All things considered for Innovation Thinking

Source: Rikke Dam and Teo Yin Siang

When we are designing innovation for the future, the search is even more centered around strategically connected value creation.

The task of searching to resolve more complex problems allows Design Thinking to step up and become a far more visible component on how we can go about this.

Design thinking needs to work in harmony with many other thinking skills to make its contribution. Here I outline some of my “must go to” frames or tools.

The need when you “cast out” and look into the future we need to make a lot of connections, these can be really different, seemingly disparate in ideas and approaches. The whole search for diversity can generate so much fresh thinking if we open our minds to the alternatives.

We need to draw on insights, creativity but most importantly have a growing sense of the context we are thinking through to search for new ideas, concepts, and eventual new innovating solutions.

We often get caught up in data far too early, looking for the real nugget that can transform our thinking. I would guard against this, we always need the “larger” context. Never allow the “narrow prism” to dominate until any concept is getting clearer in its final design. Continue reading

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Valuing digitization alongside innovation

We all see around us increasing disruption caused by digitalization. The powerful effects of digitalization are opening up different business opportunities, the chance to design different business models and get far closer to the ultimate need, to understand the customers wishes from the products and services they are wanting to buy.

We are seeing a very distinctive advantage in embracing digitalization into innovation. The potential of combining digitalization and innovation insights offers significantly more potential for sustaining growth and building a greater connection into the needs of our customers.

Much of our innovation work today is caught up in out-of-date information, poor and inadequate data, restricted research and limited market understanding. Our innovation insights are badly lagging, with the effect being the solutions offered are not ‘tuned’ into the present and anticipated needs, as they often lack dynamic data. We need to digitize our innovation activities fully.

We need to ditch much of our existing innovation processes and practices, reliant on manual systems and so often trapped in silos of knowledge. Digitalizing innovation processes can potentially liberate us from ‘second-guessing’ customer needs and connect us into real-time understanding. This being ‘digitally connected’ can provide the catalyst to a greater level of innovative solutions that are far more aligned to customer and market needs.

Why does the combination of digitalization and innovation have such a transforming effect?

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Recognizing it is all about Value Creation

I am reading a lot about the concept of value creation recently, it answers everything but tells us so often nothing about how it is made up or it is truly present. It seems to have that same ‘heady vaulted position’ as innovation in that we all talk far more about the ‘promise’ of it, we want it but still are not prepared to put the real effort into it to make it happen.

So let me try and explain my thoughts on value creation. So what is behind value creation? What drives it? What will tell us this is an organization where value creation seems to well invest in, nurtured, built and protected?

So what is value creation?

Value creation is highly dynamic, it is going on all the time and can increase, decrease or transform, in different ways, when you exploit your different capitals that will be in constant change and adjusting to reflect your organization’s business activities and eventual outputs. This is when you can begin to see the value created by the use of deploying all the capitals to build new growth and what I call “stock” that along with “flow”. I loved this explaination of the two.

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Building the Coordinates into your Innovation World

Most of us are very aware that Innovation can be fairly complex in what needs to be pulled together to take an idea or concept into a finished product.. We are also aware innovation often ‘flies’ in contradiction to the normal organization’s ways and wishes, especially the emphasis on working in structured, efficient and productive ways. Innovation can often be rather chaotic and discovery driven, it often is seen as counter-productive to the orderly state our organizations wish to achieve.

Yet it is that randomness, that serendipity, that sudden discovery that needs a different way of thinking and organizing innovation. It can still be well-structured and effective but it needs the opportunity to allow in accidental discovery, by-chance conversation, fortuitous moments that just seem to happen and occur as you are “open” to them. You need to have both structure and unstructured aspects to allow innovation to happen, evolve and eventually shape towards an outcome that changes the current status quo. Innovation should always challenge and question this status quo.

One of the useful ideas of using an external resource is to put additional coordinates into your innovation world, they see contradictions in a different way. They can assist in working through the conflicting signals, so as to help align innovation in helpful and thoughtful ways. Certainly, the innovator’s role is not an easy one inside the structured world of larger business entities.

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Innovation Capital Lies Within Organizational Learning

We need to know how to unlock the real value of innovation both personally and within the organization, we work for. If we do not fully understand where the innovation capital comes from, how new capital and stock can be provided, innovation will remain tentative, always stuttering along.

Innovation will lack that essential organization innovation rhythm, and it will stay disconnected for many and will be frustrating your own evolution in understanding if it does not become an organizational learning need.

I’d like to offer a fresh view on building your own innovation capital. Continue reading

Nesta’s Landscape of Innovation Approaches

You sometimes need to kick yourself. Well in my case that seems to be increasing by the day. I have to confess I have drifted in and out of checking on Nesta, based in the UK. Different reasons, different focus areas partly although innovation keeps us together, well me checking in on them, I’m not so sure it is the same their end.

Nesta is an innovation foundation. They state: “For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality. It also means changing lives for the better. This is what keeps us awake at night and gets us out of bed in the morning” They work in areas where there are big challenges facing society, from the frontiers of personalized healthcare to stretched public services and a fast-changing jobs market. They cover a lot of ground and provide some very sound advice along the way.

One of their team, Bas Leurs, who is their head of learning experience design, has been working on “A Landscape of Innovation Approaches“. I read version one in February 2018 and did not pick up on version 2, published as a blog in December 2018. Hence, why I kicked myself. Continue reading

Extending innovations value- appreciating the whole system.

There is always a time to reflect. It is when you have those spaces within your daily work you must take a view, a break, consider something that builds your energy up some more, to make it more resilient.

Do you stop and reflect, do you “veg” out, do you seek alternative points of stimulus or find something completely different to go and do, read a book, listen to music, take a walk, climb a mountain or simply tune-out. We need a time out for reflection.

Well, I had a reflective moment on some points I consider within innovation that need re-emphasizing.

So my reflective points were these as we always should consider the whole connected system of innovation. Continue reading