Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Innovation Curveball

Either for individuals or businesses, being innovative is a long-term endeavor via continuous practices.

Digital is the age of innovation. Organizations starve for creativity. Creativity is the potential which can be unlocked and innovation is the serendipity which can be unpuzzled. Innovation comes from different shapes and through different sources. The curveball implies particularly tough issues or big obstacles, named after equally tricky baseball pitch, to introduce something unexpected or require a quick reaction or correction. Innovation curveball is the reality, how to play it well?

Having learning curve awareness: Innovation is the most wanted changes. Having learning curve awareness means that innovation leaders need to master the psychological process behind changes. It takes a lot of effort and resource to make change happen. Therefore, it’s important to first understand how much change capability (people, process, and technology) is really required for the effort you are kicking off. An honest assessment of the lessons learned from previous innovation management projects could be a good place to start with. The logical assessment includes all necessary steps such as curve awareness, motivation, knowledge, capability, and anchoring changes. Innovation is change, but change is not always equal to innovation. Innovation perhaps has an even deeper curve than change, especially for radical or breakthrough innovation because the business often has to take bigger risks. Innovation involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel. Identification of the novel is only the beginning, the heavy lifting starts as a firm aligns resources and executes. Playing the innovation curveball skillfully not only takes passion but also needs the well-set process and hard work to master it and improve the innovation success rate.

Redefining, reinventing, and re-innovating one’s commitment to creativity is key: Innovation, as an individual process or a collective process help us adapt, improve, grow, and integrate. The practical application of creativity is essentially about problem-solving at various levels, and to solve a problem implies a wish to make something, or everything better. An innovator has an obligation to be open, to share and question. To understand why you have to go against the status quo is then going to allow you to know if it is necessary to go on or not, to challenge existing concepts, and to bring the new perspective, fresh idea or insight, and make a commitment to creativity. Being innovative is a state of mind, come out from within, they are not only original but self-satisfying to the initiator. An innovator has an obligation to be authentic; never take decisions against his/her own ideological and aesthetic principles. Lots of tools are available to help people think different, practice innovation curveball, assess problems and come to solutions in novel ways, ultimately influence people to become more creative.

Failures can be considered part of the innovation curveball: Innovation failure is usually defined as not meeting the customer’s expectation, fear to take calculated risks for leading radical innovation. Or take too much risk that causes the mighty fall. The balancing act is to have enough calculated failure and build an environment that encourages learning from failure quickly and cost-effectively, without having failures that are too frequent or too expensive. Learning occurs through the experience of failing, and don’t waste the valuable lessons from it. Failure is often viewed as falling backward instead of leaning forward. When someone fails, try to ask them what they learned instead of focusing on what didn't work or chastising them for overlooking something or making a mistake. At the age of innovation, failure is seen as a fruit full of experience, failure is very much an intrinsic part of innovating. The point is to avoid the repetitive mistakes and focus on lessons learned from failures. Managing failure well is a great skill for playing the innovation curveball well and it’s an integral part of innovation management.

If innovation doesn't create value, it's not innovation. Innovation is the mechanism through which you grow and evolve something to something better (higher value-add) or something new. Either for individuals or businesses, being innovative is a long-term endeavor via continuous practices. It must be cultivated. One of the aspects of creativity is the environment where individuals or groups need to generate creative results regularly and frequently.


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