Friday, August 9, 2019

The Magic Cycles of Breakthrough Innovation

Innovation is a management process, not just serendipitous magic. 

Innovation is the new way to do things. Breakthrough Innovation is disruptive and will change the business in many fields. You need new technology, new processes, new customers, new knowledge may be a new business model. Breakthrough innovation perhaps help to lift up the business to the next level of performance. However, the real challenge is to understand where and how to get the biggest effect. Innovation Management overall has very high failure rate, and the chance of breakthrough innovation success is even smaller. Because breakthrough innovation is often brand new to the world, and it is not something every company could accomplish. Here are three magic cycles of breakthrough innovation.

Customer needs and satisfaction cycle: Breakthrough innovation is, at the most of the time, a bottom-up process. It is driven by important customer and market needs. It could make a significant impact, even change the competitive business landscape. The “magic cycle of "Discovering the need - Experimenting - Testing" is to ensure that the result of innovation will have a great impact on customers and market places. In fact, it’s more critical to take a systematic customer-centric approach: Define the most compelling and unique approach to address customers’ needs; analyze the benefits per costs of that approach, and quantify why that chosen one is better than the competition and other alternatives. Breakthrough innovation can help the organization win competitive advantage by combining different choices about target markets, offerings, channels, and partnerships, and build barriers to entry.

Psychological cycle:
There is a full cycle of emotions behind innovation, such as dissatisfaction-to explore the new possibility, conflict - to stimulate creative energy, passion - to experiment, calm - to solve problems logically, persistence - to overcome many challenges. In some organizations, the initial "fear of uncertainty" morphed into the kind of low-level anxiety that stimulates creative change. In the innovation process, there’s friction to changes, the company executives’ nervousness stems from the fear of failure and to some extent, loss of control. But over the long haul, from the top down, people can manage a healthy psychological cycle and see the benefits brought by innovation. Creativity is risky, especially breakthrough innovation, and most companies want to minimize risk versus taking intelligent risks. But highly innovative organizations are bold to make breakthrough innovation happening, make more profit than those that weren't. Innovative workforce are robust and judicious in pushing down barriers to achieve the best possible effects. It’s critical to nurture a culture of creativity with risk tolerance, for enforcing a healthy emotional cycle, individuals and teams are rewarded for taking calculated risks to unleash their collective creativity.

Idea generation and implementation cycle: Breakthrough innovation often comes from the floor, not the ceiling. Innovation Management needs to manage a great cycle of "Creating ideas - Experimenting - Verifying - Implementing - Measuring." It’s important to  review the pros and cons, potential cause and effect to other areas, short and long-term financial implications and the overall impact on the company in order to manage innovation in a structural way. Breakthrough innovation is risky, it takes courage, strategy, methodology, and practice to make such as transformation. Innovation is not serendipity. It can be successful only if there is a credible, rational, and benevolent commitment from the top down to the bottom of the organization, and there is the opportunity for communication upward, attempts to implement substantial changes in cultural, processes, and structure. Breakthrough innovation requires a more thorough process to prototype, filter, test in a real world scenario.

Innovation is a management process, not just serendipitous magic. Breakthrough innovation is one of the most important concepts in innovation because it can be demonstrated the virtually all real business transformation or economic growth driven by disruptions. For cracking serendipity code to achieve digital innovation premium, it’s important to understand and manage these “magic cycles” behind the scene smoothly and bring excellent business results relentlessly.

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