Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Digital Master Holiday Intense Tuning Ch VI: Three Characteristics of Digital Innovation

The essence of innovation is made of trying new combinations of known things.

Generally speaking, innovation is to transform novel ideas and achieve its business value. Why is innovation more important in the digital era whereas information is abundant and technology is more advanced? Because innovation is the core activity of human evolution to changing the environment to reach high performance. And at the business scope, innovation is also expanding its scope and flexing its muscles, goes beyond creating the new things, it has enriched context, such as business model innovation, process innovation, management innovation, communication innovation, culture innovation etc. And innovation management is both art and science. Here are the characteristics of digital Innovation.

Variety: The essence of innovation is made of trying new combinations of known things. It's the essence of evolution. Each human being is a potential innovation by definition as you won't find two humans that are exactly the same. We are all new combinations of the known. Focusing on digital variety will force you to confront new ideas. Organically, organizations do not embrace change nor do they embrace new ideas or new people. In fact, the lack of variety of PoVs makes organizations non-optimal. Focusing on diversity will force you to confront new ideas, new materials and possibly embrace a new concept that you may have never imagined. IT helps one look at thing from a multiplicity; fundamentally allow us to glimpse how interesting to be a human; as an individual, or as a social entity; professionally, it broadens our vision to see the possibility with a variety of perspectives. Once the superior ideas of a truly diverse work culture have surfaced, a unanimous decision is necessary to bring the project forward. So digital variety and workforce diversity are no long wallflowers for decoration, but a switch to turn on the creativity light bulb.

Collaboration: Digital hyper-connectivity can foster innovation through broader scope collaboration. In other words, it's important to digitally connect key resources/assets in their vicinity/context to the resource-rich innovation hubs/clusters across the business ecosystem. In doing so, you can create the collegiality and "shared context for learning." Cross-functional or even cross-industrial collaboration would also add that nonlinear thinking and tangential thinking provide more opportunity for innovation than linear thinking. That, in turn, should lead to "inspirations" that will further fuel more collaboration in innovative projects and enterprises nascent to their communities/environments. In addition, innovation must be a multi-disciplinary effort. The innovation collaboration teams embraced multiple disciplines, and understand how systems work, and this yielded competitive advantage. Furthermore, at the digital age, the crowd-sourcing or brainstorming is happening in real time with people and plays spontaneous networks of human and business operational concerns, to co-create ideas and overcome significant challenges.

Complexity: The blurring border of the digital organization and its business ecosystem make the world hyper-connected, but also over-complex. Organizations today can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. It is largely due to the fact that innovation in the digital dynamic has become increasingly complex in nature. Innovation needs to lay out different mindsets, structures, processes, capabilities to unleash its potential. The complexity can be good or bad for you depending on your strategy. Complexity Management is the methodology to minimize value-destroying complexity and efficiently control value-adding complexity in a cross-functional approach. Usually, innovation either through need seeker or technology driver is the key factors to weave such complexity in order. Therefore, the certain level of complexity is a foundation to spark the next level of innovation; and one of the very goals for innovation is to simplify the old way to do things, or to manage the complexity in an optimal manner.

Innovation is a systematic way of applying creativity in the real life and business, in general, innovation is a discipline. And an innovation ecosystem should fully cover a wide enough directions. Innovation Management does require not just interdisciplinary understanding to connect the dots and see what’s possible, but also, technical expertise to create the disruption, focus on unleashing business potential and growth prosperity.


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