Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What are salt and spices in your innovation management practices

Building a consistently innovative company requires both fine-tune the organizational structure and culture that nurture new ideas,  add salt and spices, and is able to profitably execute on those ideas. 

Digital is the era of innovation. Talking about innovation is not new nowadays, everybody, every organization now is talking about innovation. But building a truly innovative organization takes guts, strategy, and implementation. Innovation happens when you change the game; you bring a different twist to what is currently established and perceived. Digital innovation has a broader spectrum and hybrid nature, it is the incremental improvement-evolutionary innovation- breakthrough innovation continuum. Every forward-thinking organization is eager to build a creative workplace, but being innovative is the state of mind. So, what are important elements to catalyze creativity? And what are salt and spices in innovation management practices?

The salt and spices in your innovation management practices:
Every idea has a potential to be an innovation, but it is very far away from being an innovation. The purpose is the salt you put on groups for making them become creative teams for achieving the common goals. The purpose of Innovation Management is also very simple: If you work hard, have a good idea, and deliver premium value to your customers, you will be rewarded. It takes strategy, disciplines, and practices to be fluent in innovation. Without a profit motive and a well-defined business goal, it doesn't work. Other spices of innovation management are how to build an inclusive and creative team for doing interdependent jobs instead of independent work, enforcing individual and collective creativity, accountability, and evaluation. Every team member should add some spices to innovation. Innovation explorers develop unconventional and disruptive solutions, and then, when ideas were fully developed and a prototype built, innovation builders or implementors would take over and worked on serial production and sustaining innovation to make products or services more reliable, easier to make, and cost-effective.

Energy is the spice in innovation management: Will your organizational environment radiate positive energy or produce negative vibe? Creativity in the "corporate" world has a lot to do with fostering a creative environment. The right kind of mind is the essential feature of real innovation. And collective mindsets shape the culture of the business. Innovation needs to become your business routine, you have to live it and breathe it every day, otherwise, your working environment will go stale and taste flavorless. You can feel creative tension when you sense the freedom to be creative, the harmony is achieved not via compliance only, but through idea sharing. Part of creating an organizational environment that facilitates creativity involves having the right dose of creative tension and healthy competition to spark innovation, but also paying attention to employee well-being and building individual emotional intelligence to generate more positive emotions and reducing unnecessary organizational pressures. Many organizations are not fertile ground for ideation, there is the negative vibe surrounding their working environment, silo thinking, bureaucracy, and internal politics all stifle innovation to the certain degree. People in those environments avoid taking risks and seldom learn from their mistakes; asking people to do something they are not equipped to do just frustrates them with more. In fact, when the working environment cannot radiate positive energy, they are often polluted by negative vibe.

Can your organization amplify innovation effect via enforcing collaboration in large scale: Innovation is a systematic process. There are a lot of things (both “hard” factors such as policy, process, performance, and “soft” factors such as culture, leadership, communication) that come with that, in order to make the digital innovation both implementable and sustainable. The latest digital technologies such as social computing make collaboration and sharing possible at large scale to amplify innovation effect. Innovations simply benefit from being developed in and subsequently commercialized in a more open ecosystem, because it makes the pie of creative ideas growing bigger. Creative collaboration via integrative diversity can overcome silos. The most creative digital workplace is the one where collaboration and sharing are the norms. An organization that has a lightweight process and collaborative culture which allow ideas to flow, get protected, channeled and nurtured will succeed more often than an organization that has the overly rigid process and functional silos. The least effective culture at fostering a digital workplace is traditional command and control environments.

It is really hard to build a consistently innovative company, it requires both fine-tune the organizational structure and culture that nurture new ideas and more creative talent, add salt and spices, and is able to profitably execute on those ideas. The challenge comes with determining how to fund, commercialize, foster, protect, and focus investments in innovation that could require distinctly different business environments to prosper.

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