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

Building Capability and Capacity to Expand Capabilities for Innovation

A new equation

For innovation to be successful, the bottom line is the commitment and focus made for building the capabilities and competencies in innovation as people make us the real value and ARE the innovation success equation in my opinion,

So we must simply invest in them by focusing on the 3 C’s of developing peoples Capability, Competency and Capability.

As we set about to build and expand capabilities, we need to consider:

  • How we can accelerate the uptake of innovation activity around the conditions provided through investing in them
  • The need to trigger engagement and achieve growing attainment of knowledge acquisition and dispersion skills- essential for collaborative innovation
  • Setting about building practices for greater synergies, relationships and networking conditions, for ongoing learning and absorptive capacity
  • Extracting the right cultural, design, climate and environmental conditions,
  • Placing increasing value on evolving the structures, processes and technology application
  • Investing in lessons learnt through validation and resolutions to challenges to build an ongoing adaptive capacity.
  • Recognizing people solve the critical bottlenecks and find solutions to overcome the constraints, they become increasingly motivated to find solutions and resolve gaps through their ability to be creative and inquisitive.
  • The ongoing building of capabilities and competencies clearly leads to a more sustaining and determined innovation future.

Increasing capacity through coaching

There are many benefits from having an intense course of one-on-one coaching, irrespective of the level of responsibility you have for innovation within your organization. Continue reading

Building the Innovation Business Case

The building always the Innovation Business Case offers a unique approach to tackle one of the real problem areas within innovation- making the case compelling.

One of the toughest aspects within Innovation is making the Business Case. Much of the information is imperfect, the returns are often fuzzy and the doubters ready to block and deter new ideas from entering the commercialization process.

Knowing the issues, reducing often the ‘noise and distractions’ and making the professional case is what we need to do to attract commitment to the projects we are working upon.

How can you reduce down uncertainty? By ensuring the innovation business case takes a clear methodical approach to this and builds the arguments up in a sound structured way, that shows the areas of clear discussion and conclusion and reduces down the more ’emotive parts, so as to allow the ‘idea or concept’ to firm up and be seen for its real merits.

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Why do we have difficulties to self-disrupt?

“Why do we always seem to have internal difficulties to self-disrupt?”

Now that is an interesting question. My quick and simple answer is to look at all the internal constraints you can see, or ask those around you what they can see as constraints for them. You will be surprised at all the constraints that stop the individual or the organization to make changes.

It is also being constrained when you look outside your organization and not recognizing the (perpetual) changes going on, often until it is too late or a fast, nimble entrepreneur has nipped in and set about building a new alternative to your existing offering that has, perhaps for some time shown signs of business model decay. Continue reading

The art of “Back Casting” needs care

Backcasting is a planning method that starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect that specified “future to the present”. The fundamentals of the method were outlined by John. B. Robinson from the University of Waterloo in 1990. The fundamental question of backcasting asks: “if we want to attain a certain goal, what actions must be taken to get there?”

While forecasting involves predicting the future based on current trend analysis, backcasting approaches the challenge of discussing the future from the opposite direction; it is “a method in which the future desired conditions are envisioned, and steps are then defined to attain those conditions, rather than taking steps that are merely a continuation of present methods extrapolated into the future”

I have collected different views on “Backcasting”.

Those are from assorted references like Wikipedia, from past work on water and energy systems, from Natural Step, from Innosight, discussed and promoted in Mark Johnson’s book “Lead for the Future” and a really recent one from Roxi Nicolussi and her Backcasting; Creating a Strategic Roadmap for the Future” or finally here, this one “All Roads Lead From The Future Back — A Vision and Spoke Model” by Aidan McCullen. I am looking to further explore the applications applied in water, energy and climate work.

So exploring backcasting as a method

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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

Building our understanding of the factory of the future

Siemens Digital Enterprise SPS Dialog Results

Last week, Siemens had a really valuable virtual event called their “Digital Enterprise SPS Dialog. Those that missed it you can watch previous sessions on-demand at any time via “Recordings”. They provided an outstanding virtual showroom packed full of innovations, product presentations and use cases are exhibited in an exciting real 3D environment. The platform and all on-demand assets will be available until January 29th 2021.

The “Digital Enterprise SPS Dialoghad 56 3d-exhibits in 12 topic areas, more than 130 product presentations, 3 real factory showcases with 21 stage presentations involving over 38 speakers. By registering you can view “on-demand” selectively or watch the whole event, explore the showrooms and simply learn, evaluate and assess what these concepts would mean for you in your own Industry 4.0 journey, to a more highly automated and connected environment.

I said it at the time, and I repeat it: “The event was, for me, the best virtual event of this very strange and weird year we have all been caught up in“. For Siemens, they also commented this was quite a milestone to be achieved in the field of virtual events. It delivered a lot. My initial post “Siemens SPS Dialog.” might be worth also picking up upon.

By being virtual, the insights provided has advanced my understanding of what is being offered in Siemens Digital solutions significantly and would give any clients a terrific understanding of Siemens combined physical and digital offerings.

An event showcasing critical aspects of the factory of the future Continue reading