Leadership Alignment Work Mat for making Innovation fully connected.

I do 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 offer a framework that the leadership of the organization can adopt to ensure linkages and synergies between strategy and innovation, innovation and capabilities, innovation and culture.

Often they lack the communicating medium to help clarify and shape the innovation story to tell, so as 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.

First, as an executive team you will create cohesion and a consistent innovation framework that reduces barriers or uncertainties for innovators.

Second, you demonstrate your engagement, which increases visibility and lowers risk, which encourages more and better ideas.

Third, you create work-flows and encourage innovation skills and capabilities which accelerate ideas through your internal processes that increase the opportunity to be more self-organized under this framework.

Fourth, you influence compensation, provide motivations and promote the cultural and climate to innovate which progressively reduces barriers and creates incentives for innovation to thrive.

These benefits add up to more speed, more agility, clearer flexibility resulting in new, relevant products and services that can increase organic growth and provide solutions that differentiate you.

We believe C.E.O’s and senior executives play a vital role in the success or failure of innovation. Unfortunately, those roles have often not been well-defined and sometimes they are rarely well executed. We call this the engagement- alignment gap. Only an engaged, committed senior executive can create the means for building a sustained innovation capability or disciplined approach through defining innovation’s role.

The Leadership Alignment Work Mat resolves the litmus test. It provides a compelling structured approach for senior executives to build, extend and sustain an innovation capability. Starting with the most strategic goals of your business, it links and aligns innovation to strategy; it explores the critical aspects of any senior innovation strategic framework. It addresses the critical aspects so as to provide a holistic approach to innovation, reducing uncertainty, reducing risk and increasing your chance to help your company innovate consistently.

The end outcome of this Leadership Alignment Work Mat approach provides the innovation leadership and guidance to your organization to ‘frame’ the innovation activity to your strategic goals. This allows you to articulate and communicate the alignment through the innovation work mat throughout the organization. It will provide the necessary understanding needed to perform the innovation tasks more effectively under this framework umbrella.

It offers the strategic ‘frame’ your innovation future requires, it forms the emerging common language and communication necessary across the organization, that provides guidance, inspiration and clarity to your innovation vision and goals.It allows innovation to ‘cascade’ throughout the organization to achieve that close alignment innovation requires with the strategy to achieve a meaningful and sustaining set of results.

To find out more or request a detailed White Paper on this, please contact  paul@agilityinnovation.com or explore more here by clicking on the tab insights and resources“or on the re-luanched site of www.agilityinnovation.com under the tab toolbox

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 innovating 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.

Our economic prosperity will be determined by transforming the energy sector, and it is through innovation we will achieve this. To avoid the predicted consequences of climate change, the global energy system must rapidly reduce its emissions.

The vast majority of global CO2 emissions come from the energy production sector, from our buildings or transportation systems. They all need a purposeful design of a new, cleaner energy system.

Innovation needs to be at the top of its game, to be accelerated and scaled.

The energy transition that the world is undertaking is one of the most critical areas where innovation needs to be at its absolute best, top of the game, to make the level of change necessary. We need to deploy every innovative tool to leverage ideas and discoveries and then accelerate the validation into a commercialization path sooner than later.

Innovation needs to get out of the laboratories, moved from theory to application, and off the desk of those executives who fail to see the urgency of change we need to achieve the energy transition.

Innovation has risk always associated with it, but that imperative to push the boundaries does need always to be constantly in our minds; global warming, pollution, and resource finite are our “burning platform.”

We need to ramp up our need for solutions to reduce greenhouse gases, redesign energy generation, transmission, and distribution and bring a balance back into our environments.

Pushing our present understanding, looking beyond the knowns.

  • Today the solutions are centred on decarbonization, applying digitalization, and switching to an energy system that is more decentralized than at present. It is finding imaginative, innovating solutions that become essential to achieve this climate change through the energy transition we are undertaking.
  • Each organization within the energy transition looks at its own position and applies any changes to advance its competitive position. Quite rightly, but in focusing on one specific perspective, you can lose the bigger opportunity.
  • We need to extend the reach of electricity; we need to focus on Hydrogen, validate carbon capture and storage (CCUS) as well as bioenergy and take them out of the lab, out of the realms of theory and validate the innovation concepts into scalable ones that deliver the gaps we have in our energy transition.
  • We must find innovative solutions to reduce local air pollution, strengthen energy security, and develop a more significant energy system that is resilient to minimize the shutdowns and power outs. We need to find solutions to reliable and sustainable energy solutions that deal with heating, lighting, cooking, and cooling. Any change needs to find a way to create local economic value and jobs, as others in any change of this magnitude will be displaced.
  • As we search for enabling technologies, we need to constantly facilitate the integration of renewable energy, accelerate storage, explore sector coupling, introduce new ways to operate within the electricity system, seek out new power generation, design the grids for increased flexibility and digitalize solutions to provide further services, tools and distributed generation deployment knowing how to diffuse innovation in these general five approaches becomes valuable.
  • We need to continue to de-carbonize challenging industry sectors like steel, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, or our transportation systems if we wish to achieve any positive outlook of curbing carbon emissions and moving onto a pathway towards a zero-carbon future.

Innovation and showing progression give market confidence and encouragement that the innovation story is designed to take decisions through this innovation adoption approach.

Everything we are looking at in energy solutions faces a scalability challenge. 

It will be the ability to harness the existing with the new, and this is the role of innovation to deliver the changes by being the bridge and being the catalyst of change with new technology and innovative solutions.

Innovation adoption in the technology lifecycle for Energy Translation

Technological innovation has a central role to play in the Energy Transition currently being undertaken throughout the world. The shifts need to take the different parts of the energy system through a lifecycle approach to any future energy system.

The six critical focal points of the energy transition.

The six main thrusts for technological innovation within the Energy Systems for today’s energy transition are:

  1.  To accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies throughout the system.
  2. There is a real need to find innovative solutions that focus on the end-user sectors of transport, industry, and buildings.
  3. The technological and digital innovative solution needs to focus on the overall system design and the operation needs.
  4. Innovation needs to increase electrification through emerging solutions on the grids’ digitalisation and provide grid-scale energy storage for resolving variable renewable power and building out further energy storage.
  5. To push, nurture, and facilitate different energy sources to provide solutions to scale them up. These include solar power, geothermal, biopower, hydropower, onshore and offshore wind and finally tidal power.
  6. Lastly, innovation needs to achieve an affordably decarbonize industrial transition.

Many new innovation solutions need to continually unlock the system’s flexibility.

Besides technological innovation, there is growing potential for redesigning operational systems through new services, tools, and distributed generation deployment. There are opportunities to find fresh market designs that have demand-response models central to then provide new, more tailored services and then the exciting potential of designing new business models that look to greater co-creation, more flexible power purchase agreements and bring the consumer into the system as contributors, aggregators and highly energy aware.

My focus is on innovating energy.

Innovation must be at the forefront of the energy change; otherwise, we will fail to deliver on the 2050 commitments and goals, and that will have consequences for our very existence as we know it.

Besides writing about innovation and energy on two dedicated blogs of innovating4energy.com and digital4energy, I recently launched a complimentary website of innovating4energy.website, one that is laying out my business positioning and offerings to help in accelerating innovation within the energy system. That “open for business” sign.

I set out to offer the external perspective to those busy inside organizations focusing on mapping out the future of energy and where they fit to support, compliment, and provide different value points to this thinking and eventual work. I see this as more advisory to complement their insights, more feeding into and complimenting their expertise with different points of value.

** published simultaneously here and on my innovating4energy.com site relating to “all things” in the Energy Transition.

Designing Unique Workshops is hard work

Finding opportunities for Innovation and Growth is hard work. It is the value of having good, interactive, highly particpative workshops breaks much of those initial barriers to allow the hard work to begin in a more cohesive and collaborative way.

I believe any design of workshops must meet your needs, to push the thinking and to 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 as they felt it was “clearly” designed for them

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

  • 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.

You need both to explore and exploit the multiple possible solutions. Divergent thinking is the ability and opportunity to offer different, unique or variant ideas adherent to one theme, while convergent thinking is the (eventual) ability to find the ‘correct’ solution to the given problem.

You encourage and ideate many solutions, both possible and impossible, and then use convergent thinking to move towards a realizable resolution or solution.

I use this ‘divergent and convergent’ structure for many of my workshops, it allows for broader engagement and involvement and that eventual drawing together from this process. Once or twice you have to be nimble on your feet to move from one to the other but the discipline comes from timing these as shared spaces but giving each a clear discipline of dedicated time as you do need a very different mindset to think openly then begin to narrow the options down.

Creativity makes use of divergent thinking, which is solving problems with many possible solutions, as opposed to convergent thinking, which is solving problems

The process of figuring out a concrete solution to any problem is called Convergent Thinking. Divergent thinking is the process of thinking that explores multiple possible solutions in order to generate creative ideas. It’s a straight forward process that focuses on figuring out the most effective answer to a problem.

Divergent thinking” is the process of coming up with new ideas and possibilities. We are more in a creative and intuitive mindset. We explore lots of possibilities and stay more at this point on the conceptual abstractions.

We work this through then we go more into  “Convergent thinking”, this is associated with analysis, judgment, and decision-making. We become more analytical, rational, sequential and objective. We begin to explore constraint driven issues. It is the process of taking a lot of ideas and sorting them, evaluating them, analyzing the pros and cons, and making decisions, and exploring options that reveal, over time and discussion emerging value

These journeys are personal ones as well as team forming opportunities and form the backbone of good workshops.

 Understanding innovation requires a deep awareness- through a variety of tailored or purpose-designed workshops, dialogues or discovery trips you can rapidly enhance your awareness and grasp of what ‘makes up’ innovation. 

Innovation is our 100% of our focus and we can, without question, advance your knowledge and insights across all of its complexities to be simplified through our workshops, dialogues and discovery approaches.

Building the workshop it is deliberately designed to help you need to think through many areas of productive innovation opportunity. For example:

1. Understand the trends and drivers in your industry as well as explore alternative perspectives allows you to look at not just ‘best practice’ but leading and emerging practice.

2. Look constantly outside your organization to ‘see’ and collaborate from the values of applying open innovation principles and techniques

3. Fostering the culture and climate for Innovation to workinside your organization can create the environment you are looking for but it takes a real understanding.

4. We all need to be aware of the way we earn our profit and where and why and it becomes absolutely vital that our innovation activity fully aligns to the strategic needs

5. Complete differently in the value chain- what it gives from new Business Models and discovering new opportunities to energize your business in different ways

6. When we stop and look at customers in different ways so as to listen to their needs we can discover new innovation opportunities and then how do you discover those unarticulated ones?

7. Expand into new markets and customers thoughtfully using the core within your business, in exploring the adjacency spaces and probing those ‘white spaces’ needs careful consideration.

8. Develop new product, services, structures and processes needs debate and understanding

9. Pursue a range of degrees of novelty to generate a greater sense of innovation possibility

10. Being able to sustain your momentum and make innovation repeatable does needs a broad identification and set of discussions to raise awareness, and build those capabilities and capacities well.

These journeys are personal ones as well as team forming opportunities.

 Understanding innovation requires a deep awareness- through a variety of tailored or purpose designed workshops, dialogues or discovery trips you can rapidly enhance your awareness and grasp of what ‘makes up’ innovation. 

Innovation is our 100% focus and we can, without question, advance your knowledge and insights across all of its complexities to be simplified through our workshops, dialogues and discovery approaches.

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

Adjusting to a changing world

 Reflecting on a rapidly changing business world.

The issue we must tackle today, is how we go about adapting to the changing world? One that will be able to take all the advantages of the changes all businesses are undergoing, how societies will be adjusting and responding. We are facing a time of unprecedented economic and social crisis but this is a time equally for seizing and sizing different opportunities.

We clearly need to find ways to navigate ourselves back into some (new) order; to stabilize the chaos we are in. What we first need to do is make sense of what is going on around us, we need to determine what actions to take and the level of action, resource and support each part needs. We are in a period of (great) change. How are we thinking about how to adjust, not just to the immediate challenges but the greater ones that are certainly heading our way.

Within business, the present crisis is offering a chance to make significant changes to how we operate in the future. I am not sure many of you feel the same, it seems disruption is in everything, in what we need to undertake, in what is coming towards us in change. We are challenged but we have ample signals to amplify and explore. 

Disruption actually has a common purpose, often far less sinister than promoted or we suspect, it requires us to re-equip and open up, as we learn to deal in this changing world where connections can emerge from anywhere at any time, offering a new ‘line of sight’ onto an existing problem to begin to break down the barriers and find new fresh ways forward. Continue reading

Connecting innovating value comes from Ecosystem thinking

Ecosystems can offer so much connecting value out there to ‘form’ around.

We are witnessing a very radical change, driven by technology, increasingly disrupting and breaking down past traditional boundaries, partly built to defend positions so as to achieve economic scale.

There is a new economic logic to build even greater scale, it involves greater complexity, yet its value proposition is to strive towards offer greater customer experience and satisfaction, where the solutions are valued highly in social and economic value.

Ones that get closer to their connected expectations and daily needs for solutions to solve, in far better ways, than that are presently offered. The innovative design has become paramount to these new offerings.

Ecosystem design will create new business opportunities. We need to make the business case
Continue reading

We are searching for new pathways

Ecosystems and Platforms are our pathways to a new innovation future. Ecosystems have suddenly become of age, as they can be formed around common concepts fairly rapidly, they can enable cross-cutting innovation to be delivered in highly collaborative ways. They can, through shared platforms achieve a closer relationship with the customer, to understand their needs and experience through increased collaboration, and engagement.

Connecting and collaborating opportunities for business seem to be really powerful networks of value-adding effect, for finding new economic opportunity. This calls for some radical rethinking of the existing business and deciding the design of the future business. We are at a critical point of change. Business needs to explore the future is far more highly collaborative ways.

This calls for thinking through a different designed structure for the business and different skills needed. The shifting from the current state to the future designed state is no easy task. It requires a radical redesign of the organization, as it significantly increases complexity and where any digital transformation has to center upon as the critical enabler to enable this shift.

Clarifying the new critical capabilities Continue reading

Defining Innovation Capital

My definition of what makes up innovation capital:

New Core of Innovation Capital

“Innovation capital is the sum of all that promotes the development and changes required for achieving innovation outcomes, within one organization or its broader networked environment, for marketplace advantage.”

The capital of innovation has many moving parts.

“These are made up of the resources, processes, knowledge, and capabilities, that are constantly evolving and highly dynamic to build greater innovating capacity.”

“These build upon the capabilities of ‘sensing, seizing and transforming’ to build new capital that focuses more upon the dynamics within innovation, that provide the true value creation in successful outcomes in the final product, services or executing within business models.”

We need to value both “stocks and flows” in equal attention to build innovation capital.

The stock of innovation capital can render different productive value outcomes, is a bundle of the firm’s resources/assets and holds the renewal capabilities and they possess attributes that make it a “strategic asset.”

Innovation capital is made up of many different assets that are often context-specific and interconnected, and this makes it hard to build without taking a broader, more holistic approach to developing your capabilities, capacities, and competencies to innovate. You ‘map’ and align these to fit your strategic goals and aspirations; these provide the basis for the “flows.”

Each company needs to build its own unique capital stock. Continue reading