Shifting our thinking within the Fourth Industrial Revolution

I always enjoy selected parts of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos and in this year’s #WEF18 agenda, it certainly had its good points. I don’t attend, I listened and read.

Overhaul though, I was a little disappointed, as it lacked the real leadership insights you come to expect, strong personalities did not seem to shine through this year from the speakers and panelists. They gave fragmented insights for the future, mostly seemed to be retrospective, caught in the present, or simply trying to catch up.

I certainly felt the WEF theme for this meeting, of “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” showed through, actually more re-affirmed as fractured. We seem all to be still working on what the future will look like, as it is in danger of being fractured even more before it coalesces around new directions and order.

Some suggest we should allow the future to just simply unfold but I don’t share this view, our future does need to be shaped in so many ways but in what ways and what to allow to “simply evolve” is a very complex question and we are not getting many cohesive answers. So, it continues where it continues, based on individual perspective. The future is never easy to map out but you would expect more answers than questions

Yet what this forum provided, was in its bringing me back to refocus on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It helped deliver a far sharper focus on its impact, potential, and scope beyond just manufacturing. Now, this was the major ‘bright spot’ of future collaborative potential for us all. Also the growing concensus around the skills and future of work Continue reading

Advertisements

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

As we enter 2018 we will need Knowledge Graphs

I received an early New Year present, actually, it came from Siemens. They had invited me to their Siemens Innovation Day in mid-December 2017. I really appreciated it, yet it took me time to absorb all that was provided, over these past two weeks.

My early present, well actually an idea, came the day before the 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 but one stood out for me, being introduced to Knowledge Graphs.

This one ‘thing’ really caught my attention. It was showcased in the technology center, briefly, as part of a broader set of presentations. It immediately struck me as having the potential to be very vital for the connected innovation I see, as our future.  These few insights set me off on a new train of thought and I scribbled down some hasty notes while listening to this concept. I then was able to review this a little more after the brief presentation. I then started to research on (Industrial) Knowledge Graphs for the initial depth of understanding I was seeking. 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

Connecting Innovation is the New Order of Play

There is a lot of change occurring in our innovation abilities. There is this constant shift to more open-sourcing and collaborating. We are seeing profound shifts that technology and digital transformation are bringing us to deliver innovate differently. These changes are influencing all of our worlds, allowing a very different “connecting” innovation to come into play and provide ‘greater value’

Nothing succeeds in isolation anymore, it needs fully connecting up, to bring increased value to the market and customer needs.

There are major shifts taking shape. What is radically changing how we innovate? We are seeing a significant acceleration of innovative collaborations through ecosystems. We are increasingly recognizing all the different collaborative tools increasingly at our disposal We are exploring both platforms and forming ecosystems to radically alter the competitive edge previously seen to reside inside the single company.

A more opening out, forming more connections into customers, engaging with them. so as to fully appreciate their needs and working with them to find solutions. This is leading us to recognize the value and power of the seamless customer experience. All of this comes from achieving a greater access and deepening the connections across networks. It is becoming the innovation network economy, to bring all the parts together.

For some time we have recognized the present innovating was simply not working Continue reading

We are in need of a common language for innovation

German Late Medieval (c. the 1370s) depiction of the construction of the tower.

Any innovation common language needs working upon. It firstly needs recognition it is in our best interests to find a common point. It needs to be relevant to each of us, it must be current, appropriate, accurate and highly visible throughout the entire organization. It also needs to be allowed to grow and flourish, to evolve and become the lingua franca of all our innovation work. It needs building and constructing in conscious ways and design.

Let’s step back just for one minute, these ‘sentiments’ are fine, yet we actually do, seriously lack a common language for innovation and we should find the ways and the means to change this. It holds innovation back significantly. It can’t continue in a world of greater networking and collaboration.

Languages unites us or keeps dividing us

Language can have the power to unite us or potentially divide us. Developing a language to unite us in our innovation efforts goes some way to reduce disagreements and egos, to qualify individual interpretation or bias, often a key inhibitor that can block a team’s success. It lays in a common foundation. It builds confidence and understanding.

Once we have a common language, we can set about building and creating a more robust innovation management system. One that builds on this framework so it can relate to the relevant context, conditions, and environment for innovation, to offer within this building block, the common identity.

These identifiers can build into better understanding how to structure governance, process, and functional structures, to build a culture that is responsive as ‘they’ can identify a need for a common cause of understanding. It is in this central innovation language that becomes our clear unifying context, the enabler, and sense of personal identity with the purpose of what we are wishing to achieve.

In any common language, we need to master the understanding, the nuances and how it all fits together. We need to exploit it and extract what it can offer to enhance all the work we do in innovation. We need to appreciate always its terms, its definitions (and limitations) and the related performance values that can help to improve our performance and in our achievements of working increasingly with others.  A common understanding of our meaning to ‘innovate’ becomes an imperative. Continue reading

Fusion, Flow and Fluidity are needed in our Management Practices

We are caught in a real tug of war within much of what we do in business today; in our responses and reactions to many of the dramatic business conditions we are facing, many deteriorating or being challenged by greater global competition.

We are facing a very uncertain future if we base our actions on past practices. We need a new management model, one where we are pushing to seek increasing new knowledge.

We actually are in urgent need of a new management operating model.

A new management model where we are pushing to seek increasing ‘fusion’ but still want degree’s of separation, we are seeking out ‘flows’ through new knowledge to break down barriers that restrict new insights so as to turn these into new value creation, and we are encouraged to seek out and establish a higher ‘fluidity’ in what we do and reduce the rigidity we presently have in place in our current organizations.

There are growing concerns centered around how we need to adapt our management practices to manage in a digital world, we are grappling with the consequences and we need to find new solutions and approaches. We face issues made up of increasing information overload, coming at us at increasing speed and failing in our abilities to fully interpret this. We lack the agility and flexibility to respond to what this all means in both its implications and potential, for sensing and seizing new value creation from understanding this.

We need a new management practice to deal with our digital world. One real need is for increasing knowledge and then being equipped in interpreting this in our learning, daily routines and activities is becoming paramount to break out of a declining performance cycle.

Applying the three horizon lens to develop new management practices

If you apply the three horizon lens we need to construct management and its performance approaches differently you begin to see the pathway for change.

Continue reading