Saturday, February 29, 2020

Innovation Leapfrog on the Leap Day

Digital leaders today need to understand the tide, wave, and the ripple effect of an evolving digital organization, proactively shape the digital mindset, optimize processes, and make the leap of innovation.

In the rapidly evolving businesses and economic systems with “VUCA” digital new normal, innovation is the specific phenomenon and strategic imperative of the knowledge-based economy. Innovation management is complex but critical for firms' survival and thriving.

In reality, the evolution of innovation only exists in an open environment or the ecosystem that takes advantage of all sources of creativity in a more open way and makes a leap of innovation management to the next level of maturity.

Inspire breakthrough ideas or creative solutions: We live in the exponential information era in which knowledge is only clicking away. Businesses today face fiery competition and rapid digital shift either technologically or economically. Innovation needs to layout different thought processes, structures, and solutions to develop in its potential in which organizations are combining all that is available to them in imaginative and advantageous ways for building unique business competency.

Fundamentally running a business is an iterative problem-solving continuum. Being creative is about how to solve problems intelligently and come up with elegant solutions. In practice, the ability to innovate is ultimately dictated by the depth of understanding of the problem or issue to be resolved. It takes courage to get out of the conventional thinking box, broaden thoughts and connect wider dots for coming up with alternative solutions to tough problems. It leads to new opportunities because they challenge us to address something that is not working before and keep inspiring breakthrough ideas and pursue radical innovation.

Innovation has a very low success rate. Sometimes breakthrough ideas or creative solutions are rarely or never logical in foresight, but they will look logical in hindsight. Most companies fail at innovation execution because they neither have clear processes nor understand the linkage required to work horizontally or lack of a holistic approach to managing innovation for solving problems systematically. It is important to apply creativity in a recursive way to systematic processes for both problem identification and problem-solving. It is critical to set principles and practices including methods that cover the process from the problem's choice till commercialization.

Leap IT-enabled innovation: Often innovation happens at the intersection of people and information technology. It’s a natural evolution as most innovation initiatives involve IT. In fact, IT is the super glue to integrate people, processes, and technologies into unique innovation competency and integrating policies, programs, and structures for managing a balanced innovation portfolio, with the mixed bag of incremental innovation and breakthrough innovation.

Digital innovation has a broader spectrum and diverse taste. IT plays a crucial role in glue up the innovation framework and creating a disciplined and managed space for developing and testing new business models, products, and management approaches, scale-up innovation practices, and amplify innovation effect. Forward-thinking companies leverage IT as an innovation integrator and the champion of examples and lessons learned from other industries, treat customers, channel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants as active digital agents to create new experiences and make a leap of innovation.

Create an ever-evolving innovation ecosystem: The goal of innovation is to solve problems large or small. Looking uphill can help to identify the real problems that matter, and on a scale that can make a difference. To solve bigger and tougher problems, innovation efforts should be scaled up, and innovation effects can be amplified to touch more people, businesses, industries, and societies and shape an ever-evolving business innovation ecosystem. An innovation ecosystem or the methodological environment should fully cover a wide enough direction and cover the whole innovation process, from idea handling systems to idea implementation and promotion.

Variety, complexity, diversification, and collaboration are the very characteristics of the digital innovation ecosystem. There are many components in an effective innovation ecosystem that draw together mutually supportive companies from multiple industries that collectively seek to create differentiated ideas and capture value they could not reach alone. Each component by itself may not cause a good environment, but collectively, they can weave an open environment by knitting all crucial components such as leadership, innovation culture, capability, practices, tools, recognition system measurements, or risk approach.

The digital world is dynamic, nonlinear, uncertain, and volatile. The nonlinear behavior as a concept is representative of what we term emergent properties. Digital leaders today need to understand the tide, wave, and the ripple effect of an evolving digital organization, proactively shape the digital mindset, optimize processes, and orchestrate a dynamic ecosystem to make the leap of innovation and unlock the digital potential.


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