Saturday, June 27, 2020

Critical Thinking & Innovation Management

Shaping a truly innovative company is challenging because of the sophisticated management skills needed and the potential risks involved.

Innovation is a process to transform fresh ideas for achieving its business value. Every innovation pursuit has risks in it, and every risk has opportunities in it. Often, innovation initiatives that ultimately break new ground frequently are fraught with uncertainty on many dimensions such as technical, market, resource, and ecosystem uncertainties abound.

Thus, critical thinking is important to analyze and synthesize, estimate innovation risks, look beyond the surface, ask insightful questions, and make logical reasoning.

Leverage critical thinking to validate new ideas: Innovation is a management process that deals with any sort of idea necessary to solve a problem that definitely requires a critical analysis skill. The essence of critical thinking is careful deliberation, examination, and testing of assumptions, and consideration of opposing views to improve decision effectiveness. Organizations have limited resources and time, therefore, critical thinking is crucial to make a scientific assessment of idea validation and innovation process optimization, help to drive improvement, select new ideas or build solutions, and make them stick successfully.

Innovation management is an idea generation, validation, and implementation process. Before the ideation, companies need to spark creativity, brainstorm and discover insights, and after ideation, it’s important to leverage critical thinking to filter, prototype, and validate those ideas. The performance of idea management depends on the ability of the company to set the right priority, select the best ideas to implement based on both the strategic business goals and capacities, develop and implement them, to maximize the business value.

Develop an open environment to inspire creativity and encourage critical thinking: In traditional companies with rigid hierarchy and silo settings, people often have to follow overly restricted rules or algorithms in the workplace. The danger is that it reduces the scope for a critical approach and creativity. In fact, the entire system is in danger of itself becoming rigid, unresponsive to changing circumstances and obsolete, in the long run. Therefore, it makes people very uncomfortable to think independently, unable or unwilling to think out of the box, and freeze when they have to face a challenge that is out of the norm, and therefore, prefer not to think critically.

High mature organizations have an open environment to encourage both critical thinking and creative thinking. Both are essential in today's workforce seeing as to how the current economy demands new innovative ways to look at things. Critical thinking evolves deep thinking processes usually with creative thinking embedded. Both critical thinking and creative thinking share a kind of symbiotic relationship. To practice critical thinking, it is important to broaden the lens and increase perspective, absorb fresh knowledge, and perceive the value of inclusiveness.

Practicing critical thinking to identify innovation risks: Innovation Management overall has a very high failure rate. Innovation risk would broadly need to consider both endogenous and exogenous drivers. Innovation success depends on many factors such as talent, process, resource, etc. The risk is part of innovation, but you can leverage critical thinking and other mind-tuning or process optimization tools to manage parts of these risks. The good innovation leaders have the right dose of risk appetite, critical thinking skills, rational risk management skills, and the high level of risk intelligence in order to take an interdisciplinary approach to manage innovation effectively and build an innovative powerhouse ultimately.

Some risks can be quantifiable; some can only be approximated. Failure should not be an offense and actually if there are not a few failures, and then you are not trying hard enough. Innovation management takes a balancing act to have enough failure and an environment that encourages critical thinking, learning from failures quickly and cheaply, without having failures that are too frequent or too expensive. The positive attitude for inspiring innovation is to be cautiously optimistic, practice critical thinking, take calculated risks, and be alert about obstacles or pitfalls.

Shaping a truly innovative company is challenging because of the sophisticated management skills needed and the potential risks involved. Whether it is a debate, argument, interview, investigation, or chess game, usually critical thinking, and creative thinking will apply. Innovation needs to be the collective habit of the business, you have to live it and breathe it every day, otherwise, you don’t feel accomplished. A systematic innovation management process helps businesses recognize challenges, understand boundaries, deal with constraints, and manage resources, to improve the overall innovation management success.


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