Monday, October 30, 2017

How to Inject Creativity in Digital Transformation

It takes strategy, discipline, and daily practices to flex your “creativity muscle.”

Digital disruptions are inevitable, and digital transformation is unstoppable. Organizations shouldn’t just respond to them in a reactive way. They have to be proactive, informative and innovative. To make the journey more fun and engaging, it needs to inject the right dose of creativity. And test for how 'creative' or accepting of 'creativity a company is by asking insightful questions.

How does learning occur for enforcing innovation? Digital innovation is the transdisciplinary approach which involves applied science (engineering), art (design), cognition (psychology), social norm (culture) and group behavior (Sociology). It evolves a lot of learning and interdisciplinary understanding. Transdisciplinary knowledge and understanding are critical to stimulating more innovation of the disruptive type. Learning is a process and everyone has an enormous capacity to learn. The challenge is to move from the individual to system level. Learning occurs through the experience of failing, and don’t waste the valuable lessons from it. Learning becomes knowledge builder and we can define learning through the information it absorbs and the capability it builds. If you take knowledge from one context and bring it over into a new context you have knowledge or technology transfer innovation. Digital learning is also multidimensional, dynamic, interactive, informal and integrated. It is important to cultivate the learning culture that has awareness and understanding the importance of learning in order to build a high-innovative and high-mature digital organization.

How is the success of innovation defined? Innovation often has a lot to do with external circumstances, often people tend to focus on internal circumstances. But just because innovation is greatly influenced by external circumstances doesn't mean the innovation system of the organization is or should be unstructured. Thus, assessing innovation capability of any organization requires a systematic approach. And innovation success needs to be defined with the tangible value it brings to the business and the level of impact it could make. To manage innovation in a structural way, you need to frame the creative processes and leverage limited resources to keep focus, set time limits, apply varying thinking techniques for managing innovation portfolios in a more productive and sustainable way. The robust processes and tools that enable an entity to generate winning concepts on the consistent basis, is the prerequisite for sustaining advantage and growth. Compared to nimble startups, many well-established organizations are struggling with innovation, due to the legacy technologies or processes, silo thinking, change inertia, or rigid hierarchy. Thus, those organizations need to both assess change (innovation is the most desired change) readiness and define innovation success, for making a leap of the organization to the next level of business growth and maturity.

And how is innovation failure defined? Success and failure are only steps away. The is particularly true for managing innovation. Innovation has a very high failure rate, and failure is part of innovation. Innovation comes with a risk of failure, usually not well tolerated in risk avoidance mind, protecting the interests of short-term benefit. Innovation is about discovering an alternative way to solve either old or emergent problem. Innovation failure is usually defined as not meeting customer’s expectation, fear to take calculated risks for leading radical innovation. Or take too much risk to mighty fall. Most companies fail at innovation in the journey of digital transformation, also because they have no clear process, nor understand the linkage required to work horizontally across departments, or lack of a holistic approach to managing innovation. The overly rigid processes or too ‘pushy’ goals will also stifle innovation. Failure is often viewed as falling backward instead of leaning forward. When someone fails, try asking them what they learned instead of focusing on what didn't work or chastising them for overlooking something or making a mistake. Managing failure well is an important and integral part of innovation management.

It takes strategy, discipline, and daily practices to flex your “creativity muscle.” Innovation has to become your business routine, corporate culture to renew creativity energy, and it needs to inject creativity into digital transformation for making the journey adventurous and take the path less traveled.


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