Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Riding Above Innovation Curves to Reach the New Horizon of Digitalization?

A highly innovative organization is to create organizations where creativity is a significant part of business culture and innovation has been managed masterfully.

The definition of innovation is just so simple, to gain benefit by doing something different. The flashes of inspiration we now see in retrospect as groundbreaking inventions or innovations were driven by people not only far-sighted but determined to make their ideas succeed. At the organizational level, having innovation curve awareness means that innovation leaders need to understand that working in an innovation garden not only takes passion but also needs the process and hard work to rise above the learning curve by figuring out many “Hows,” in order to improve innovation success rate and reach the new horizon of digitalization.

How to optimize innovation process to enforce collaboration and increase speed: In a basic view, innovation is a process and every process needs to be managed. Different types of innovation should be managed via tailored management processes. The main challenge organizations face when attempting to digitize and innovate is a cohesive management discipline with the tailored methodology in a consistent manner through which they can implement innovations and develop ideas into fruition. The main barriers to innovation are silos, rigidity, inflexibility, static process, or bureaucracy, etc. Therefore, to ride innovation curves, it’s important to keep optimizing innovation processes by breaking down those structural or management obstacles and enforcing cross-functional communication and collaboration. Because a corporation needs processes and culture to sustain cross-boundary engagement to discover external ideas, as well as interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise to manage those ideas to achieve business values. However, unlike many other types of business initiatives, the process of planned innovation shouldn’t be too rigid, the chaos to some extent is necessary for sparking fresh ideas and flexibility is important to make proper adjustments for improving innovation performance. It’s also critical to cultivate a culture which inspires creativity and motivated to accept external ideas and rapidly integrate them into innovative internal ideas. Planning and optimizing are important, you can’t imagine a successful innovation process without its continuous improvement.

How to manage innovation in a structural way? Applying discipline to innovation is to figure out how to manage innovation in a structural way. There are quite a few important elements such as strategy, people, process, tools, and culture, etc, in innovation management. Missing any of them will severely decrease innovation effectiveness and influence the sustainability of an intentional innovation effort. Taking a structural approach with all key elements will improve systematic thinking and the consistency of the innovation results by an order of magnitude. Due to the complexity of modern businesses, within the organizations, innovation nowadays is rarely an individual action; rather, it is a team effort, often across multiple functional silos or even break down the company, geographical or industry boundaries. It’s important to manage innovation systematically via a good alignment of great innovators, disruptive technologies, and rigorous but not overly rigid processes. An innovation framework is a great tool in managing innovation by integrating all critical innovation elements, deploying a range of different management practices, technologies, processes, and structural solutions.

How to scale innovation by managing cost, time and risk skillfully: Innovation is the means to end, the end is how to achieve business value. Thus, riding above innovation curves also means how to manage cost, time and risk skillfully in order to achieve the high return-on-investment business results. More specifically, innovation management needs to make an objective assessment because how well the organization manages innovation is based on varying factors such as how effective for the allocation of resources; how efficient of the innovation process or lack thereof; how fast they can make decisions as well as deliver the result; how much risk they can afford to take and how big is the innovation impact, etc. Every process, every expenditure of time, talent, money, or energy and every assignment of resources should directly relate back to the “Why.” In essence, innovation management is about how to manage people, assets, time, resources, and risks to achieve high-performance business goals and unleash organizational potential by managing and scaling up innovation skillfully.

It takes time to ride the innovation curve. But it is particularly important for building innovation as the differentiated business competency, scale innovation effort, and accelerate innovation speed. A highly innovative organization is to create organizations where creativity is a significant part of business culture and innovation has been managed masterfully to achieve superior business value or improve customer satisfaction.


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