Sunday, December 13, 2015

Monthly Innovation Brief - Connecting the Dots of Innovation Dec.

Creativity needs a problem, and a creative person needs a purpose.

Innovation is the light every organization is pursuing. Innovation takes the cycle of observing-questioning-connecting-networking-experimenting. From the management perspective, innovation is how to transform novel ideas to achieve its business value, due to the hyper-complexity of modern business, innovation is essentially about reducing the unnecessary business complexity to tackle the complexities of business dynamic. Here is a set of dot-connection of innovation management.

Connecting the Dots of Innovation

Breakthrough Innovation vs. Incremental Innovation: There are two types of Innovations: (a) Radical which may be classified as Breakthrough or Disruptive, and (b) Evolutionary which has two components - Incremental and Spiral. Breakthrough Innovation and Incremental Innovation are not separated items, but it's rather a continuous flow that it goes from innovations that break a market or create a new one to the simplest continuous improvement.

Innovation vs. Continuous Improvement: Innovation is the larger umbrella term that encompasses continuous improvement, innovation is also expanding its horizon, goes beyond products/services innovation, it could mean business model/process /culture/leadership innovation, as well. They are either the same or different in many ways.

Bottom Up Innovation vs. Top-Down Strategy: Digital organizations today face such a dilemma, on the one side; top-down strategy mapping is a logical step to ensuring smooth execution; on the other side, innovation takes freedom and flexibility, usually happens from bottom up. Consider a scenario, where an organization has performed the strategy mapping and made investment decisions for the budgetary period., and everyone knows this is what she/he needs to focus on and deliver, that's what his/her performance would be measured against. Now if someone sees an opportunity of innovation that doesn't directly map to his/her manager's objectives/scorecard for the year, chances are that the manager wouldn't cater to that idea; and the employee does not have motivations to innovate. So does strict top-down strategy mapping strangle bottom-up innovation?

Innovation vs. Standardization: Modern organizations have many hidden paradoxes, for example, customer satisfaction or employee satisfaction, which one comes first? Analytics or intuition, how to make a better decision? Here is another interesting dot connection debate: Standardization vs. Innovation, which one is more important?

Innovation vs. Complexity: Complexity is like energy. In the biosphere, for example, the "life potential" of a species is proportional to its complexity. Its fitness is proportional to its complexity. This is why the  biological evolution is equivalent to an increase in complexity because this means an increase in functionality, which, in turn, means the ability to better cope with the uncertainties of a constantly changing environment. However, simplicity is ultimate sophistication, does complexity drive or hinder innovation?

Innovation vs. Simplicity: Innovation is the light every forward-looking organization is pursuing now; however, very few companies can well articulate their innovation process. Effective innovation requires a suitable process as part of the wider holistic 'system' for innovation, encompassing other key aspects such as culture, leadership, and strategy, but how to follow the simplicity principle when managing innovation?

Innovation vs. Invention  Innovation comes from the Latin, "Innovate" - 'to change or alter things that already exist'. The invention, on the other hand, has its roots in the Latin word "Novare," 'to make new / create.' The difference between innovation and creativity is implementation. One of the good definitions of innovation is: "to transform the novel ideas into commercially successful products & achieving its business values.”

Innovation vs. Creativity is infused with an inner cohesion and comes from a vision of uniqueness. Creativity needs a problem, and a creative person needs a purpose; Innovation is to reinvent business, but not to reinvent the wheels. Innovation is about reinventing the business direction and purpose at any time. It defines strategy, profitability and relevance at any given time. If you do not, you become commoditized and just like so many others who offer the same product or service. Innovation allows one to stand out and above the rest.

Innovation vs. Change Management.  Innovation is value creation in a different way or to a different element of the business; there are both disruptive innovation and incremental innovation as well. So is innovation just another word for change; or does innovation management align with change management?

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