Digital technology is changing the innovation ‘game’

Digital technologies are beginning to have a real impact on the methods, approaches, and rates of our innovation outputs. Social technologies are giving us real-time understanding.

We continually learn, often at our cost, that intuition and ‘gut feel’ on research set up and gathered weeks or more often months ago. This ‘knowledge’ is becoming out of date before we can gain from it and sometimes highly dangerous to follow, or believe in some today’s rapidly changing times. We need to get closer to ‘real-time.’

This reliance on rapidly out-of-date understanding cannot be the basis for any justifications for high-stake bets when it comes to innovation. We need to change our thinking and design in the digital insight part more specifically within and along the innovation process. Technology in all its forms is altering the innovation game but are we adapting to this radical change potential? We need to embrace it. Continue reading

The backdrop of digital transformation and its consequences

Digital transformation is now omnipresent and has the potential to reshape the way all organizations operate. The customer has become absolutely central to this transformation and the push towards the 4th Industrial revolution is driving this transformation wholesale, across all industries and services engaged in business.

Let me outline some of the challenges in my opinion that might help us all form a clear view of the digital transformation journey, recently researched.

Firstly I’m sure we can all agree transformation is very hard at the best of times

Digital transformation is doubly difficult, it forces us to work with mostly emerging, constantly evolving technologies, and then apply these in an integrated way into an existing business. This stretches our abilities significantly.

Beyond making a series of incremental improvements to become cloud-ready, we are supposed to reflect social, mobile and digital technologies. We need to fundamentally transform our processes by opening up and engaging with customers. On top, we have to deal with a broad range of communities, across platforms and in different ecosystems at speed, scale, and scope. However, we must do all this to reposition all our businesses towards the digital world.

I provided a recent digital transformation report that might help you in planning this digital journey.

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Taking advantage of emergence for discovery

emergence-and-discoverySo this week my research was moving around issues of complexity within innovation and I came across a great paper, written by Deborah Dougherty “Organizing for innovation in complex innovation systems”

Although she is addressing within this paper the bigger more complex social and economic challenges we are facing in healthcare, alternative energy, water scarcity, climate management, poverty and economic revitalization, she is attempting to reframe these into problem resolutions from breaking down discovery into four distinct channels. I liked this thinking.

The new innovating world we face in the 21st Century

Her opening insight is in the twenty-first century we are all requiring more reliance on social technologies that are designed to allow the different technologies to emerge and be allowed to integrate, due to the diversity and diffusion of knowledge. This is different from past practices found within organizations. Dr Dougherty points out much of what takes place today is still based on nineteenth-century practices where organizations were designed to stabilize, scale up and optimize, mostly internally, the scientific and technological knowledge into large working configurations. Continue reading

Please forget best practice, it is all about next practice

for-next-practiceOften you hear the request made of “can you give us a best practice snapshot; we would like to get a sense of where we are”.

Firstly please forget best practice, this is a mistake for you in a rapidly changing world

The trouble with best practice is you are looking at someone else’s practices and these are highly individual, made up of different groups of methodologies, processes, rules, theories, values and concepts. These together have provided that specific company a level of success that others – mostly competitors – begin to notice and just attempt to copy.

No, there is no such thing as best practices, only your own distinct practices, specific to your own environment, history and needs, you can’t simply pick up and plug and play, as one organization’s initiative is never the same set of conditions or positioning that others can simply copy.

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Mapping the customer journey is the top driver for digital transformation

mapping-the-customer-journeyOrganizations are struggling to understand the behaviors of the ‘connected’ customer. Partly it seems executives don’t engage with their brand or business in the way that their customers do. There is often a difference in understanding the value creating points between them

The lack of having a well mapped out customer journey means missing out on opportunities caused by not knowing this complete set of connections being made into you. By not knowing all these connecting points and drawing them together in a cohesive plan, there is a significant chance you are simply restricting the developing of innovation solutions that map back to all the decision-making that is going on in the customers’ minds.

This failure to optimize and seize upon all the possible options to connect with your customers is restricting your ability to broaden out your innovation solutions, making the journey more value creating, it certainly can be really holding your business back.

As you explore the digital transformation path this can become your best opportunity to connect along the total customer experience and see a greater return on this understanding and investment. Continue reading

Digital transformation – the need to transform our innovation approaches

Digital TransformationBusiness digital transformation, it can certainly get your pulse racing as you start looking for the nearest exit. Digital transformation is being asked of everybody to get involved in but do we have a sufficient understanding of it?

Add in the magic ‘need’ so innovation can benefit from this business digital transformation and we begin to shift around in our chairs even more. What would it mean if we ‘went’ digital and transformed ourselves for innovation within our organisation?

I’ll be honest here, all the answers can’t be distilled here in this one post as digital is all evolving but I thought an opening set of thoughts on ‘digital transformation’ might trigger greater discussion and identification.

So what is a digital transformation?

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Our longer term winner is clearly open digital innovation

Open digital innovationIn my last post I was discussing the effect digital would be having on our innovation activities, be these presently opened or closed. The impact of digital innovation changes the innovation paradigm significantly.

Organizations can stay digitally closed in their innovation activities, moving beyond simply developing innovation solutions themselves into a connected (closed) network, where the platform becomes the enabling force and those that join share common ground or purpose but are pursuing separate value propositions that required this ‘extended’ collaboration to achieve this position.

These ‘closed systems’ can give a level of competitive advantage but these are increasingly transitory depending on the complexity and uniqueness of the eventual value proposition. Collaborative platforms are clearly the way to go to open-up innovation that allows more radical and complex solutions to be provided.

We will see a new wave of open digital innovation Continue reading