Thursday, October 11, 2018

Five Roadblocks Enlarge Innovation Gaps

Today’s business growth is accelerated by innovation, and their innovation is enabled by their ability to create, manage and transform fresh ideas to achieve business value.

In the rapidly evolving businesses and economic systems, innovation in the digital era is coming at seemly much faster pace, it is critical for firms' survival and thriving. Innovation management also becomes very complex, actually many think that digitalization enlarges thinking and innovation gaps because different individuals, functions, and organizations evolve change and ride learning curve with varying speed. Nowadays, innovation is perhaps the only way of applying creativity systematically in real life and running the business to win over competitions. Here are five roadblocks enlarge innovation gaps.

Silo mentality: Though functional silo is perhaps still necessary to improve the certain level of organizational efficiency. Silo mentality is a common challenge for lots of organizations to run the hyperconnected, interdependent and highly innovative business. Because digital means idea flow and business flow. innovation is the multi-disciplinary effort to transform novel ideas to achieve the business value. However, silos are the method of containment and storage, bounded group and insular tribes are evidence of silos. Many traditional organizations are still managed through overly restricted hierarchical management discipline which “rewards” compliance, but discourages “thinking differently.” They put too much focus on fixing and maintenance to keep the wheel spinning, without doing enough for innovation. To managing innovation structurally, it’s important to digitally connect key resources and assets in their vicinity and context to the resource-rich innovation hubs and clusters across the business ecosystem. By doing that, you can create the collegiality and “shared context for learning,” getting better opportunities to connect the dots for sparking creativity and leverage varying resources to manage innovation effectively. Thus, silos are the opposite spectrum of integrative diversity and limit the organization's innovation potential.

Rigid polarity: In the industrial world with silo and knowledge scarcity, the majority of people were used to binary thinking with rigid polarity, take the side without deep thinking. In their world, the things are either good or bad, the answers are either yes or no; the colors are either black or white; the people are either friend or enemy, there is no middle ground. However, the emerging digital world is hyperconnected, inter-dependent, and multipolar. In fact, the extreme or binary thinking of only embracing the opposite sides and take the two-dimensional lenses to perceive the multi-facet world can limit your view to think creatively and make sound judgments. In a phenomenon known as group polarization (the group of people more often “think the same,”), deliberation can intensify people’s attitudes, leading to more extreme decisions. Being innovative means being open to see the commonality even at the seemly “polar opposite” viewpoint. Running a hybrid digital organization is about how to balance change and stability; innovation and standardization; existing structure and emerging digital platforms and tools. Innovation is simply about mixing something old with new, and developing a better way to do things.

: Digital organizations are living organisms on their own, different from the sum of its parts. The talented people with digital fit is less about thinking alike, more about thinking differently, to spark creativity and fill blind spots in decision-making. Homogeneous thinking limits the organization's creativity and innovation. “Diversity in thought’ is the gold nugget to be found in sparking creativity. Because good ideas are multi-dimensional, they take roots in unsuspected places and they evolve with time and by unexpected connections. Therefore, a simple way initially to improve innovation in almost any organization is to simply broaden the audience, or expand the collective insight to overcome challenges. Generally speaking, the heterogeneous team with the cognitive difference is more innovative than the homogeneous group setting. A highly diverse group almost always accelerates innovation dramatically as well as spurs general creativity.

Change inertia: At the heart of innovation is about change. It is no surprise that there is change inertia, a lot of people resist changes as it takes them outside their comfort zone which generally gives a negative feeling. Fear is one of the causes of innovation inertia. Creativity is inherently risky because it is new and different. People tend to be "risk averse." To diagnose the problem at the mindset level, the fixed mind usually won’t allow a person to think beyond a point or stop people from continuous learning, these mindsets can be described as defensive, resist, or reject anything that affects cozy comfort zone. From an innovation management perspective, look at resistance as a source of energy and where there is energy, there is still passion and potential. People with change inertia cling to the status quo and blame those who challenge it. Thus, one of the important factors of innovation management is to create the right business environment that encourages creativity and tolerate risk-taking, you must allow room for failure.

Unhealthy competition: Healthy competitions actually stimulate innovation. If we have two or more ideas, we have competition because of those ideas. Without competition, there would be no innovation. Over time things change, we humans are developing and growing, competition and choice are part of that process. However, unhealthy competition will damage the spirit of innovation. People competing not based on their talent or strength, but through unprofessional ways, will deeply hurt the business and society.  Fierce competition may also result in a "wick” or evil-doing. It can create unhealthy rivalries that result in workers resenting one another. Knowledge is the base of innovation. We all have talents each on our own, without negative competition, we would be able to use our talents to grow innovation fruits. Try to increase your knowledge and to improve yourself every day, to increase your capabilities and skills in order to join a collaborative process with other stakeholders and do more with innovation.

Today’s business growth is accelerated by innovation, and their innovation is enabled by their ability to create, manage and transform fresh ideas to achieve business value. Digital organizations as the information hub can become the hotbed to nurture and incubate great ideas, to design robust, but not overly rigid processes for minding gaps and overcome obstacles to improve the innovation success rate.


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