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

Innovations Degree’s of Connectivity, Interactivity and Sharing

We often forget it is our people that really make innovation work. They determine the ideas, drive these forward to deliver them as new innovation concepts into the world. People connect the fragmented pieces or dots within innovation from being random and intangible, into being explicit and tangible.

In the past we have often believed it is the genius laboring away in his lab that has made the discovery that has led to real breakthroughs in innovation.

So often in the past this lack of making the invention connection has often held many of us back to become engaged in discovery, ideas or contributions as we felt discouraged, as we had felt innovation can only happen in these ‘special’ places.

Most of us became disconnected with the early part of the discovery for innovation, we simply became just the implementors, pushing the innovation through the pipeline into its final execution. That can change if we are willing and able to challenge our past assumptions. Continue reading

Is innovation really important to you?

How can we establish Innovation as the vital link to a process of change and strategic direction options? One that lifts the debates of managing today’s business by linking it into the future and then turning this thinking into a series of plausible and coherent set of activities?

Innovation can drive change, change is required.  Without innovation, we progressively die, as we provide no option for change, no prospects of new, different growth. So why does it continually fail to happen?

We innovators certainly need a new model of change, for at least eight important reasons I can think of, that render what we have practiced in the past as obsolete: Continue reading

The challenge for the CIO is the fusion of business and IT.

Field guide Practicial IT Deloittes 1

Taken from the Field Guide for Practical IT by Deloittes

In the past twelve months or even more, I think there have been some exceptional reports and thinking coming out of Deliotte’s group, from its dedicated practice centers, their University Press and the Deliotte Consulting LLP, mainly from the US practice.

I would regard their thought leadership as close to the top or even at the very top of any of the big consulting firms.

I’ve certainly gained some richer understanding as I am sure many others have and for me Deloitte deserve significant praise for investing in their thought leadership thinking. Continue reading

Successful Innovation needs a common language, context and communicating

The story of Babel

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563)

People disconnect because they lack what is needed to connect!  Innovation thrives from knowledge and you need to make sure this is allowed to flow. To achieve those essential knowledge connections, you need a shared understanding of innovation, that common sense of purpose as a framework. This will though, always stay a work-in-progress.

You need to begin to build a common language of greater understanding. We need to unite around innovation. Imagine if you work consciously to put knowledge in the hands of people willing to make innovation happen, what the potential might be?

Give people the power of the context for their innovation engagement and that shifts everything to give them a clearer shape and meaning. You are laying out the conditions, criteria and circumstances, giving innovation its foundations.

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Taking on those innovation hills is never easy

AchievementFollowing on from my last post suggesting the way to move innovation forward, it was to ‘take the different innovation hills, one at a time, for innovation advancement” I used a military metaphor of “taking the hills”.

So what are the hills we need to take?

 There are plenty of innovation hills to attack but here are ten suggestions that would advance the cause of innovation and establish its territorial importance in the organization somewhat.

Some hills maybe on first glance, seem not so important but they all move towards setting up the winning conditions for innovation to become a core within organizations. Some are sending clear signals of intent; others show the fighting commitment necessary to take that hill because it is strategically important.

Hill one is by abandoning quarterly reporting

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Taking the hills, one at a time, for innovation advancement

Taking the hill. Pfc. John J. Allen of Company E in the 25th Infantry Division leads his men in attack on the west central front in Korea, March 30, 1951.

Taking the hill. Pfc. John J. Allen of Company E in the 25th Infantry Division leads his men in attack on the west central front in Korea, March 30, 1951.

How do we move innovation forward? We need to see this as a battle of hearts and minds, of overcoming dogma and fixed mindsets, using skirmishes to advance the innovation advancement. We need to break out of entrenched positions and lead innovation forward.

Many people feel innovation is an uncomfortable place, it often is at the edge, it deals in both opportunity and risk, it is uncertain to commit to joining the innovation battle. Sadly the majority working within our organizations do not understand innovation, it is too intangible, it seems shrouded in mysteries, yet it offers challenge, excitement and satisfaction. To achieve ‘something’ is highly motivating.

We firstly need to mobilize around innovation

To mobilize the organizations troops you have to give them objectives, they need to identify and be given a clear understanding of the ‘cause and its effect’. Over time they can recognize the positive effects and begin to understand the consequences if they don’t join in and engage.

Let me use a military metaphor, in war for this post.

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