Sunday, November 3, 2019

Three Types of Innovation Agents

The success of innovation management is never an accident, it’s a holistic management process with an iterative thought-out planning and execution continuum.

Digital is the age of innovation, but many organizations do not seem to be satisfied with the current circumstances because there are not enough innovations happening in their businesses to disrupt outdated mindsets, systems, processes, cultures, business models, or practices. Thus, it requires inspiring and energetic innovation agents to catalyze corporate culture for renewing creative energy, broadening innovation spectrum and amplifying innovation effect.

Cognitive innovation agent: Either individually or collectively, being innovative is less about thinking alike, more about thinking differently. It means you often need to break down silo thinking and challenge the status quo. Cognitive gaps cause innovation gaps which disconnect many things that are supposed to be interconnected, it becomes a barrier for connecting the dots to stimulate creativity. Therefore cognitive innovation agents are in demand to bridge the multitude of thinking gaps and connect wider dots to ignite creativity.

Cognition is a perception, sensation, insight, and fundamentally, it’s the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thoughts, experiences, and senses. To close cognitive gaps and stimulate creativity, the mind needs to be open enough to embrace other minds’ perception, understand things via different angles, identify the leverage points of the system and connect the wider dots, in an attempt to come up with creative ideas and catalyze the culture of creativity.

Creativity starts with the biological basis of creativity; then the development of those characteristics during maturation, then the biological and social support of those traits. As a cognitive innovation agent, you are able to spot innovators who have cognitive differences, capabilities, and experiences in multiple dimensions, to build high-innovative team composed of people who can generate lots of original ideas, and it's equally important to have people who can navigate innovation strategy, implement these ideas, and evaluate innovation performance.

Motivational innovation agent: Just like insects play a crucial role in pollinating plants in the garden, one of the drivers of creativity is cross-fertilization and pollination of ideas. Thus, organizations should appreciate their motivational innovation agents because they can play a critical role in cross-pollinating fresh ideas and nurturing a creative working environment to lift up the business out of the stagnation and leap the company toward the next level of the growth cycle.

True innovation always spurs certain disruptions otherwise it is not innovation. You can't build trust or motivate effectively if you don't engage with people. Let people explore where their energy is and then, align the energy to work at hand, and motivate them to think and do things innovatively. Motivational leadership is a means toward reconciling all different factors toward unifying and driving goals of innovation management. Proactively listen to customers’ needs and gain a deep understanding of the motivational construct of customers through empathy. Employees should be encouraged to think out of the box, go beyond their defined roles and demonstrate their intellectual curiosity, and they are motivated to explore innovative ways to do things.

Collaborative innovation agent: Collaboration is a fundamental part of what ultimately fueled the inspiration, imagination and innovation. Highly innovative organizations have closer connections between functions and all functions and levels are more intimately involved with the market and each other on a regular basis, to tap diverse resources and recognize merit and ideas as well as to develop a flexible, inclusive, and innovative working environment.

Collaborative innovation agents are in demand to facilitate social collaboration and digital conversations that galvanize inspiration and gain traction on a powerful theme of renewal and growth. There is more flow of creative ideas, the more is happening, the pie gets bigger. Innovations simply benefit from being developed in, and subsequently commercialized in a more open ecosystem.

Collaborative innovation agents can connect wider dots - the key resources/assets in their vicinity and context to the information and resource-rich hub or clusters across the business ecosystem for sowing innovation seeds and reaping the business benefits. An innovation ecosystem should fully cover a wide enough direction so that companies can operate within ecosystems to deliver innovative business solutions consistently and continually.

Innovation is a tough journey which involves luck, trial, experimentation, research, and practices by using structured methods, tools, reviews, systematic analysis, or debugging. Therefore, different types of innovation agents play a significant role in integrating all critical elements such as people, strategy, process, tools, and culture, etc, into differentiated business competency. Overall speaking, the success of innovation management is never an accident, it’s a holistic management process with an iterative thought-out planning and execution continuum.


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