Thinking sustainability needs a mix of future scenarios.

The accelerating need to build a sustainability pathway

Sustainability is rising to be top or close to the top of a boards agenda. The growing concerns of several intertwined issues need addressing as they will initiate a significant change to the Business and how it operates and presents itself to the world.

Boards are asking where our business fits within and alongside society, both in who we serve and society in general, coupled with realising that the planet is heading towards a critical crisis and what we can do to reduce these pressures?

Not just sustainability forces a sharper need for strategic choices but the ability to undertake the product reinvention. A reinvention that concerns itself with reducing waste, minimizing carbon emissions, valuing the full life cycle and the ability to show the increasingly important end-of-life part of the lifecycle model. To extract precious, rare earth minerals and recycle parts reduces the demand for future mining or heat intensive materials.

Any products need to have a clear understanding of all their stages for the clarity of sustainability. Continue reading

Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation

“Without a major acceleration in clean energy innovation, reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 will not be possible.”

A groundbreaking report, “Net-Zero by 2050: a roadmap for the global energy system“(referred to as NZE here) by the Internation Energy Agency (IEA), has been emphasising that this decade is pivotal to reaching net-zero by mid-century.

This 2050 target is in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, the foundations of global consensus to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5c. This requires nothing short of a total transformation of the energy systems.

The report is the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net-zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth.

The report sets out a cost-effective and economically productive pathway, resulting in a clean, dynamic and resilient energy economy dominated by renewables like solar and wind instead of fossil fuels. The report also examines key uncertainties, such as the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture and behavioural changes in reaching net zero.

The role of innovation has a crucial one to play.

In the near term, the report describes a net-zero pathway that requires the immediate and massive deployment of all available clean and efficient energy technologies, combined with a major global push to accelerate innovation. Continue reading

Going beyond the 5 bold steps offered to Reimagine the American Innovation Agenda

I have been reading a report written by Stephen J Ezell of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) along with a guru of innovation, John Kao, of ILSi on their concerns that something is amiss with the U.S. innovation system.

The report “Five Bold Steps Towards a Reimagined American Innovation Agenda“, written in February 2021, argues for embracing these five bold steps of story, stewardship, strategy, scaling, and system reimagine innovation for the decade ahead.

In all honesty, it is a little underwhelming, not just the bold but simple five steps but the short document of five pages. It assumes a position, and that is dangerous.

Their argument regarding innovation is that Americans have come to see U.S. leadership as a birthright, as a matter of course. In my view, they lost the leadership mantle for innovation years back. I totally agree it should and needs to come back as a bedrock of future growth, prosperity and dramatically altering today’s landscape. Continue reading

Human-centred innovation in a digital world.

Today we are facing many current disruptions where we need to react fast and intelligently. There are many situations we are facing that is a race against time. As we continue to respond to Covid-19, technology has the power to reduce the complexity often faced, speed up and contribute to solutions that help resolve pressing issues.

We recognize that equally as important as the technology are the people using the technology. Having people at the centre of designs enables more intelligent, rapid and lasting innovation.  The Digital Twin is where data from the physical and virtual world come together and is increasingly where people and technology come together to resolve many of today’s challenges.

Applying human-centred innovation

Tony Hemmelgarn, the CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software, presented “Human-centred Innovation” at the Hannover Messe show (April 12th to 16th, 2021), which was held in a virtual environment. Continue reading

Leadership Alignment Work Mat for making Innovation fully connected.

I believe the value of working the seven domains of this framework, named the Leadership Alignment Workmat has significant value within and across any organization. It brings innovation together, a unifying point for the activity and momentum of innovation to become central to the core of the business in its future investment and value impact.

The Leadership Alignment Workmat provides a unique examination of the executive’s role in innovation; it offers a framework that the organisation’s leadership can adopt to ensure linkages and synergies between strategy and innovation, innovation and capabilities, innovation and culture.

They often lack the communicating medium to help clarify and shape the innovation story to provide the guidance necessary for achieving that essential engagement and encouragement they would like to align organizational efforts required from innovation to the strategies envisioned.

Benefits of applying the Leadership Alignment Work Mat

From an investment in an executive work mat exercise, you receive four significant benefits. Continue reading

The crucial role Innovation must play in the Energy system

Innovation is vital to the energy system’s integration and operation design, and we need to further recognize its crucial role. I believe we undertake a radical transformation in the way we supply, transform, and use energy. This requires a profound transformation in technologies, systems, and infrastructure.

Innovation is made up of many enabling technologies that support energy. This complexity requires innovative approaches to be built in highly systematic ways. Its ultimate result is to offer innovation that can continually look for re-imagining new market designs and business models to stimulate the changes and solutions for our future energy transformation.

Innovation needs to be transformational, offer greater value than what it is replacing, show the real advantage, set out to achieve competitive gains and offer a higher level of sustainability, value and impact.

We need an innovative mantra for energy.

Energy is a vital part of any country’s ability to be competitive. Today half the world’s capital is invested in energy and its related infrastructure as it is the backbone of any industrial and urbanization strategy.

Our need is to keep pushing for discoveries, for experimentation, for demonstrating. We must nurture innovation, and we must continuously look for ways to facilitate its pathway. Continue reading

Designing Unique Workshops is hard work

Finding opportunities for Innovation and Growth is hard work. It is the value of having good, interactive, highly participative workshops that breaks much of those initial barriers to allow the hard work to begin more cohesively and collaboratively.

I believe any workshops design must meet your needs, push the thinking, and generate new returns in innovation understanding.

Boilerplate designs might look initially attractive, but knowing your needs, limitations, concerns, and ambitions can transform a workshop into one that lasts in the participant’s minds. They felt it was “clearly” designed for them.

Which end of the innovation spectrum do we need to go to?

  • Workshops can mean different things to different people. Find ones that are 100% focused on engaging with and accelerating innovation. They need a couple of simple rules.
  • Conducting ‘open’ dialogues or focused conversations should always have a sound context, so the contributions slowly build-out and hold real promise.
  • Discoveries can start with different ‘fields of enquiry’ to achieve different connections and deepen our perspectives.

A great book, written by Bill Sharpe, explaining the Three Horizons often comes to mind. I wrote about it here “Three Horizons- fields of future, full of foresight.”

Then I find the Divergent / Convergent approach in thinking as highly valuable.

We need to always challenge ourselves, and taking you through a set of lenses of discovery that go from ‘divergent to convergent‘ is important. Continue reading

No thinking time left- help

Today most executives seem to be time-starved. They are constantly reacting to daily events, to fix upon the focusing and fixing of short-term performance. This applies to the top executive down to the most junior. The sheer difficulty of having most, if not all of your colleagues working remotely is making it so much harder. Keeping the business simply going is hard, demanding work. What time is there left to think beyond the present?

How can you keep the engagement, how can you find an environment that is creative, stimulating and allows for innovation? Juggling so many crisis events in different ways is exhausting.

Who is encouraging your pause button to go on as we lose more of those relaxing moments to top up our stimulations, as we all continue to isolate, with our lack of socializing, travelling, being in each others company continues to leaves us so devoid of real human interactions, apart from countless Zoom, Skype, or Team meetings? We need to replace this “void” with better thinking time to re-stimulate our curiosity and logic senses.

It just seems to me they simply don’t have this luxury to think.

Technology is rapidly taking over this thinking role, we increasingly rely on searches to at least begin our thinking. Humans are becoming the 2nd class citizen for thinking. Continue reading