Adopting a Rapid Digital Innovation Process

As we start to think about the next year, (is it here already?) it is a time of reflection and some forward thinking. We do need to make some real changes.

From my standpoint, I am simply amazed at how the world seems to be spinning faster and faster. I am convinced my working days are shorter or the clock is moving faster or worse still, I am being “deflected” even more by everything “digital”.

I never seem to finish what I had intended to complete by the end of a day or week. I then get caught up in the spillover effect. Something always gets in the way, something has to give. So we make a resolution to change something to improve on this constant catch up state we find ourselves in. We all seem to be spinning faster but equally slowing down. Often our innovation activities face the same dilemma.

Innovation needs time, it needs evolution and resolution but also speeding up

Here are some thoughts for our future. The need for innovation results has sped up considerably. The belief that lean management principles will get the innovation out of the door quicker, has been one of those management adoptions that often trick us into believing we are achieving more than we actually are. Reality is, we have only been tackling part of the innovation process and the end results often remain the same – a slow process of innovation follows as lean hits organization reality, it gets caught up in internal roadblocks, countless discussions, and debates.

Certainly, in the majority of cases we have found nothing wrong at all with applying lean management, as it tends to lead to improvements in a final outcome, but does it actually speed up the process? I’m not sure it does. Leans slows down and becomes increasingly burdened by fat being layered on, further down the innovation execution process.

For me, I think the real need is in speeding up of the whole innovation process, approaching the whole innovation in a systematic way, as the only path to tread in the years ahead. We need to broaden out the whole process of rapid innovation application beyond the two current favorites of lean and design thinking. That requires it to be fully connected up and that means making the innovation process one that is fully digital, on a platform and accessible by all, those that can bring value and meaning to the process to deliver greater innovation outcomes. We need a greater innovation rapid prototype approach to the whole innovation process- test, learn, adapt, adjust, iterate, refine at speed and rapid scaling.

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My 5 S for future Innovation: Smart, Stacks, Scale, Storage, and Software

Technology is radically altering our need for innovation. We see increasingly innovation is feeding off the “digital response rate

Connecting technology and innovation is altering how we should re-access organizations ability to build out. We are in the middle of a technological-led industrial revolution It is becoming highly dynamic.

****I decided to revise this post as I originally got caught up in “conflation”. Two ideas merging as one and it simply lost the insights of each, simply attempting to fuse different thoughts into one entity. It honestly did not work and I struggled with what to do.  By splitting them up they become separate reads and more digestible and hopefully of better value. I have to admit this is not the first time I get caught in this  (or I expect the last!) and I apologize to you, as the reader *****

So here I outline a 5S framework to trigger some opening thoughts on breaking down technology design complexity. The other post, now over on my other site, deals with the growth of “apps” in IIoT “Great apps will deliver the future business value in IIoT” and is predicting a changing future based on some recent takeover announcements.

So getting that embarrassment behind me lets go back to the 5S idea.

Arriving at a designed outcome is getting complicated. Developers get caught up in the details, rightly so, to deliver on a connected world but you must always ask the “what for?”

The more I was thinking I was trying to cut through all this “unnecessary fog” as a non-techie so I started to build my 5S idea. Let me share it
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Optimism in Innovation, Thinking About Risk Differently

For me, there is never enough talked about innovation risk. Innovation is held back so often because the quantification of it’s risk cannot fit into an organization’s current assessment and measurements of risk.

Innovation is often too intangible, full of unknowns as the very nature of anything new and different. Innovation risk leaves many executives very uncomfortable.

Organizations get uncomfortable when the words “radical” “intangible”, “unknowns” and other words like these when they form part of the conversation. It often starts to induce that “risk twitch” where that careful management for short-term performance might become threatened, or the manager feels any decision is ‘going out on a limb’ and possibly career threatening.

That growing uncomfortable feeling that innovation places their bonus at “risk” so they like to ring-fence innovation as much as possible. Now some of that ring-fencing is fine, you contain a risk to keep it manageable but most innovation does not constitute organization risk, yet it gets caught up in that risky fear that innovation seems to induce. Actually, if we were managing innovation at the core, our risk management for it would be very heightened and managed differently, but how many of our companies’ have innovation as their core?

So I always welcome discussion on risk and innovation. The more we talk about it the better for what is coming towards us. Continue reading

Innovation cannot expand without the 4th Industrial Revolution

We are a long way away from fully capturing the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in an inclusive and holistic way. To do this, technology adoption and diffusion across the ecosystem needs to improve dramatically.

In a recent report, jointly from the World Economic Forum and McKinsey called the “The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the factories of the future” they made a number of observations

“After a decade of flat productivity, the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is expected to create up to $3.7 trillion in value to global manufacturing. A few years back, experts noted that the changes associated with the 4IR would come at an unprecedented rate yielding incredible results for those who truly embraced them.

Still, the hockey stick of benefits has not kicked in yet – while all companies are making efforts to adopt technology, most of the production industry (~70%) remains in pilot purgatory (where technology pilots last for extended periods of time, and companies do not take the final step of scaling up viable technologies). Less than 30% of manufacturing companies are actively rolling out Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies at scale”

No wonder we presently have trouble attracting many businesses onto platforms when they are still very much behind in deciding or deploying a strategically thought-through IIoT digital design, that is connecting everything up.

It is equally holding a new form of innovation back, one that is highly collaborative where partners come together to work on more complex problems. Collaborators can achieve solutions only by being “fully” connected up, comfortable with their data, understanding and contribution, both within their knowledge and insights.

The power of multiple-connected ecosystems gives innovation a completely different momentum but it needs this 4th industrial revolution to be fully operative, for a digitally connected world in manufacturing and beyond. Continue reading

The legend of the Gordian Knot and today’s organizations “knotty” problems

Cutting the Gordian Knot

If you are not aware, it is worth reading about the Gordian Knot. “For people the world over, the Gordian Knot represents the difficult, the intractable and often the insolvable problem. Today’s systemic business problems are the modern-day equivalent of this seemingly impossible challenge, our Gordian Knots to untie or cut through.

According to Greek mythology, the huge, ball-like Turkish knot with no ends exposed was impossible to untie. An oracle had predicted that the first person to do so would become the ruler of all Asia. Thousands of people had tried, without success, to unlock its complex riddles. Alexander of Macedonia, son of King Philip II of Macedon, solved this puzzle simply and very creatively – by cutting it in half with his sword, exposing its ends and making it possible to untie. Alexander the Great went on to conquer all of Asia, just as the oracle predicted”.

So are Organizations Cutting their Gordian Knots?

So how can we cut the intractable knot inside organizations and thrive from it? Continue reading

So the value we can derive from using Knowledge Graphs

How does Knowledge Graphs fit within our need to communicate in new, visually exciting ways?

Let me provide a short narrative to give this a meaning and why it is becoming so important

Today we deliver content- It has become far too easy. We are drowning in it on a daily basis. We all suffer a massive deluge of digital input. Content can’t stand alone.

  • What we need is context to anchor content and give it the clear meaning to understand………..that’s our necessary starting point.

Context shifts everything, it gives it shape, a structure to draw (deeper) meaning from. We learn to know, to integrate, to remember, to understand and to act.

Of course, context is going to be fluid as it builds out its related content.

Having content and context is complementary, interconnected, and interdependent, they interrelate to one another.

As we gain more insights we can potentially build a greater understanding. We simply improve our knowledge.

It is going to be needed to be adaptive as we learn but it will be placed in ‘certain bounds’. If we start from a much clearer starting base then the learning and discovery allow people to want to find solutions as they gain increased knowledge and provide fresh inputs, they begin to strongly relate. We pass through memory understanding as we learn. Continue reading

A feast of opportunities for Siemens?


I decided to invest a decent amount of time into the Siemens 3rd Quarter Announcements and it has been worth it.

I really don’t understand the reporters and analysts attending this event as they seem to continue to stay stuck in their recurring opinions and stances, constant looking in the rear-view mirror. It has its reference points perhaps but it is understanding “the road ahead and its conditions” that provide shareholder value.

We need to become more forward-looking based on strategic outlook, innovation potential and market opportunities.

The analysts seek to always look constantly to the immediate, often not looking beyond their own noses. They seem not to want to go under the bonnet through investigation, just rely on ‘given’ handouts or myopic views, rooted in the short-term. The sound of future innovation potential was in most of the event as very evident but lost in the focus on immediate numbers and results. Why? Continue reading