Innovation

It’s a gut feeling we have; To achieve bold moves we need to work in new ways. Whilst we strive at finding the best ways to steer and process Innovation, in it self a process, we feel that best accomplishments come from somewhat least organized situations. But is it true? How do we achieve successful Innovation? A study workshop we did in the Innovation Pioneers Network showed a few interesting pointers. Here are a few personal (philosophical) thoughts about this.

To process a process, in itself says it all. We focus on controlling risk. The risk of loss. We play not to loose, instead of playing for the win. This is why we need to ensure that we support and create drive, not the opposite. Optimizing risks in relation to stakes, needs, urgency and position is a must for organizations. Optimizing also means we must migrate. In the study of successful cases of Innovation amongst leading organizations from various industries, some common nominators were found.

..our processes are set around stages, not gates

Three pillar stones

I have in an earlier post suggested that successful Innovation is based on three pillar stones;

The known

The unknown

The resource allocation

Within the known, we set out towards strategical focus areas in our business plans. We aim at taking on cases that we can and will harbor towards success. We focus on stuff we want to see come true. So, key here is communicating where we are heading and why. How we aim at utilizing our assets, off- as well as on balance sheet, to create value for our clients and internal markets in new ways. Here, also the ability of the intrapreneur comes into play. An intrapreneur whom can package and sell the vision, will be more likely to assemble a team of competencies to master the development towards a lady offering.

Within the unknown, comes the fostering of curiosity. The better we understand the need of our ”users” and ”customers”, the better we can service them. The more customer focused we had our projects, the better they turned out. Navigating in the unknown includes insight work as well as piloting a (least) viable offering and studying the behaviors of our target audience.

The resource allocation comes down to basics. Boot strapping, start-up style, will help your teams develop in one way, on the other hand lack of resources will slow down and diminish strategic attention. Invest enough, but kill the ordinary ways of working. Don’t keep innovators in the corporate reporting trap. Let them act and act freely within certain controlled environments. These teams need management attention though. The more the better. Attention, not detention that is.

IMG_9673Basically it is all about putting the right people to work, with the right resources. And give them time. Time to fail and find new ways. Time to take that giant leap we so much need.

We all know this. But discussing and sharing experiences in one room, gave us confidence to further drive change within our own organizations.

It might feel completely wild to dis-organize to achieve better control and drive. A bit like when you stare at your two feet before plunging into a bungy jump. How on earth will I make it? The only difference is, that this bungy jump is not falling 300 feet; its just like taking one step forward onto new solid ground.

Innovation

Is gamification a way to innovate work processes? I have been very curious about the way game producers manage to capture hours of attention from consumers of all ages. Actually attracting and gravitating knowledge, engagement and talent. How can we utilize this when engaging our co-workers, clients and the total eco-system in the work processes?Dariush-quote-03 (other boxes)

To engage a bit further I will attend the Innovation Pioneers Network “Tank” meeting on the subject. Hosted by CGI and involving some of the most passionate innovation managers, it’s bound to be an interesting event.

Can we do more?

What do we really want to accomplish? Is more and more the same as doing the right things? A while back I met with a CEO of a major bank. We discussed the reason to innovate, beyond just answering what the market expects.

His response was that they did not necessary look at the market, as something they had to win, gain or conquer to grow. They looked at innovation as something that could help them better understand how to solve more of their customers needs. Duh! I hear this a lot, however; Give it a thought. A bank that actually sets out to solve problems, helping their customers being even better and this way earning the best business, not necessarily the biggest business. What would the world look like, if banks really had had this strategy in the last 20 years?

How do we inspire our stressed bankers to really understand their clients? I can’t help looking at gamification and comparing this to the Innovation Portfolio Challenges I often attend. It’s fun, energetic and engaging. That is how we get everyone to really engage in evaluating risk, participating in strategy formation and putting their full talent behind the solution.

Game thinking

Solutions might be easy to come up with, but solutions that really make a difference need more work. I strongly believe that thinking in other boxes will drive an innovative solution to the table. This is why the engagement of real game producers, kids and their game play is taking more attention and time for me as we speak. I am putting my brain were it hasn’t been before.

I hope that this will drive even more ideas and solutions on how to innovate work processes.

For inspirational purposes, take 15 minutes and listen to Gabe Zichermanns talk on Gamification, found inserted here. He has some really valid points.

Thinking games

OK, so we are innovating our work processes through gamification. But what if we would strive at re-thinking our solutions in the same way? How much more fun could you make the use of your product or solution? How much more effect could your service have, if you gamify it. At Googol we did, and it has been very appreciated amongst our clients.

Innovation

When a company is about to make an investment, small or large, the return on investment, time to break even, profitability, margin and time at market are measured. The calculations are often based on direct financial returns, although indirect financial returns are often included in more complex metrics. There are compensation models that favor short-term results, which in turn benefits owners with short-term horizon of their holdings, as opposed to those who invest in building long-term value.Bom

In a world where life cycles are becoming shorter and shorter, or better expressed, faster and faster, and also requires parallel cycles of new products and services alongside the main cycle, the requirements for innovative capacity increases. It is not only the compressed life cycles that affect us. Also the absolute need for sustainable consumption and sustainable industrialism implies new requirements and opens up for new opportunities. How do we navigate amongst these foaming waves?

Need to navigate

The modern western society has in the past 50 years rapidly been weighted towards a knowledge economy. How, then, should our workers treat and address their creativity and loyalty? Well, probably against the workplaces which offer best opportunities for personal development, which requires us to steer the creativity to areas where we can create an outlet for the results. The outlet is naturally where we create the greatest value in relation to the risk involved, in minimum time and at minimum cost in relation to the expected return. Again Return on Investment. But, is this the right way to operate corporate activity? No, the companies who work in a serious way with their innovation have obviously a functioning portfolio-thinking in which strategic and tactical, direct and indirect initiatives share the resources. To balance this portfolio, it must be aligned with the operational strategy.

Well, financial, strategic, tactical, direct and indirect results in a confusing mix. In addition, a concept which is available on a valuation level, but rarely is communicated consistently throughout the organization is Innovation. Have the managers today the opportunity to pursue innovation with the same excellence as other investments? Only if we agree on the definition of each organization, create targets and measure the processes, can we head for the results.

An introduction to Innovation metrics

Innovation Pioneers International is an organization founded by networking innovation experts in the leading Swedish companies. The purpose of the network is to aggregate, produce and distribute practical innovation knowledge and to run a continuous Innovation Agenda. One of the first projects to be pursued by Innovation Pioneers is the project Metrics. Apart from this Book of Metrics, a tool for selecting metrics has been worked out. It is our hope that the reader of this publication finds guidance on how to measure and manage the innovation process.

Innovation

Johnny RottenAs I am participating in a thought leaders Tank meeting with Innovation Pioneers on Disruptive and Radical Innovation, I ask myself; Do these in any way merge or are they parallell, maybe even contradictionary?

On a first note, when disrupting a business we seek to do something that break the usual sustaining processes. We take on risk to not make the most out of a Potential or an Opportunity but rather shift the curve of competetive advantages. We find a solution to a real or percieved quality problem, whilst still offering a solution with a cost adavntage.

Radical, on the other hand, falls more into hand as a way to maximize the reach within an Opportunity or a seemingly reachable Potential. To achieve this we seek new technologies and processes that can bring us to major breakthrough.

While the disruptive still deal with a known product on a known market, the radical will more likely reach for the unknown, allthough the output is most commonly unknown.

Phd Christian Sandström says, Companies are usually able to reconize what will happen. The problem is what to do about it.

He continues by agreeing to my long time saying, the problem large companies have, is that they think big, demand big and fail big. Again, this is where entrepreneurship, or intrapreneurship comes in. Through partial separation and corporate venturing (internal).

I continue to think; Is radical innovation based on a repetetive process, in the long run just a disruptive movement?