Saturday, August 18, 2018

Five Practices to Enforce Enterprise Innovation and Change

Innovation has to result in something which leads us to a better state than where we are today.

In the rapidly evolving businesses and economic systems, the creation of new innovations is very complex but critical for firms' survival and thriving. The essence of innovation is made of trying the new combination of known things to create new stuff and figure out the better way to do things. Organizations should develop a healthy working environment to encourage idea sharing, enable cross-functional communication, and take a scientific approach to crack innovation serendipity code for achieving digital innovation premium. Here are five digital practices to enforce enterprise innovation and change.

Deep listening practices: The digital era is the age of people-centric innovation. That means you have to listen to their feedback, involve them in both idea generation and process implementation, to gain insight and empathy. This is particularly important for managers. Because when you are in a position of authority, you have lots of opportunities to tell and lots of leeway in how to do the telling. But innovation as a management process does not start with “HOW,” but often it needs to figure out “WHY” first. Thus, for them, the message is about listening with empathy! If you do not listen, you will lose the goodwill of collaboration. Talking and actively listening to one another also creates excitement which propels good ideas to be formed. Communication has occurred when the message is received and understood. Listening and communicating are also critical to deal with conflicts or even constructively advocate the fresh point of view or build the trustful business relationship which will lubricate the business processes to further enforce innovation effectiveness.

Team inception practices: Most of the organizations today are process and control driven, and management puts emphasis on compliance with the result people forget to think freely. However, from driving innovation from inception to fruition, it’s important to develop a working environment in which people are encouraged to think independently, share the fresh viewpoint, harness collective or external collaboration, and get teams off on the right foot. Businesses can access the maximum number of potentially good ideas for building new innovative products, services, business models or solutions. Innovation leaders should cultivate an open nature of the business, break down the multilayer of business silos such as silo mentality, silo information or silo processes to build innovation capacity. Instead of being rigidly grouped around a specific function or team, the hyperconnected digital ecosystems draw together mutually supportive companies from multiple industries that collectively seek to create differentiated ideas and achieve innovation fruition that they could not reach alone.

Dynamic facilitation practices: Fundamentally, innovation is about figuring out the better way to do things. Thus, from a management perspective, you have to give up some control. It’s about how to strike the right balance of creating and standardizing. Innovation is change, change is a challenge. If you try to turn it into an obligation, you will cause an equal and opposite reaction. Compared to nimble startups, many well-established organizations are struggling with innovation because of overly rigid business processes, legacy technologies, inflexible management disciplines, or command-control management styles, etc. But to rejuvenate the culture of creativity, it’s important for innovation management to adopt the coach or facilitation style, apply dynamic facilitation practices to build high performing and creative teams, build both internal and external beliefs around how the business is a movement for business enablement and improvement. It takes time and generations of changes within a company to practice and build innovation as the business competency.

Feed-forward practices: Either for improvement or innovation, feedback is always about how to improve performance so it’s always about the future. Feedback is not limited and static as opposed to expansive and dynamic. If you want to create a great future for the organization, the team needs to be responsive to feedback. Feedback does not focus on the past - it tells you what is happening so that you can adapt. Feedback needs to be continuous, as close to real time as possible. Feedback helps to not only to act but aids to feedforward for either managing change or innovation performance. Eventually, feedback should always be genuinely proper, precise, and substantive, it is a solution to the problem of cluelessness. Thus, feedback-feedforward practices are important to improve innovation effectiveness and achieve fruitful business results.

"Every individual as a stakeholder” practices: Digital organizations are flatter and hyperconnected; It can approach the flow zone when the positions in its hierarchy have clear and accountable tasks and enforce “every individual as a stakeholder” practices. Lack of accountability is often one of the biggest obstacles to getting things done, or cause change inertia. Digital organizations can close the accountability gap through open door listening, cross-functional communication & collaboration, transparency, and empathy. It covers innovation management, knowledge, and technology transfer or entrepreneurship, Thus, it drives the culture of innovation. When digital leaders are equipped with the ownership mentality, they can run businesses boldly and provide the digital leadership style to inject enthusiasm, which is infectious and spurs the concept forward. The challenge is to set the digital principles, encourage self-management, enforce accountability and adapt to changes depending on the company’s ambition and situation.

Innovation has to result in something which leads us to a better state than where we are today. There is no “one size fits all” success formula for innovation management success. Demystifying innovation takes experiments and practices. Each organization has to define its compelling and unique approach or a mix of different approaches to address the needs and tailor their own circumstances to improve the success rate of innovation.


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