is right that we all respond to these but we often forget much of the rest of what innovation needs to be built upon.

The problem or challenge with this focusing upon ‘breaking’ practices or new methodologies, are they can be so much harder to master and build them into established positions and practices, without the right amount of debate, understanding and assessing the implications and impact.

This often needs different perspectives to form the final position. We fail to constantly review and re-engineer the innovation process and tend to layer more upon it, without a consistent reassessing what we are trying to achieve.

The excitement of ‘breaking innovation’ is in the pioneering, experimenting, discovering, sharing and exchanging. If you are always open to this new thinking, it does enrich and advance innovation understanding and that makes it so valuable but so demanding.

Many of these for me have been utterly enjoyable to explore as they advance our understanding of the emerging management practice of innovation but you can’t ‘gloss over’ the basics of innovation. Continue reading

Building Differentiating Capabilities for Innovation

pulling-the-levers-on-all-the-innovation-variablesWe so often get caught up in the building of our capabilities. In some ways, I keep attempting to “peel the innovation onion” in explaining the need to focus on building the capabilities in different ways but to be honest, it needs these various approaches to an ever-changing environment.

A different intensity of innovation onion perhaps? Why, well we have the business of today, the emerging business of tomorrow and the future business that will provide a radically different set of capability building needs?

The struggle to date is that innovation remains hard to manage well; we strive to systematize it and then attempt to replicate any success we then have, so as to achieve more, yet more often than not. we do not take into account all the variables that came together for that particular winning outcome. Often this does not work on a repetitive basis as the variables that make up innovation can be different for each innovation event or activity but we can learn under a growing ‘range of’ differentiating capabilities.

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The future innovation core lies at the edge.

our-new-core-lies-at-the-edgesBoundaries seem to be continually pushed in business, nothing seemingly is standing still, yet we are faced with many things that stay caught up in simply not being changed. Something eventually has to change, there is increasing pressure. We need to jettison old ways and establish new ones. In with the new in 2017, out with the old.

I continue to read and explore as much of the thought leadership on innovation, it continually points to a change in how we approach innovation.We need to embrace this need for change.

I have written about the new innovation era in 2017 made up of higher levels of needed collaboration, where platforms, ecosystems and customer experience understanding become increasingly central. We need to push well beyond our existing core of innovation understanding, we actually need a new innovation institutional design.

We are pushing further away from the old core. Continue reading

Please forget best practice, it is all about next practice

for-next-practiceOften you hear the request made of “can you give us a best practice snapshot; we would like to get a sense of where we are”.

Firstly please forget best practice, this is a mistake for you in a rapidly changing world

The trouble with best practice is you are looking at someone else’s practices and these are highly individual, made up of different groups of methodologies, processes, rules, theories, values and concepts. These together have provided that specific company a level of success that others – mostly competitors – begin to notice and just attempt to copy.

No, there is no such thing as best practices, only your own distinct practices, specific to your own environment, history and needs, you can’t simply pick up and plug and play, as one organization’s initiative is never the same set of conditions or positioning that others can simply copy.

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Getting out of the Building, Going Cross-Industry for Seeking Out Radical Ideas

get-out-of-the-building-2We all value those times when we can slip away from our desk, from the computer or phone and just simply step outside.

Some do this because of a necessity of topping up their nicotine levels or finding a few moments for having a chat, others just simply want to step away, relax a little and freshen up.

Another reason to get out of the office is when it comes to thinking differently within the business, going out  to seek out different, often radically new ideas. This offers the chance of seeing something completely differently, by being simply aware and open to new possibilities, detaching yourself from your own (comfortable) environment .

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Making a compelling business case for an integrated innovation framework

How do we manage future discussionsAs innovation becomes a more consistent requirement rather than an occasional exercise, it must align to strategic goals and become part of the planning and execution cycle in more aligned ways.  

An increased focus on innovation as a consistent discipline requires significant reflection on what needs changing, what impact this change will have and how do we proceed to implement it. This requires senior management attention because of the significant organisational impact.

The leadership within an organisation provide the linkage into the strategy, provide the framework and set this in the context of the vision and goals needed to be achieved. You, as the innovator, seek out the synergies between strategy and innovation, between innovation and capabilities, between culture, the environment, the process, structure and routines and how it all should be governed.

The compelling value is in having an integrated innovation framework

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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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