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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The Connected Art of Selling Outcome-Based Solutions

Outcomes ROI neededThe typical linear and often siloed mindset that we have for much of our innovation thinking within our business organizations, has to rapidly fall away. We are in the ‘cusp’ of a fundamental change that technology, platforms and connected ecosystems will bring into the mix for connecting and collaborating in dramatically different ways than the past.

One of the implications will be our need in measuring and the metrics within companies. The measurement of inputs, throughout and outputs need to become far more focused on delivering speed and scale potential as the critical points. We are far more needing to focus on the outcomes as our primary point of measurement.

This is a further post on discussing outcomes as the focal point of our innovation measurements, following my recent one of “Shifting to Ultimate Outcomes”

Recognizing the emergence of the outcome economy

The outcome economy which is emerging has many implications within it and how we measure and value these will become increasingly important. Companies will need better data to calculate costs, evaluate its potential value and will be modelling far more the risks and tracking the factors required to deliver within any outcome-based value promised.

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Shifting to Ultimate Outcomes

OutcomesMany organizations are struggling with their metrics and ways to measure the progress and success of their business. From this writer’s point of view their innovation activity gets caught up in plenty of unintended consequences, to put it mildly, in wasted debate, discussion & bad decisions through wrong measurement criteria.

Firstly, we are still locked in the old paradigm of thinking this is an industrial economy where we set about measuring inputs to innovation (R&D expenditure, capital investment) and then focused on the intermediate step of throughput and then outputs (publications, production units, patent filing, end products).

We also perceive innovation far too much still as an activity within just one company – viewed as linear, with considerations for services more of an after thought (like ‘bolt-ons’). Production systems still remain far too often the driving force of performance judgement.

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Are you hearing all the voices for ideas?

employee-feedback

So where do ideas come from? The most popular one is the ‘voice of the customer’ yet this is one of the many ‘voices’ that need to be allowed to speak.

In this fuzzy front end of innovation where ideas are generated, there are many places we can ‘discover and listen’ to the voices that will provide concrete ideas and concepts. Let’s take the time to recognize these and ask you, the reader, do you have a systematic plan to capture all these voices?

The Voice of the Customer

The most talked about place to find the ideas that are closer and relevant are the search for new ideas around the jobs needing to be done (jtbd). We get closer to these voices when we use a variety of techniques that give this voice its chance to speak. We do this through customer focus groups, user panels, customer surveys, lead-user research, direct observation of the user in their environment, and allowing ourselves to become fully immersed in a customer’s experience.

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The transforming tide in digital for innovation.

Digital Discovery 2Can you imagine the CEO sitting opposite the consultant, explaining the organizations present difficulties to regain growth, no matter what they are doing through the existing practices and the assorted business approaches they have taken for many years, they still seem to be ‘treading water’ or even losing ground. They are beginning to worry seriously about their future.

The consultant has heard this already so many time before  across many worried organizations. He looks right into the CEO’s eyes and (sort of) snarls back: “You can run but you can’t hide”. This was a famous quote attributed to Joe Louis before one of his boxing fights back in 1946.That might get a CEO’s attention! We are in a digital transformation evolution.

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