Thursday, August 4, 2016

CIOs as Chief Innovation Officer: What’re your Perceptions and Actions to Rejuvenate Innovation

 Innovation is about progression. In any business, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. 

Innovation can happen everywhere - it is our gift as humans - a great deal of what defines us as humans actually. Innovation is about progress whether it's about new products, services, solutions, new sounds and music, the new way of reading and publishing, new ways of educating the future of the generation, etc. From a business perspective, innovation is the mechanism through which you grow and evolve something to something great (higher value-add or ever breakthrough) or something new or better based on a combination or modification of previous attributes/approaches. Businesses, especially the mature, large corporations and within that environment, innovations can range from small to game changers. Also, it is important to note that within the organizations, innovation is rarely an individual action; rather it is a team effort, often across multiple organizational silos. What are further perceptions and actions to rejuvenate innovation in a traditional organization?

Mind innovation gaps substantially: Different organizations have different strengths and capability to innovate, innovative skills and capabilities an organization always needs depend on the circumstances the business is in. At the stage of idea creation, to minding innovation gaps, the diverse team with cognitive differences is more successful and is always going to be more creative as it has more to draw on. The gap between the discovery, driving, and delivery driven management is critical and often leads to conflicts, deluding the transfer. Many companies form and grow on the basis of "idea creation," but then get bogged down when trying to "commercialize" those ideas, because it requires a different skill set, focus, and even a needed passion. If a company's focus swings too far to the commercialization side of the equation, then innovation suffers and vice-versa. Innovation comes with a risk of failure, usually not well tolerated in a market governed by risk-allergic mindset. Or, when business leaders, goes beyond short-term gain, take a calculated risk and make a long-term investment, organizations have a better opportunity to shift from surviving to thriving mode. Innovation is about moving forward. In any business, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. There is no standing still. Companies have to be prepared to lose some to gain more for the longer term.

Reward risk-taking to build a culture of innovation: In essence, innovation rejuvenation is truly about culture rejuvenation. Most of the innovative organizations are headed by innovative leaders with original ideas, who can see, understand and appreciate the merits of people who can think differently. The culture of innovation starts with a culture of participation because employee engagement in the innovation process increases participation. The failures should not be rewarded, but they should be understood and not penalized. And surely the risk-taking also should be supported - morally at least. It’s about rejuvenating a "culture of innovation" which incorporates multiple and diverse components. It doesn't mean you should reward "failure" as such; but to inspire the culture of innovation, you should rather reward taking risks, fail fast & forward, and learn from failures to innovate effectively.

Managing a healthy innovation portfolio by understanding the ^Depth + ^Breadth = ^Probability for innovation: Nowadays there is a digital convenience of being innovative. Lots of tools are available to help us think differently and communicate effectively, assess problems and come to solutions in novel ways. When looking at business/ organizations, the most powerful of these processes involves tapping the organization's ecosystem (people!) for the collective perspectives/insights of those who make up and know intimately their parts of the system. The innovation spectrum is also expanded, businesses need to have capabilities to manage both breakthrough innovations and incremental innovation well. Innovative ideas are one thing, execution is a whole different matter. The fact is that the business has tried to be innovative in some capacity. Products have consistently been designed to solve a problem, the best companies sometimes "create" problems that people didn't even know existed then solve them. Innovation is not only externally oriented (relative to markets, customers, consumers) but can also be focused on the operations side (within a firm as well as industry structure). The Depth & Breadth understanding of the digital ecosystem would help to connect nonlinear dots to a better probability for innovation.

Innovation, as an individual process or collective processes, helps us adapt, improve, grow and integrate. The art of innovation is that it involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel. Identification of the novel is only the beginning, the heavy lifting starts as a firm aligns resources and executes, and the science of innovation is to manage innovation lifecycle and executes in a systematic manner that provides sustained competitive advantage.


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