Friday, April 6, 2018

What Should be Blamed for Lack of Digital Innovation

Digital innovation is neither an oxymoron nor a serendipity, you have to manage it strategically and systematically to achieve the consistent business result.

Today, at the hyperconnected business ecosystem, innovation can happen anywhere, anytime, it expands both horizontally and vertically. Digital innovation today has much broader spectrum and greater impact on business success. However, innovation is still the serendipity for most of the organizations that fumble in the dark, hard to reach the innovation light. Statistically, innovation has the very low success rate. Who & what should be blamed for lack of innovation? And how to reach the state of innovation abundance?

Lack of systematic processes or having overly rigid processes stifles innovation: Innovation is about how to transform novel ideas to achieve the business values. Effective innovation management requires a suitable process as part of the wider holistic 'system.' The robust processes and tools that enable the entity to generate winning concepts and implement great ideas on the consistent basis, is the prerequisite for sustaining business advantage and growth. Lack of systematic processes or having overly rigid processes both should be blamed for stifling innovation. Organizations should ideally have a sustainable approach to innovation. A systematic innovation is a structured process and set of practical tools used to create or improve products/services/processes that deliver new value to customers or satisfy employees. The ideal innovation process management is to tap into everyone's skills and talents, break down silos or other typical impediments to cooperation, for keeping creativity flow smoothly. Often leadership should be blamed for lack of innovation. Because it’s the leadership responsibility to set goals for innovation, define innovation models, and clarify roles and responsibilities for people involved in innovation processes and in connection with the processes and models. Efficiency and short-term goal orientation often divert focus from innovation in general; and innovation, especially radical innovation will benefit in the long-range return on investment.

Lack of IT-driven digital Innovation: With overwhelming growth of data and often technology-led digital disruptions, Information & Technology becomes the most time-intense piece for solving innovation puzzles. Innovation is about figuring out the better ways to do things. IT is the custodian of solutions and data assets that can be applied in new and different ways to generate massive business value that far exceeds what other functions can incrementally bring to the table. Those who overlook IT as an innovation driver should be blamed for lack of innovation when you consider the robust new technology prospects and pervasive influence. Innovation can be categorized as the breakthrough innovation, sustainable innovation (better version of product/service) or efficiency innovation (process improvement). IT can drive all sort of innovation, be able to integrate all important business elements such as process, technology, and talent into the cohesive and differentiated innovation capability. Digital innovation has a broader spectrum and diverse taste. IT plays a crucial role in scaling up innovation practices, amplifying innovation effect, and glue up the innovation framework which enables the business to manage innovation in a structural way.

Lack of the culture of risk tolerance: Failure is part of innovation, thus, both risk appetite and attitude are important for achieving innovation success. Failure should not be an offense and actually if there are not a few failures, and then you are not trying hard enough. If risk appetite implies some ability to actually measure risk level, and then risk attitude is to determine the company’s attitude and strength to deal with risks appear. Many organizations are still managed through overly restricted hierarchical management discipline which discourages “Thinking differently.” Lack of the culture of learning and risk tolerance should be blamed for stifling innovation. The future is uncertain and no amount of quantitative analysis can accurately predict what harm or opportunity lies ahead. Some risks can be quantifiable; some can only be approximated. The good innovation leaders have the right dose of risk appetite and rational risk management skill. The job of management is to help when a failure happens to turn it around as a team. The logic for building an innovative culture is that you reward people for trying new actions and doubly reward them for successes. If you punish failure, you shut down innovation immediately.

Digital innovation is neither an oxymoron nor a serendipity, you have to manage it strategically and systematically to achieve the consistent business result. Instead of finger-pointing for lack of innovation, organizations need to groom their next gen of innovation leaders who are both thoughtful and courageous, with the right dose of innovation appetite and risk tolerance attitude, spend more resources on innovation investment, inspire innovative cultures, in order to reap the fruit for beating competitors and gaining the long-term business advantage.


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