Innovators – are you thinking about Ecosystems?

Business Ecosystem Trends

Business Ecosystem Trends by Deloitte

Thinking about ecosystems certainly allows us to go out of our normal scope of internally generating new products. It opens up a host of possibilities, that can add significantly towards a new service design, new capabilities and solving more complex problems.

In opening up to managing within ecosystems you begin to see your ability to contribute and tackle societal problems within a collaborative system.

You can see new opportunities that can allow you to enter new markets that would have been impossible as an individual organization.

You begin to see the power, scale and strength of having the collective collaborative ability to extend beyond more traditional thinking design. You go beyond the utilization of leveraging existing infrastructure, building on others specialization and leveraging through technology powerful new concepts to tackle increasing complex innovation design.

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Technology leads, innovation exploitation is lagging

Technology and PeopleThere is a growing, perhaps even an overwhelming business case, for transforming the innovation management structure. The new combination is the new connections through people and things (IoT) that we can achieve a new innovation potential.

We will obtain increasing more powerful insights that have the real potential of being turned into new innovation outcomes, through the connected businesses we are presently needing to  build. This can generate new value and business propositions.

Today the virtual world of digital is moving much faster than the physical ‘enacted world,’ of turning insights into actual innovation activities, through the innovation pipeline. Our innovation systems are lagging significantly behind. We need to radically redesign them and bring them up to date, fit for managing innovation in the 21st century.

The whole discovery to final execution, is for most organizations still a very fragmented, often disconnected system. It is highly reliant on manual systems with people often disconnected from the real innovation engagement making decisions on inadequate data or insights.

We are failing to leverage all we have gained from our innovation understanding over the years. We have this ongoing inability to adapt, to connect the innovation system through the use of technology and growing value networks, so as to provide the integration, the dedicated resource and accountability to deliver successful innovation outcomes that our customers require.  Successful outcomes that are certainly possible, from a well-designed innovation management system brought up to date, adaptive, flexible and responsive, if we apply the time and effort to conceive and construct it.

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Our inabilities to adapt needs changing.

TransformationErosion is everywhere, it just seems inevitable, we somehow get caught up in the process of time and our organizations seem to ‘freeze’ before our eyes, then simply age.

They become fixed, rigid and locked into their established ways, not adapting to the changes occurring around them. We often give up and leave, moving on to better places and challenges.

We seemingly are reluctant to undergo any transformation, experimentation or adjustment in our organizations until it becomes a matter of survival, then its often far too late.

Then it becomes a mad scramble to transform ourselves, often with damaging consequences of deteriorating performance, battling more competition that are sensing our weakness, never capable of returning to those previous highs.

We simply  hate adapting or adjusting, certainly on a constant basis, we resist any form of ‘greater’ transformation – why?

If we can’t adapt to changing times, we simply struggle to survive, that is the growing reality operating in today’s environment. Simply put companies ‘die’ due to their inability to adapt to change and transformation projects fail because the message somehow fails to register and never gets completed to the original objectives. According to a survey by McKinsey in 2011, 72% of our transformation programs fail to deliver on their original targets. Also one out of every two of our top organizations in the Fortune 500 will be gone, history, dust, taken over in ten years, according to the OECD.

Unless we create a strategy to transform, how can we re-imagine our innovation processes?

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The innovating power of ecosystems and platforms

Ecosystem 1Our whole understanding of innovation is changing; there are numerous shifts occurring.

We are moving towards a new management of innovation where ‘greater’ collaboration is fueling new business models built on platforms, formed around ecosystems of communities with vested interest, contributing and extracting value.

Today and in the future, the value is created outside the individual company and not within. It is a far more working as a constellation, drawing from an evolving network effect seeking out combined solutions from this design.

In this third post of an extended series on my thoughts on “moving towards a new way of managing innovation” that explores the potential for changing the management of innovation, this  looks at the significant value of platforms and ecosystems.

We need to find a new way of doing things differently around innovation and its management.

This is based on a relationship-based, networked designed concept built for collective activities. Relationships where shared value leads to a value creation that no one single organization can provide. This requires open collaboration and an environment seeking mutual promise from individual input, contribution and extraction, delivering an integrated set of services and solutions being constructed on the platform from a sharing of knowledge, for delivering into evolving value propositions, all benefiting from, both collectively and individually

I am proposing in this series a view that innovation management needs to radically adjust and will be based on the thinking around the shift from products to solutions, from transactions to growing far more value-adding ongoing relationships, from a supplier of product services into highly valued network partnerships, exploring innovation across all options, instead of delivering on discrete elements; this requires managing the whole ecosystem of the innovation design differently through technology where platforms dominate.

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Moving towards a new innovation service model

Moving towards a new business model BalloonsThe realization that innovation goes way beyond product innovation is a massive hurdle for many of our existing organizations to overcome, certainly in what they are offering today as solutions.

We are also witnessing such significant erosion of long-standing practices, established boundaries between suppliers and customers, you get this feeling that everything is blurring.

This is part two of an extended series on my thoughts on “moving towards a new way of managing innovation” that explores the potential for changing the management of innovation.

How can the innovation process capitalize on all the changes we are undertaking at present in new ways, in broader engagements and collaborations, to deliver more effectively on the promise within our innovation potential?

Well I would suggest we do need to refocus

There is a very strong case we need to rethink the whole management of our innovation activity, as innovation is failing to deliver on its potential promise in the current ways we are attempting to undertake it, highly constrained and under-resourced.

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Shifting Radically the Innovation Business Model

Changing the innovation business model

Shifting Radically the Innovation Business Model

I have been spending some significant time on questioning the current innovation business model, from both the customers (clients) perspective and the innovation consultants’ one.

Now we all know not all things are equal, many companies have invested significantly in improving their innovation capabilities.

Many of these have been heavily reliant on outside help in achieving this position yet all the effort has led to limited returns for many and still a work-in-progress.

Yet far more of our business organizations are continuing to really struggle on their innovation activity for a whole host of reasons that seem never-ending, disappointing in end result and stuck in management quicksand to ever really change.

For me, the process and management of innovation really does need to be definitely questioned.

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That sheer consulting muscle hopefully delivering global momentum

Pushing the world uphillHas consulting changed over the years? Certainly the business model behind them has, big time. I really do wonder where it is all going inside the business organization. Consulting has become a huge business dealing with our global and local organizations and governments.

Just take a peek around the board room doors, just who are all those strange faces, bulging muscles, huddled in meetings with the boss? Ready to take on the world.

Following on from my recent post on “the value of the visiting consultative fireman” this further post explores the external reliance on the consultant our organizations have become accustomed too. It got a little long, my apologies for that.

‘We’ seemingly can’t live without consultants.

Cant live without you 1They are now competing constantly for those semi-permanent, year-in, year-out relationships with companies willing enough to pay millions of annual fees for help and advice.

It is all about the repeating the consulting / client engagement across the entire business in as many different ways as possible.

Consultants are necessary or so it seems for any big decision in our global business organizations as the employment of consultants helps ‘sit behind’ the recommendations made, the often billions about to be spent, for them to validate, investigate, recommend and then rubber stamp your decision. Who will fire you for bringing in a respected global brand like McKinsey, a few perhaps but not many? Continue reading

The value of the visiting consultative fireman

Keep calm I am the visiting firemanI was reflecting on the value and role of consultants and have written here, here and here on this. These thoughts have covered the topics of suggesting different consulting models, exploring the shifts taking place in consulting and where consulting can contribute. Then I offered a post late last year under the title of “client engagement- full of whipped cream and lumpy gravy?

So in this post I will reflect and look at the visiting fireman here, the ones I experienced in the corporate world. I still believe they are far from endangered species.

Consultants hold a specific fascination for me, they come in all shapes and sizes, offering a bewildering array of solutions for your business.

For many clients, consultants have become ‘totally essential’  yet for others a necessary evil. Today with far less resource within our business to call upon and coping with increasing pressure on time there is also this total reluctance to employ someone on the books, it is better to bring it in on an ‘as and when’ basis. Keep it lean and mean, charge it off against that years operating expenses, don’t bring it onto the longer-term books.

Mostly the consultants knowledge leaves when they do Continue reading