Thursday, March 12, 2015

How to Foster innovation and Manage Digital Disruption?

You cannot push forward innovation but have to pull the resources together for building a culture of innovation.

In order to survive and thrive, innovation is “must have,” not “nice to have” approach in running a business today. But for most organizations, innovation is just a big puzzle with many tangled concerns: Can innovation be planned? What are some of the ideas that were applied to innovative initiatives that you have underway or experienced, either as the driver or participant, that helped facilitate or impeded their success? What are some viable approaches to being innovative while addressing the constant budget squeeze? Is innovation management a paradox? Do you have such an abundant innovation pipeline? If yes, what are the important considerations for leaders or managers to focus on? If not, how can organizations recognize innovation? In either case, how can leaders or managers in organizations leveraging innovation on their digital transformation journey?

A good way to foster innovation is to first define what is meant by innovation: You have to define what you mean as different kinds of innovation might need different approaches. Although there are countless discussions on this, it’s still worth clarification. Is the company looking to add new features or capabilities to an existing product? Is it looking to build on skills and products where it is already successful? Or is it looking to build or create something entirely new, a new product category? People have different skills sets and the group that may be right for one of these tasks is not necessarily right for another one. So first determine what is desired then assign the right people to do it, and have the long-term strategy to build an innovation portfolio successfully.

Take the step-wise method to manage innovation driven by important customer & market needs and value creation: Although there are different drivers behind innovation. Tactically, more organizations focus on meeting important customer needs, instead of focusing simply on interesting research topics, helps to assure that the results of the work will have the positive impact for your clients, partners, end users, and the marketplace. For every initiative, you work closely with clients to articulate their important needs; define the most compelling and unique approach to addressing their needs; analyze the benefits per costs of that approach, and quantify why the chosen approach is better than the competition and alternatives. This four-step method—Needs, Approach, Benefit per Costs, helps organizations manage innovation in a more systematic way to improve innovation success rate.

The challenge is to provide the most desirable environment or to build the culture of innovation: Some innovative organizations provide “play time” to encourage creative thinking and experimenting. Surely it doesn't mean creativity is all about free thinking or wild thought without boundary, it’s more about giving free space to unleash talent potential via trust and self-discipline. People need some time to just fiddle around with ideas or new technologies. From our own personal experience that some of the best ideas occur when we are "playing" the problem, of course, you need to show results as well. So, employees should present what they are playing with to their peers for feedback. This not only makes the play more goal-directed, but the presentations can stimulate the creativity of others as well.

Recognize innovation champions and shape high-performing innovation teams: Each project is driven by a passionate advocate to advance the value creation process. Having a champion for each initiative is critical to success. For some highly innovative companies, there’s no champion, there’s no project. Champions build productive teams. The multidisciplinary, team-based approach they take taps into the collective genius of your organizations, your customers, your partners and the ecosystem, to bring the best collaborators and ideas together to delight customers. Measuring innovation is a challenging task as well, but it’s critical to ensure it is focused on delivering the highest business value.

Like many of other important business initiatives, innovation has to be managed via well-aligning talent people, robust, but not rigid processes, and the latest technology tools. However, you cannot push forward innovation but have to pull the resources together for building a culture of innovation, and you should not just hunt for the breakthrough or radical innovation only, but also have to manage those incremental and evolutionary innovations skillfully.


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