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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Ring Fencing Constrains Innovation

It is the very act of ‘ring-fencing’ we have constrained innovation. We then can limit risk, as well as we are constantly separating it from the center of the company, even though many of us try to push it back towards the core.

Innovation remains separate for the clear majority of our companies even today as it is full of unknowns and question marks. Top executives just do not like the sound of this, so they seek to ring-fence innovation. One where they want to contain it, to try to tame it, so it can mirror their (mistaken) believe that our world is one of order, control, and stability.

Instead of embracing that the real world is actually an innovating world, full of opportunity, for those prepared to take a greater risk, will have much to gain. Regretfully we still see many companies operating with a 20th-century mindset. Thankfully the pressure upon companies to innovate, to get their growth back, is getting a very tough place to operate in today without tangible demonstration of innovation being realized. There is this need to “embrace” innovation. If not, rapid extinction is occurring for many that choose to ignore the sweeping changes we are witnessing in the business world, where more open and technology-driven innovators are connecting and collaborating. Those companies that only halve-heartedly attempting change are fearful and still want to “box” innovation in. A transformation where innovation and technology go hand-in-hand does have to be utterly full on to succeed! Continue reading

Cynefin: A framework that grows for me all the time, in its value and worth.

The Cynefin Framework by David Snowden, through Cognitive Edge

A good framework seems to grow, it becomes integrated into your thinking and application. You see increasing possibilities to apply it. One of these for me has been Dave Snowden’s Cynefin.

I also increasing apply the Three Horizons framework as well.

Both allow me to organize my thinking and provide options within any multiple evaluations to begin or shape thinking going forward. Both attempt to break down a growing complexity we all find in our word today.

One, the three horizons, attempts to sketch out our thinking about today’s world, of where we are and what we need to do to keep it going in a hopefully orderly state, and then looks to forecast out the changes we need to move towards, in a projected future and then identify the needs to get there. It passes through three horizons of today (H1), the near term (H2) and the longer term (H3).

You will find much of what I have written about on the three horizons story, within my insights and thinking tab (shown above) and look for the applicable section. Equally, you can put into the search box “three horizons” and many posts will come up to explore this, if you are curious on its value, position and our need, to use this on a more consistent basis.

The Cynefin framework provides a wonderful way to sort the range of issues faced by leaders and us all, into five contexts, defined by the nature of the relationships between cause and effect. Dave Snowden has been explaining these consistently for years. Four of these five are; obvious (formerly simple), complicated, complex and chaotic states and requires us to diagnose situations and then to act in contextually appropriate ways. The fifth one is disorder, often overlooked or not fully appreciated. It is when something is unclear, it is in a disorderly, highly transitory state and needs to be rapidly stabilized into one of the other four to give it a more orderly state going forward.

So why do I see this Cynefin framework as growing in importance? Continue reading

A really worthwhile report on Innovation not to be missed from Innovation Leader.

There has just been a highly useful benchmarking report released by Innovation Leader  with KPMG LLP sponsoring this and providing some of their collective insights into the different aspects of Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2018″

At present, you can download the report before it might slip behind a paywall at some later stage. I would take advantage while you can. The report provides insights from 270 innovation, R&D and strategy executives and considerable work on structuring the conclusions in highly thoughtful and valuable ways to the reader.

If you are not familiar with Innovation Leader, they were created to be a growing and essential resource for innovation, especially in the bigger organizations. It has a more specific focus on the US scene but much of what it has found is universal in my opinion. It’s editor and Co-Founder Scott Kirsner (editor@innovationleader.com) and his team are building a great point of reference and meeting point for innovators to exchange and learn from each other. Maybe you should join?

Why do I think the report is well worth you investing time to read? The report provides an excellent document that enables good discussions to be drawn from the benchmarking of many organization, to compare with your own organization. The report is laid out into four parts: 1. Creating Strategic Alignment, 2.Funding Innovation, 3 Delivering Impact and 4 Moving forward.

It offers up great suggestions on tactics, relationships and obstacles you can face in any sort of innovation program, be it an early forming one or at a more mature stage. It can allow you to communicate and suggest the needs for a new innovation approach where you need others involved but they would expect to see a validation. This report helps in all these and much more.

I am going to just focus on three parts that really caught my eye Continue reading

So I keep asking myself “What is the role of social media in innovation?”

Social media haunts us all. For many years you first become aware, then very aware and then fully aware that social media is changing our lives.

Let me confess: I am not alone I am sure but I seem to be presently suffering from Social Media Return Dilemma. There I’ve said it, it is out in the open, “I suffer from SMRD”.

To be honest I am struggling with social media in innovation, struggling to get my head around it for my business, for me for a long time. It often seems overwhelming, do you feel the same? I worried about this years ago and still do. What is the best social media to have as part of your communicating strategy, how much time do you network?

It starts with a realization

I can see daily the amazing power that social networking can provide, it is certainly eating into my day, more and more. Is this a good thing or bad? What suffers, what benefits? The time issue has to increasingly be managed, and I have yet to come up with a repeatable plan to manage social media consistently each day into my work. I get so much from viewing, commenting, relating and learning.

I don’t have a clear enough strategy for it or where to direct my social media energy, does anyone? It continues to evolve in front of our eyes, are you cresting the social media wave or swimming like crazy to get back up on the surfing board?

I am still learning, experimenting, exploring through a combination of writing blogs, contributing to others, updating my connections, tweeting sometimes like crazy, publishing, promoting or simply clicking on a retweet or offer a “like” back to the author or the one that has publicized something that interests me. Often I do wonder all this frenetic energy leads to what end. It does nag away at me?

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What goes around, comes around, in Innovation

It is funny but that often-used phrase “what goes around, comes around” seems appropriate here.

I was catching up with my often collaborator and sparring partner on “all things innovating” Jeffrey Phillips  recently, and within our conversation, some of our discussions sort of triggered a reflection back to some fundamental work we undertook some years back.

In revisiting it, I felt it does stand the test of time and does seem to make this “come around” seem true. Let me provide a quick introduction along with some brief explanations : Continue reading

Applying the Three Horizon Thinking to a Fresh Perspective of Innovation Design

There is huge value in applying the three horizon framework into your thinking. It is as useful a framework that you can get, to help decide where you are heading.

It is not just for innovation application, that can determine innovation activities. It has multiple values in any organization thinking and alignment.

The 3H informs the decisions to be taken, by recognizing their importance to the future and ‘frame’ resource allocation, identify current capability gaps to resolve.

It helps to enable the whole organization to “get onto the same page” and move towards that desired future.

This 3H thinking helps break down complex issues. Thinking in different horizons prompts you to go beyond the usual focus of fixing innovation just in the present it provides the connections of the present with the desired future. The 3H builds portfolio design, outline the steps to resolve in any complex challenge, it ‘informs’ strategy and builds the business case for taking a specific direction to that ‘desired future’.

If you want to read more on the three horizons then take some time out to explore the “insights and thinking” resource page shown under the ‘tabs’ above.

I recently applied the three horizons thinking to ‘frame’ a new innovation design Continue reading