Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Tao of Developing the Scale of Innovativeness

 “The Tao of Sage is work without effort.” - Lao Tzu

Innovation is what leads to differentiation. It is largely due to the fact that innovation in the digital dynamic has become increasingly complex in nature and expands its horizon for impact. It doesn’t mean though innovation management should always be complicated. There are many ways to differentiate and, therefore, there are many ways to pursue innovation. How to apply the principles of Tao to develop the scale of innovativeness?

The highest excellence is like (that of) water.” ― Lao Tzu: Digital fluidity enables free thinking and intuition. We live in the digital era, it requires that we move from mindset to mind flow, from fixed mind to growth mind. It is important o keep mind flow, release positive energy, out of this comes a beautiful thing, the freedom of choices and the plenty seeds of creativity. On the business navigation dimension, for cracking serendipity code to achieve digital innovation premium, organizations should build a healthy working environment to encourage brainstorming and idea flow. To continuously innovate within organizations, individuals and groups need to connect and communicate more openly, easily and effectively. One of the real challenges to innovation management is how to accelerate idea validation and streamline innovation process to achieve the highest innovation excellence. It is important to build scalable idea management which means breaking down silos to keep ideas flow, sharing and managing ideas throughout the enterprise. At the end of the day, what you want is companies that are capable of mobilizing all the ideas, experiences, capacities of everyone in the company and partners to adapt to ever-changing challenges. It’s also important to set prioritization, select the ideas which can have a better opportunity to implement and maximize business value and build a competitive advantage.

“Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.” ― Lao Tzu: Creativity flourishes in solitude. With quietness, you can hear your thoughts, listen to your inner voice, you can reach deep within yourself, you can stay focus. However, today’s individuals or companies are so easy to get distracted, very often say yes to all the initiatives, with the consequence of getting lost or lack of focus. They simply spend too little time on creative activities or not doing enough for innovation. Good ideas nearly never emerge spontaneously. They need to seed and mature. Be fair to say, not every creative person is a “solitude genius.” Most good ideas emerge from interactions, not single individuals. Thus, both solitude and participation are important, obviously, they have to come at a different time. Finding the balance is key. Communication, collaboration, and coordination are necessities for keeping ideas flow and practicing good idea management. At the organizational level, innovation leaders need to define the vision, discover the blind spots, identify unknowns, bridge gaps, and ensure the organization will stay focusing on building their innovation competency.

"The soft overcomes the hard the weak the strong.” ― Lao Tzu: Beside hard processes, leadership, communication, and culture, etc, are all critical soft elements to decide the success of innovations. People have to be given the opportunity to be creative, they have to become empowered. Surely empowerment doesn’t mean to make people cozy or just softening their words. It is important to provide the intellectual challenge, to stimulate multidimensional thinking, encourage creative problem-solving, tolerate calculated risks, Culture is soft, but it's one of the most critical success factors to innovation. Part of creating an organizational environment that facilitates innovation involves paying attention to employee wellbeing and building individual emotional resilience to generate more positive emotions, discourage negative emotions or unhealthy competitions, and reducing unnecessary organizational pressures for managing innovation effortlessly. Leadership is soft, but also crucial. Innovation leaders need to have good critical thinking skills, the high level of adaptability, excellent communication and engagement skills to leverage the crucial "soft touch" for managing innovation effortlessly.

Consider digital organization as the self-organized but interlaced and hyper-connected ecosystem, there is a paradigm shift that is taking place in generating innovation and building a scalable innovation environment or innovation ecosystem. For many, the ecosystems have evolved without manipulation. The digital organization of the future is designed openly for anyone with ideas on how human organizations ought to be contrived in the “VUCA” digital new normal, and it simply follows the Tao principles to develop the scale of innovativeness.


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