Most organizations are seeking solutions to the necessary connections between Strategy and Innovation. The connection between the two are often broken.
Often it is within the strategies that should be outlined, lies the potential new spaces to play for innovation’s design. Yet how often do we fail to connect the innovation’s we design and execute specifically aligned to the strategic need?
We somehow seem to stay locked in the ‘here and now’ constantly repeating and refining the known and established within our domain of responsibility. Is this because innovation is not at the core of the business as it should be? Often we are inherently resisting to exploring change as it becomes risky and far more demanding. A good strategy, well outlined should encourage innovation and gain engagement but it can equally determine how we break down our imposed boundaries by its strategic intent, to encourage exploring and extending on what we know into the what we need to know. Strategic intent informs innovation.
If you have a clear strategic understanding of the needs of the business you are getting more of the understanding of where-to-play and how-to-win in your innovation activities and market investment. It is making these strategic connections that is giving innovators a better chance to deliver back concepts that offer alignment to this strategic need. Investing in this understanding and alignment should never be understated. The time invested, allows for the innovation investments to do their part in supporting the business and feeding it with the growth options required, or highlighting where the possible gaps might be, for additional investment or M&A activity, to accelerate this and bring-in fresh innovating momentum.
As we consider the interplay between innovation, business models and change, it becomes clear that many companies have a definition of innovation that’s far too narrow.
Increasingly we need to rethink the scope, depth and breadth of innovation possibilities, as well as the secondary implications of innovation.
Ignoring this broader definition of innovation means we can never achieve all of the possible benefits innovation has in store.
We believe ignoring the breadth and depth of innovation can also allow competitors and new entrants to disrupt your position or industry. Fortunately, some of these definitions have been created for us. Our responsibility is to understand the definitions and their implications, not stay constrained but seek and explore the broader options this can provide.
There is always a certain impact that innovation brings, it should change habits, alter perceptions, improve our lives or alter the way we work and think.
Each change brought about by innovation does have different impact effects upon three important market constituents: customers, the markets and the industries themselves but also and often totally under-appreciated, internally on the innovator driving the change.
We need to understand the broader scope of our innovation
Until we understand the scope and impact of innovation we can’t fully grasp the nature and amount of change that innovation can unleash. It can alter businesses, shift markets and challenge customers to move away from their existing thinking into adopting this new product or service.
Innovation should be the primary source of real change. Often when exciting new innovations occur they have the power to significantly change our habits, and choice of product, preferences and ways we set about our daily lives.
Yet why is it we often ignore the power of change when we design innovation?
We often fail to fully appreciate the changes that are occurring from the innovation we produce, it often seems an afterthought, there is this lead and lag effect and needs, firstly recognition and then addressing in how we manage innovation going forward.
In a recent series introduced initially and given a feature of the week prime spot on http://www.innovationexcellence.com on June 7, 2015 we discussed the importance of the emerging interplays. This series will be re-produced here as it is a important concept to consider all the aspects within any innovation interplay.
We all want innovation but often we take a ‘selected’ focus on the changes we are bringing about, either in the external market place in new products, services and even new business models, yet we often ignore the amount of change we should be considering within our own organization.
As we ‘learn’ to innovate we ourselves change but often we are poor at recognizing these changes and the greater impact this might have on on all that is around us.
We miss opportunities to alter our processes, systems, structures or methods. We often fail to ‘advance’ in all the positive change innovation can bring.
We tend to ignore the change part of innovation
I believe we need to rethink this and evaluate the significant changes that should be taking place within our internal organizations as we expand our innovation activities.
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.
Getting innovation through any process of understanding is hard. Knowing what is required to generate innovation throughout an entire organization is even more so.
We need to deploy the cascading effect on innovation
Often we fail to understand our role in contributing to innovation, we need a cascading effect. For me the “cascading effect” for innovation is “a sequence of events in which each produces the circumstances necessary for the initiation of the next”. It is the presenting of an idea, a concept, prototype, a piece of knowledge that provides the catalyst to be exploited in a broader community as the next step and so on. It cascades. It is where we fit within the innovation web.
Innovation often has to go through a set of stage gates, or cross thresholds, set by others or judged to be the essential cross over points. When you achieve these cross over points you induce more resources, more attention and momentum. The more it successfully progresses, it eventually gains a higher resilience and then the innovation picks up more for this “cascading effect”.