Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Innovation Best Practices vs. Next Practices

To be the innovators of tomorrow, people have to keep learning the new tricks, updating their mindsets, knowledge, methodology, and approaches.

The business practice is always a combination of people and how they are used to doing things. Digital is the age of innovation. Innovation is the process which can be classified scientifically and managed dynamically. Besides building a set of principles to follow, it’s also important to develop a set of innovation practices to scale up and amplify its effect. The point is that innovation is change, the overly rigid processes could stifle innovation and outdated practices perhaps fail innovation effort and decelerate the pace of innovation. So, best practices vs. Next practices, how to review and update them accordingly to unpuzzling the serendipity of innovation and improve the success rate of innovation management?

The best innovation practice has a certain value to product profitable innovation, but the next practice continues to emerge for innovating the management discipline: Innovation is a management process, not just serendipitous magic. More and more firms are learning and implementing best practices in innovation. Originally, all best practices were industry specific and evidence-based, meaning they were based on data. And practice is always a combination of people and how they are used to doing things. And innovation management can be categorized into idea generation and implementation processes. Innovation as a process can be standardized at a certain level, there is a recognizable core of approaches and activities that produce profitable innovation, and there are companies that use them efficiently. With effective tools or methodologies, the best practice can be used wisely and with the expertise to really add value or drive innovation. However, the very characteristic of innovation is about figuring out the new way to do things. When every business or function does exactly the same thing, and then innovation soon becomes the commodity. The practices that are "best" today are almost always not "best" in the future since practices, as well as technologies and markets, are constantly morphing under pressure from the waves of creative destruction that keep the business in innovation mode. Therefore, it is always critical to developing the next practices for both stimulating new ideas and optimizing the innovation process to reach the next level of maturity.

The best practice is more about setting principles and standards, and the next practice is about how to take tailored innovation approaches or apply better methodologies or the latest technologies: Not every innovative company uses every best practice. Not every authority agrees on every best practice. One size doesn't fit all. Markets change and shift, and for each company attempting to deal with these changes, there is a different path to follow. Interestingly, while people may disagree as to what best innovation practices are, they generally recognize poor innovation. Perhaps it is a better approach to strive for using good practice, good enough for a certain organization and for the specific situation and challenges that are faced and that actually requires different priorities or approaches as compared to others. Thus, the innovation best practices shouldn’t focus on making static or rigid processes, but about setting the principles and standard to achieve innovation management excellence via plasticity and flexibility. Keep the old quote in the mind to understand "one size doesn’t fit all": “if all you have been a hammer, you tend to hit everything as if it is a nail.

Organizations strive to adopt the "best practices" for innovation throughout their organization, they also need to explore the next practices for riding change curves: These practices might be different across organizations, across departments, divisions, and affiliates within an organization and can change over time. The key is 'context.' If the best practice you want to adopt is to be implemented in the same context, it could work. If the context is different, it is worth understanding how that difference could impact the so-called best practice. Learning from your own or others’ experience will never be as long as we know how to transfer it into our actual context. The real challenge is to understand where and how you can and should improve to get the biggest effect. In fact, best practices should change and evolve over time. With the increasing pace of organizational changes and digital disruptions, new innovation practices continue to be developed and there should always be an objective to become even better.

People or businesses who use today’s best practices are innovators right now. However, to be the innovator of tomorrow, they have to keep learning the new tricks, updating their mindsets, knowledge, methodology, and approaches. The “next practices” for innovation continue to emerge. That’s all innovation about: Think differently, see things differently, and do things differently, with a continuous learning mentality and updated methodologies.


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