Reflecting on our innovation practices

reflecting-on-our-innovation-practicesInnovation has been rapidly changing and much of its basics have been swallowed up by some newly defining frameworks that have raced up to the top of the innovation agenda. They have driven much of our thinking and reacting. It is right that we all respond to these but we often forget much of the rest of what innovation needs to be built upon.

The problem or challenge with this focusing upon ‘breaking’ practices or new methodologies, are they can be so much harder to master and build them into established positions and practices, without the right amount of debate, understanding and assessing the implications and impact.

This often needs different perspectives to form the final position. We fail to constantly review and re-engineer the innovation process and tend to layer more upon it, without a consistent reassessing what we are trying to achieve.

The excitement of ‘breaking innovation’ is in the pioneering, experimenting, discovering, sharing and exchanging. If you are always open to this new thinking, it does enrich and advance innovation understanding and that makes it so valuable but so demanding.

Many of these for me have been utterly enjoyable to explore as they advance our understanding of the emerging management practice of innovation but you can’t ‘gloss over’ the basics of innovation. Continue reading

The future innovation core lies at the edge.

our-new-core-lies-at-the-edgesBoundaries seem to be continually pushed in business, nothing seemingly is standing still, yet we are faced with many things that stay caught up in simply not being changed. Something eventually has to change, there is increasing pressure. We need to jettison old ways and establish new ones. In with the new in 2017, out with the old.

I continue to read and explore as much of the thought leadership on innovation, it continually points to a change in how we approach innovation.We need to embrace this need for change.

I have written about the new innovation era in 2017 made up of higher levels of needed collaboration, where platforms, ecosystems and customer experience understanding become increasingly central. We need to push well beyond our existing core of innovation understanding, we actually need a new innovation institutional design.

We are pushing further away from the old core. Continue reading

The Perfect Conditions for Entering A New Innovation Era in 2017

a-new-connected-pathway-for-innovation-2So if there was ever a time to clear the existing innovation agenda and rework the entire space for innovating, it is about to become the pressing reality as we enter into 2017.

There are so many forces coming together that require this reworking. We are moving from diverging into one of converging, we are at a changeover point for innovation; let me explain each of the contributing factors but firstly, a brief overview.

The Merging Conditions and Forces

The very different political and economic conditions that will be arising in 2017, the continuing shifting social conditions, profound shifts we are undergoing in business and our own personal ones, makes it a world that is moving from being complicated to complex.

Any renewing does need innovation to become more central in our design but it will be managed differently far more collaboratory.

There is a lot of change occurring around our innovation abilities. There is the shift to more open-sourcing, the profound shifts that technology and digital transformation is having upon all our worlds is allowing a very different “connecting” innovation to come into play. We will see a significant acceleration of more innovation ecosystems, we are increasingly recognizing all the different collaborative tools increasingly at our disposal, we are exploring both platforms and forming ecosystems to radically alter the competitive edge previously seen to reside inside the single company.

A more opening out, forming more connections into customers, engaging them in appreciating their needs is leading us to recognize the value and power in the seamless customer experience. All of this comes from achieving a greater access and deepening the connections across networks. It is becoming the network economy

So I am exploring here each of these conditions that I believe are coming together for a really important transforming storm built around a new innovation management, increasingly making it the core to the future for growth. There is a time where each business has to become highly adaptive, agile, open and mutually dependent on others to deliver in this ‘connected’ world to exploit these conditions and explore the opportunities that will emerge. Continue reading

Why We Are Entering A New Innovation Era In 2017

Credit: Acacia Communications

Credit: Acacia Communications

I wrote this recently in a post entitled “Bringing New Innovation is Stretching the Mind“. It opened with this view:

“There is a profound shift taking place, relating to innovation. Increasingly we are seeing a growing dissatisfaction on the impact that innovation is having; in growth, in returns, in market and customer impact. There is a search for new solutions.

One of the implications is this growing recognition that innovation is rarely succeeding in isolation but it is growing on a more highly dependent type of complementary innovation, a collaborative network, working around this new emerging innovation to deliver a more connected, radical experience, requiring innovation ecosystem management.

This dramatic change we will all be undergoing will have a significant impact on each organization’s innovation management design as it will require new connected thinking, built upon a substantial network of collaborations and partnerships

I believe innovation has been in the need for change for some time and 2017 will be the transforming year. Continue reading

The New Innovation Need: Organizing within a Networks of Collaborators

network-of-networksWe are facing tough challenges within the business world. To work through these we are all being asked to transform but there has to be a clear end, a return for all this energy and resources it requires, that we are being asked to spend?

How and where does innovation fit will clearly depend on this transforming effect. We are fairly clear that incremental innovation is just not cutting through to give the types of growth expected. There are many outside our existing organizations, standing impatiently at the gates, waiting to come in and take over with market breaking concepts through different business models .

We need to transform, be disrupted or certainly re-imagine and this is where knowing your ecosystem comes in.

Our existing organization needs to envisage a changing world full of disruption that calls for radical change. To meet different challenges, to be highly adaptive it needs to begin to organize around ecosystems to deliver on a vision that recognizes it has to be part of a greater collaborating network to thrive in this highly connected world.

Today larger organizations are having to face the stark truth. Continue reading

So how do you manage exploiting and exploring for Innovation?

Innovation Exploit and Explore to TransformSo how do businesses organise their structures to be able to simultaneously manage the needs to exploit and explore innovation?

In this post I wanted to explain my thinking through on this ability to be ‘ambidextrous’, knowing the difference of when to exploit and when to explore as essential to leveraging innovation, in all its forms and watching out for some of the traps in not managing this well.

Managing this, in all honesty, though, is hard to get the balance right but highly valuable if you do achieve it, it can transform the business. Many of our organisations struggle to manage both successfully as they tend to focus more on separation mostly in organisational structures alone as their attempt to become ambidextrous. It is far more than ‘just’ this.  Get the balance right across the organisation’s design and in its leadership management, it becomes a very powerful mechanism for accelerating performances by delivering significantly new innovation and equally sustaining and leveraging the core business you have today.

Recently I contributed a blog post over on the Hype Innovation Blog ” Balancing Exploitation & Exploration for Changing Performance” that opens up the subject but then extensively dives into three examples of Apple, GE and Google that are working in highly ambidextrous ways, pursuing exploiting and exploring in their own unique ways.

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Are we playing snakes and ladders with innovation?

Snakes and Ladders 1Have you ever played snakes and ladders? Called chutes and ladders in the US. A number of “ladders” and “snakes” are pictured on the board, each connecting two specific board squares.

The object of the game is to navigate one’s game piece, according to dice rolls, from the start (bottom square) to the finish (top square), helped or hindered by ladders and snakes respectively.

Originally from India the game is a simple race contest based on sheer luck and I am beginning to wonder if we are playing a new version of this with innovation? This is called “bust or boom” or “success or failure” or even “maybe or maybe not,” or even “will we, won’t we.” It just all depends on our luck in rolling the dice, a serendipity with a darker twist that many companies seem to be playing with their innovation capability building.

The game came to mind as I read through a recent survey on Innovation

I have just been reading an Innovation report / survey from Accenture called “Clear Vision, Cloudy Execution” and I really do think we are playing with innovation as a game, it has some really serious implications within it that need more drawing out than possibly offered in my view. We should be getting worried that many bigger companies are losing the innovation game.

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