All things considered for Innovation Thinking

Source: Rikke Dam and Teo Yin Siang

When we are designing innovation for the future, the search is even more centered around strategically connected value creation.

The task of searching to resolve more complex problems allows Design Thinking to step up and become a far more visible component on how we can go about this.

Design thinking needs to work in harmony with many other thinking skills to make its contribution. Here I outline some of my “must go to” frames or tools.

The need when you “cast out” and look into the future we need to make a lot of connections, these can be really different, seemingly disparate in ideas and approaches. The whole search for diversity can generate so much fresh thinking if we open our minds to the alternatives.

We need to draw on insights, creativity but most importantly have a growing sense of the context we are thinking through to search for new ideas, concepts, and eventual new innovating solutions.

We often get caught up in data far too early, looking for the real nugget that can transform our thinking. I would guard against this, we always need the “larger” context. Never allow the “narrow prism” to dominate until any concept is getting clearer in its final design. Continue reading

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Valuing digitization alongside innovation

We all see around us increasing disruption caused by digitalization. The powerful effects of digitalization are opening up different business opportunities, the chance to design different business models and get far closer to the ultimate need, to understand the customers wishes from the products and services they are wanting to buy.

We are seeing a very distinctive advantage in embracing digitalization into innovation. The potential of combining digitalization and innovation insights offers significantly more potential for sustaining growth and building a greater connection into the needs of our customers.

Much of our innovation work today is caught up in out-of-date information, poor and inadequate data, restricted research and limited market understanding. Our innovation insights are badly lagging, with the effect being the solutions offered are not ‘tuned’ into the present and anticipated needs, as they often lack dynamic data. We need to digitize our innovation activities fully.

We need to ditch much of our existing innovation processes and practices, reliant on manual systems and so often trapped in silos of knowledge. Digitalizing innovation processes can potentially liberate us from ‘second-guessing’ customer needs and connect us into real-time understanding. This being ‘digitally connected’ can provide the catalyst to a greater level of innovative solutions that are far more aligned to customer and market needs.

Why does the combination of digitalization and innovation have such a transforming effect?

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Facing The Innovators Salmon Run

I was reading about one of natures wonders about the famous salmon run. Have you ever actually witnessed one or watch the documentary on this incredible journey and all its obstacles? it is an amazing story of determination to overcome odds to bring new life into the world.

This “run” is the time when salmon migrate from the ocean and swim to the upper reaches of the rivers, where they spawn on gravel beds.

This event is an annual run where grizzly bears, bald eagles and sports fisherman all “feed” off the struggling salmon as it attempts to make it “upstream”. It is one of the natures more arduous journeys.

This set me thinking about the innovator within a company. They face the same “salmon run” or gauntlet when they try to bring to life a new innovation. The innovation equally has to swim “upstream” of validation, encountering all sort of obstacles along the way to get approval. Actually can we make a further parallel here? Continue reading

Defending Europe, including the Brits, on innovation

Europe does seem to be always lagging. You get the impression those in Europe’s leadership are beating back the waves of progress, not embracing them- it is all self-serving. They also seem to operate in a fortress mentality. They seem to be spending all their capital on trying to make this (unholy) alliance of 27 + 1 to function.

The herculean task of integrating the impossible; in rules, regulations, attempting to reduce centuries of proud independence, individual cultures to be boiled down into the Super-European one. For me, it just can’t work.

I had an incredible 15 years living in Asia and came back to Europe some years ago and noticed a real difference, in many ways it has simply gotten worse, not better. Europe has been intent on institution building, forging an EU out of all the different countries that make up the European Union. In this “obsession” it has become very inward focused, the different leaders of the individual countries are battling to save their turf, yet the world continues to turn on different axes, that Europe seems not to have grasped.

This institutional building has forgotten the people-related building where aspiration, identification, inclusion makes the transformation happen or not. The EU has forgotten to translate all its work into true meaning for the people, believing in a worthwhile future. In Asia, you feel vibrancy, energy, opportunism, dynamism, that chance to get “part of the action”, here in Europe you sense a drifting, a separation, and growing fragmentation. Continue reading

Legacy is all around us. Innovation and insights suffer greatly

Can we continue to battle with legacy? When you think we are on a roll, we are making that transformation in technology, systems, new organizational designs, you are suddenly stopped in your tracks. Legacy fights back, it holds you up, it stops you from advancing. You fail to connect as you wanted to, towards a complete transformation. The future eludes you as you hold onto those old ways.

You can surround legacy but it diverts so much “spent energy”, it becomes the critical impediment to making that real change you so urgently require to compete in today’s’ world. We still struggle with resolving legacy in our systems, processes, factories so we lose the ability to really advance and gain true connectivity.

Why do I worry so much about legacy?  The more we hang on to legacies within our companies, the more we hold up the vital changes we need to manage in the 21st century.

Can you imagine how hard legacy systems are hard to replace? They make up vital business processes that were designed years ago but not for the technology onslaught  we are witnessing today or see in the future. They were designed on outdated technologies, designed in a world where data was recorded perhaps but not stored nor mined 24 x 7. Continue reading

I would recommend applying the Innovation Value Proposition

Thinking about my own identification with the IVP took me back to when I started out on my innovation journey 18 years ago. That now seems like ages ago, and a lot has changed in how we manage innovation since then. But, strangely enough, a lot has also stayed the same – especially the fact that delivering good innovation is hard work.

Yet, the one thing I firmly believe reduces the “pain” comes back to how you design and relate to your value proposition – your meaning of what innovation needs to do.
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Building the Single Innovation Digital Platform Environment

Aras PLM Platform Image courtesy of Aras

Throughout the past couple of years, I have been constantly arguing about the need to put innovation management on a digital platform.

These have come in different thoughts on digital platforms, ready for cross-industry and having in place, a rapid digital innovation process that scales and evolves on new technology and insights.

We need a radical design, universal in design and approach.

What if you could manage your innovation in the ways shown in this diagram?

This is the way PLM innovation platforms are progressing and currently being assessed by CIMdata in a PLM Innovation Assessment Scorecard shown further below. Link to the position paper

The argument about what any innovation management system provides goes on and on and still, we seem not to be at the universal acceptance point that an innovation management process is critical and needs a better system of management.

What we should finally accept, a platform connects all users, both internally and externally in their ability to share their knowledge and information in exchanges, in one environment to cultivate collaborations and continuous collaborative creativity. The more we design and need to deliver smart, connected and innovative products the more we have this innovation platform need.

The majority of the present software providers fail to grasp this. Continue reading