Saturday, March 11, 2017

Leaping Innovation via Overcoming Roadblocks

Innovation is what leads to differentiation.

Digital is the age of innovation. From the management perspective, innovation is how to transform novel ideas to achieve its business value, and innovation is what leads to differentiation. Due to the hyper-complexity of modern businesses, innovation is essentially about reducing the unnecessary business complexity to tackle the complexities of the business dynamic. Innovation management has an overall very low success rate. So, what are the roadblocks to cause innovation failure, and how to overcome them in achieving the high-expected result from innovation management?

Innovation lip service: Nowadays, many people and organizations are talking about innovation, but very few practice creativity persistently and manage innovation effectively. People consciously or subconsciously protect their status quo which is the very obstacle to stifle innovation. There is innovation friction. Once people get into a routine at work, they typically do not like to hear about how things could be done differently to make the work more productive, fun, effective, error-free etc. It is likely that if you are creative, you will challenge the status quo as you break through the conventional wisdom and push toward the path few people take. This does have the effect of upsetting some people for whom the status provides a safe construct. People are naturally averse to appearing to make a fool of themselves, yet creativity demands consideration of the absurd when convention fails.

Poor innovation culture: To be truly creative means challenging conventional wisdom.  Innovation nowadays more often are driven by pulling the power of people, process, and technology, to not only make progressive or breakthrough products or services but also enforcing creative communication and culture. The silo thinking, bureaucratic business setting or inflexible management style, are often the root causes of poor innovation culture. People generally like creativity, but don't want ideas imposed upon them. If you have or develop the right culture, through change management or more sophisticated and comprehensive incentives and reward structures, if necessary, then everything else can be connected. And, if you get the culture -the collective mindset and attitude right then people feel they have the freedom to try and even to fail. Or people see things being implemented and making a difference, confidence increases, and they are inspired to be innovative.

Innovation novices: Innovation means to solve old or emergent problems in alternative ways. It takes practices to be fluent in innovation. Innovative leadership relates to multidimensional intelligence, empathy, idealism, process understanding, communication skills, cultural understanding, influence, and definitely - understanding what is wrong with the status quo. Creativity becomes significantly important in the age with the advanced technologies because the leaders of the future will not be mere automatons, but continue to discover, explore, and improve the surroundings. Looking at innovation from the perspective of developing business-wide innovation capabilities: Innovation has three phases: discovery of a problem or new idea, designing a prototype solution and the ultimate delivery of a commercially astute outcome. To improve innovation effectiveness, it is critical to identify and develop innovation practitioners who have high capabilities and potential to innovate.

Focus on operations in a low-risk territory and incremental enhancements only: Solely focus on quantifiable benefits or short-term result stifles innovation. Many disruptive opportunities are brought to life with new thinking on how to monetize them. A disruptive product or innovations is a breakthrough in the existing solutions, something that has a potential to disruptively challenge all existing solution. To disrupt you must hear the whispers of customers, contexts, inner worlds, outside worlds. The most important thing is to focus on end-user need gaps - even looking beyond your product category. It's about what's going in consumer's mind, that's the key.  You can create a roadmap for disruptive innovation because they are macro trends and patterns that give clues and there are unmet needs. These innovations can be defined as offering an initially lower performance while at the same time bringing some new attributes to the market.

Lack of high mature innovation management capability: Innovation is not serendipity, but a differentiated business capability. Innovation needs to lay out different structures, thinking and solutions to allow this to develop into its potential where organizations are combining all that is available to them in imaginative, advantageous ways. Innovation ecosystem or the methodological environment should cover the whole innovation process, from processes in managing ideas or idea handling systems to idea implementation and promotion. There are many components in an effective innovation environment or ecosystem. Each component by itself may not cause a good environment, but collectively they can and weave an innovation ecosystem including innovation leadership, innovation culture, innovation capability, practices, tools, recognition system measurements, risk approach, etc.

In the rapidly evolving businesses and economic systems, the creation of new innovations is very complex but critical for firms' survival and thriving, ultimately there are many roadblocks and hidden pitfalls on the way. The business growth is accelerated by innovation, and their innovation is enabled by their ability to orchestrate people, process, and technology, to catalyze and scale up with a new capacity to sustain business prosperity.


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