Are we seeing a change in mentality within large organisations towards encouraging individuals to ‘break out and become more intrapreneurial within their part of the business?’
Is this tapping into the increasing desire to be part of creating something new, to grab back the engagement needed, that sense of identity and a growing sense of ownership?
Large organisations sense they are missing out on radically different business opportunities and cast their envious eyes towards the young start-ups, not just coming up with original ideas to solve existing problems and pent-up needs, but seeing the work as potentially disruptive to those managing in the existing space.
This start-up and entrepreneurial spirit are making many senior executives nervous and they want to find ways to harness this within their own organisations, and thus the intrapreneurial movement has been born and is growing fast.
Three years back I took a view on what to focus upon in my innovation activities to meet client needs, they did seem to make sense at the time.
In many ways, I was fairly happy with the outcome, as many of the places I would put my required but limited resources behind, in providing a depth of understanding, were highly relevant, topical and needed, so were good spaces to offer my thinking, advice and solutions into.
Fast forward these last few years and I often wonder where that focus has actually gone – the focus has been a little ‘bounced’ around but for good reason, I feel, yet, it needs a fresh re-calibrating on my approaches going forward.
Innovation has been rapidly changing and much of its basics have been swallowed up by some defining issues that have raced up to the top of the innovation agenda and it is right to respond to these.
‘Breaking’ practices or new methodologies are much harder to master and advise upon, to determine clear positions and propositions. Continue reading →
I certainly believe we are in need of a fresh approach to innovation. We are facing unprecedented challenges, sluggish growth and increasing competition from unexpected sources.
We need to increasingly deliver better end results; as more distinctive, bolder and creative, delivering greater value to our customers’ needs. Can we change our thinking to achieve this?
Let me offer some of my thoughts on why we need to reinvent our innovation management.
The power of technology, software and the use of the cloud is combining in new powerful ways. We are looking for greater data capture and analytics and this is offering us a very different set of options than in the past. The framing of the innovation potential has to be altered. Altered in different products. services and business models. But will it?
Visual two heads….different mindsets, different thinking about innovation but working together, a duality of thinking and managing innovation going forward. We must learn to explore and exploit at the same time, both in parallel and where needed, in separate ways, or entities.
If we ‘subject’ all of our innovation thinking to go through the same process we lose so much. How can you treat incremental innovation in the same way as radical or breakthrough innovation? You need to apply a completely different thinking and approach to the type of innovation you are thinking through. You must be prepared to abandon established thinking if it is not resolving the problems you are facing.
Beginning any journey is never easy, you stumble a little until you find a certain rhythm
So after a fairly ‘dark’ period for me, of absorbing and reflecting on a series of reports, each indicating that innovation and its management understanding is not as deeply understood in the boardroom as it should be, you need to respond.
This seems an appropriate time to begin to rethink and explain innovation, partly in this need to fight these “immune systems” in fresh ways and partly to redrawn, re-frame and renew the value of innovation; in how it can help organizations going forward in very volatile times.
So let’s shine some light on new ways or even recognized paths for innovation to re-enter the thinking within our corporate boardrooms, in different ways that might resonate more in these more ‘dynamic’ times.
I like this organizing framework shown above, it can allow us to gain a revised understanding of how innovation can be mobilized in different ways, to give value in dealing with these different forces to help move you towards a growing level of renewal.
So I want to begin a series of posts around positioning innovation frameworks, tools or approaches that build the boardroom “innovation toolkit” to deal in both the predictive and unpredictive environments. The suggestions that will be offered are designed to help tackle the disruptive forces swirling around the business that are rising, increasing the uncertainties to future invest. It is attempting to address the concerns on how to organize the “forces of innovation” to combat them, to raise the confidence level in the boardroom to ’embrace’ innovation far more than seemingly the case today. Continue reading →
I have always found April a difficult month. It seems to be the defining month for transition between winter and summer. It can fool us on the first day (April fools day) and its weather for us in Europe does exactly the same, usually all month long, confusing us.
One where it is offering up a healthy mix of rain, stronger sun, a little flurry of snow and some heavy wind too.
It can constantly confuse us as it can rapidly alter within the same 24 hours to often keep the heating on, when it should be switched off and visa-versa. It can be an uncomfortable month of adjusting constantly, second guessing of what might be ahead.
On the innovation front I have been experiencing the same feeling of adjusting to uncomfortable days.
Have 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.
It really depresses me when you hear the remark “actually, in all honesty, we have no appetite for innovation, we are so risk averse.” Actually it is heard a fair amount if you ask about risk and innovation. This is often never stated in earshot of others within the same organization, it comes in a sudden burst of honesty, perhaps over drinks, and always outside their ‘normal’ working environment. Sometimes you have a rare exception, especially if you have been called in to help, when someone has just been appointed into the position to simply “do something about innovation, we are dying as an organization”
We all need meaning but we don’t like the risks associated with it
I was reading an excellent article by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer on “How leaders kill meaning at work” and they offer the insight about the lack of recognition that everyone within any organization requires as the single most important need,that is the feeling they are making progress in meaningful work. Managers often undermine the meaningfulness of work to us as individuals; it is too often dismissed or not thought as relevant to the work at hand.
In the article they suggest four traps to avoid and one of them ‘Mediocrity signals’ triggered this blog. The organization they used as the example within this trap drove new-product innovation into the ground as the top management was so focused on cost savings they no longer were a leader in innovation, they simply became followers. One comment made by an employee was “mediocre work for a mediocre company”, yet it was not previously like that. Risk aversion had become dominating and the organizations leadership was signalling “they were really more comfortable being ordinary”.
How do we arrive at this point of being just ordinary?