Building upon the four essential pillars for innovation

It is always welcome to read a thoughtful article that reminds me, no, it actually inspires me, by reinforcing my own belief that innovation is progressing, even if this is sometimes frustratingly slow. The innovation architecture is progressively being recognized and put into place, it’s forming the building blocks of the innovation platform we need to build upon, ones for more radical innovation outcomes.

So the article “Want to Win at Business Model Innovation? Put these Four Pillars in Place” was written by Rick Waldron, ex Nike, and Intel.

He grabbed my attention with this comment early on in the article:

“ Little attention has been paid to the architecture required to stand up a sustainable, impactful new business innovation capability. Those of us battling it out in the trenches are left to learn the hard way”

I so very much relate to this central recognition that most organizations lack a solid, well thought through innovation architecture, it is one of the real reasons innovation is constantly under-delivering.

Rick points out:“Corporate innovation efforts by and large continue to fall far short of moving the needle in any significant, sustained way or of delivering on the promise of future-proofing companies against ever-increasing disruptive forces.

While a growing number of companies have begun to find some success in implementing design-centered thinking, lean innovation techniques, jobs-to-be-done analysis, and empowering employees to solve customer and internal process problems, much of the focus has been on supporting current business models – i.e., on incremental rather than game-changing innovation. But this work is merely the table stakes for staying in the current game”

The view offered in this article suggests four pillars to be put into place: 1) A Committed and Engaged Leadership, 2) A Comprehensive Innovation Strategy, 3) A Sustained Mindset Shift and 4) A Comprehensive Tool Kit.

Rick’s article just gave me the chance to go back and review my thoughts and relate his excellent suggestions and thinking into some of the work I have written about in this area. So I wanted to link them up a little more in my mind on some diverse and previous thoughts that I have written about and hopefully link them far more into yours and this article of Rick’s. Continue reading

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Innovation System Thinking on a Sunday! What, no roast or glass of wine? Later.

We all spend our Sundays in different ways. Some spend it recovering from the Saturday night, other spend large chunks of the day traveling to meet up with friends or family. Others go off to the gym, jog, take a run, or simply enjoy a day of pursuing something differently from their working week. We do different things. Mine is usually a mix of exploring and researching around innovation in the morning, a couple of hours at the gym, a walk to finish off and then a mixture of enjoying a nice home-cooked meal and a relaxing evening.

That part of the day spent on innovation, researching and reading, tends to partly stimulate my week ahead in different ways, as I try to reinforce what I’ve learned by applying this to the work gathered around me at that point in time. I am looking to see how it does help shape and influence it, it ‘fuels’ the coming-in week in some part. Of course, this greatly depends on what I am working on, for others and, for myself. Some weeks I just don’t find the opportunity to apply it, so that “Sunday thinking” sits there for another day or week, or even months before I revisit it or connect it back up. Continue reading

Putting some dynamic tension back into the innovation system

I have been having some writers block recently and I was not sure how to unlock some random thoughts I was having in the past weeks, then in a great conversation I had today, with a fellow innovation colleague, it started to “reveal itself” in where I needed to go to give a new sense of repurpose.

A collaboration is being mooted between us but until there is a point of common understanding much stays under partial wraps until we both get to a more comfortable point, where we feel it can go for us but it certainly triggered this post as a starter.

The thinking hinges around the state of innovation today, how it is fragmenting in  a myraid of parts, all seemingly contributing; yet it seems learning has been replaced by personalized experience and the chase for individual knowledge. Mostly this does not get embedded back in the company, the ones who are paying for this exposure.

I was wondering if there was a decent ‘return on investment’ being made by the company or was it just being front-loaded on the individual, so they gain and then can take that understanding elsewhere, or simply set up their own shop of ‘innovation expertise’. The ROI and the Return on Learning seemed to be mostly heading out of the door, leaving the organization that made the investment, devoid of a return.

My feeling is this should change and we firstly establish a “System of Record” for innovation that brings the individual learning into a collective one, a “system of collective engagement” that enables all within the system to gain from and design innovation solutions, from a more ‘whole’ system thinking perspective, that gives innovation sustaining power connecting the individual to the organizations needs. Continue reading

Choosing your direction of travel

In the past week or so, I have been looking a little harder at the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry relating to innovation, it left me a little frustrated.

I felt that warm and fuzzy feeling, as I read all too often those comforting words or platitudes of how “innovation is vital to us” and one of the “highest areas of focus.” Yet as you then listen to the voices of the very leaders within these industries in interviews, or read on blogs, or in discussing what are the challenges they face, it does seem somewhat hollow.

You know they are nowhere at the point of really understanding the potential of the changes that could take place within adopting a broader view on all aspects of innovation.

Nearly all in these current companies making up the Chemical and Pharmaceuticals sectors are well past their prolific era, the discovery part is bogged down in slow growth, expensive development costs and regulatory conditions. Blockbusters seem a thing of the past but perhaps they don’t need to be with a very different innovative approach.

You do get tired of hearing “we are looking to become a value-creating solution provider”, yet the willingness to really create collaborative networks is still stuck in the “us and them” mentality. The thinking through on the contribution around innovation needs to be changed.

The two industries are struggling in finding new operating models to adapt to a different, changing world. They are not yet tuned into those more integrated systems of collaboration, where platforms and ecosystems are critical to making improved progress, advanced by multiple contributions to the discovery and exploration stages, where there is a new potential force of collaborative breakthroughs. So from what I can see so far, change is highly constrained:

Evolution is slow, revolution is seemingly non-existent due to narrow vested interests.
Continue reading

Jumping to a fresh cycle of innovation design

I have argued in the past that innovation management needs to radically adjust, it requires being designed differently, it needs to be highly adaptive, technology driven.

In my opinion, it needs to be based on the thinking around the shift from products to solutions, from transactions to building 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 and transformation becomes an ongoing process to evolve the business model, so as to seek out constantly changing market opportunities, in agile, adaptive and fluid ways, for successful innovation outcomes, that meet those real customer needs.

I’d like to offer some views, partly looking out to the future, partly considering what is potentially within our grasp, if we step back and rethink innovation design. So here I offer some parts of this design, my thinking out loud, somewhat in random order and some of the reasons why:

For me, I have a picture floating around in my head. It is emergent and not yet in full view Continue reading

Exploring frameworks and methods you need to know as an Innovator

Recently, well actually, over the past twelve or eighteen months, I was asked to explore and explain different frameworks that the innovator might need to know, or at least have an opinion upon.

These were for HYPE and posted on their blogs, mostly under their “Methods & Frameworks” tag.

Some of these investigations or explanations were fairly long so I decided to not reproduce them here but to have an opening summary and then set up the links onto their site for you to read the ones that are of interest or curiosity to you.

So far I have covered ones that were asked for, there are a few more that need covering or even deepening out in explanations in my mind, lets see.

Continue reading

Reducing the friction around innovation

I was reading a report by the IBM Institute for Business Value’s “Fast Forward: Rethinking enterprises, ecosystems, and economies with blockchains”. In IBM’s thinking, they have clearly taken friction as part of the need to be broken down within any rebuilding of the supply chain. Well, I also believe these apply equally as innovation frictions. Reducing any frictions that get in the way is good, right?

So I decided to builds out of their friction analysis, building on the thoughts offered in the report, adding the innovation perspective.

So here I am suggesting constraints that need tackling in reducing the innovation friction points, theirs was for blockchain. I did like a comment in the report stated: “Friction, in theory, could be digitized away” (page 3) and partly why I looked at the report in this digital perspective for future facing innovation solutions. The frictions hold true for innovators to resolve. Continue reading