Sunday, March 8, 2015

What's Focal Point for Practicing Innovation Strategy? Idea Generation or Capability Building

Innovation and execution are like two wings of an eagle- you need both to thrive!

Today’s business is hyper-competitive and over-complex, there’re so many things going on in the business executives’ agenda, what’s your emphasis point for practicing business strategy -idea creation or capability building? What’s the root cause for business lagging behind: Is it that you do not have the culture to develop new ideas or is it that you are unable to execute them?


Everything has always started with an IDEA. Idea generation has an edge to be a key business differentiator because these skills are based on inter disciplinary approach, compared to the execution of these ideas. To get an idea one can first research the market and look for gaps to get an idea or it is just spontaneous, or it is very fluid and becomes a strong concept over a period of time. There are many ways towards an idea. The idea is also about vision and farsightedness. It is about sensing the future trends. There is no differentiation at that stage. Then it is more important to first convert a concept into a salable product rather than just start with execution. So start has to be with idea practitioners, and those ideas which get generated can then be weighed against the requirements of translating them into opportunity and profit. Sometimes out of the box thinking transforms the organization, just a stray thought...out of the blue, the miraculous results were achieved. Ideas practitioners, with creativity associated with strategy, can help moving forward, even when facing difficulty.


Execution is the next step of idea creation. It is all about: Plan... Do... Check ...Act. Planning is not execution. It is generating ideas and finalizing the idea and shaping up the ideas, then execution comes into the picture. Both are equally important and focused. But the first focus should be on the foundation which is strategic planning and then the pillar. The execution also should be emphasized but on the later stage. Planning is half way to succeeding if it fails everything fails, but execution part will have more hands to work on and can be continuously adjusted for execution of thoughts and execution of whatever has been decided to do effectively. So idea generation is the most important starting point, and execution capabilities are the “innate strength” to decide business’s competency. Either idea generation or execution capability building, the diversified team with well-blended talent is the critical success factor. The strategy can't be done only with one or two types of people, you can't create a team of only idea practitioners. In any activity, you need four to five kinds of people: one generate ideas, the other one criticizes and peels off each activity of the plan to see where it is weak, to tell you not to take a risk, and see where you can go wrong. One is good in pointing out problems, another plans and prioritizes and tells you the kind of actions you need to take to make the idea successful. Then, the doers would be diligently spending time on putting everything together, and follow steps, no deviations; and then perhaps the executioner, would put it in the market and generate profit. Ideas are worth nothing unless it's being executed. But still you need an idea to be executed.


A company needs to be multidimensional in approaching both innovation and execution. Innovation and execution are like two wings of an eagle- you need both to thrive in an insanely competitively world where product and service life cycles are getting rapidly shortened. Ideas help in innovation, innovation helps in creating product and market, planning gives a roadmap for execution giving clear warnings where can the problem come, and then the strategy practitioners execute and go to market, the market gives feedback, the feedback helps in generating ideas. It is a healthy business life cycle.

The majority of companies today work more on the execution aspect because it is said that business is 70% execution. But that does not devalue the role of innovators. The general belief is that most ideas people are dreamers & at times get so carried away with their ideas that they forget practicalities. This is one of the reasons innovation is not valued in conventional organizations. The environment is changing, competition with new ideas are coming in the marketplace. Does innovation become a boardroom scenario, how come others are able to come up with these ideas, what is wrong with your organization? There’s no such one size fit all success formula for business success. The history of the world is the history of NEW IDEAS. Innovation makes you stand out, to lead long-term prosperity, and execution capability is the foundation to build the solid business performance.














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