Monday, February 24, 2020

Innovation Governance as a Continuum

Governance, risk, and compliance are not a single process, but a continuum via a collection of cohesive processes with other governance mechanisms such as roles and technologies. 

Innovation is a managed process of transforming the novel idea to achieve its business value. Innovation governance is to advocate, steer, and sustain innovation effort to achieve business value.

If innovation management is like the pedal to accelerate speed, and then innovation governance is the steering wheel to keep a straight line or take a turn at that velocity of innovation management. Innovation governance as a continuum is an important perspective to improve the innovation management success rate.

Governance needs to set a framework for innovation management: Innovation management is not just about generating fresh ideas, but rather the processes to take ideas to value. When there is an innovative idea; the governance mechanisms dictate how that idea is fostered from inception to retirement. Governance is to frame innovation management, it should orchestrate the change, not police the creativity, do it with trust and flexibility.

Statistically, innovation management has a considerably low percentage of success rate. There are both learning curves and barriers on the way. The “hard” issues to stifle innovation is that the systems, processes, or technology many organizations are using to capture innovation value are becoming inefficient in this rapidly changing world; or the organizational culture is too conventional to stimulate innovation. Thus, a well-defined innovation governance framework steers and sustains innovation to manage risks and maximize its business values systematically.

Innovativeness is a mindset, and that's where governance comes in: Governance is steering. It isn’t just about putting restrictions on what you can do, it is also about monitoring and knowing when things are not going to plan so that you can take appropriate actions at the right time. Sometimes governance "standards" can be taken too far and become their own bureaucracy. In that case, innovation would be stifled. If governance is deemed to stifle innovation, then it is wrongly implemented, or indeed wrongly understood.

Digital innovation has to connect the wider dots within the business ecosystem. Innovation governance is neither linear nor single dimension, the governance aspect and innovation don't immediately come together depending on the context in which innovation is used. It is critical in adopting a social-technical-ecological perspective of governance models, in order to improve innovation effectiveness and efficiency.

A good governance standard provides a common corporate "language" as well as work instructions: The problem with governance is that the people enforce governance normally have a frame of reference based on their own experiences and a view of the existing business capabilities. It is important to set rules for safeguarding the status quo, but not stifling innovation, provide a common language, set proper standards, appropriate business and use cases, etc, encourage cross-functional communication and collaboration, and develop the best and next practice to enforce innovation governance.

Innovation cannot be separated from a specific business purpose and in a broad context, governance is critical for meaningful innovation. A good governance standard helps to nurture a creative culture with the very characteristics such as strong vision and leadership, outward-looking rather than insular, willing to accept a degree of risk and experimentation, etc. Innovation governance is the best part of an innovation strategy that eliminates bureaucracy. Sound Governance is part of eliminating risk and doing the right thing.

Governance, risk, and compliance are not a single process, but a continuum via a collection of cohesive processes with other governance mechanisms such as roles and technologies. When governance is done properly, it actually is a great tool to facilitate innovation and improve innovation management maturity.


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