Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Innovation Intensity and competency

Since innovation is fundamentally about breaking assumptions, having more assumptions uncovered will lead to greater innovation.

Innovation is similar to "the sum is larger than its parts" and is what leads to differentiation. Innovation shouldn’t be serendipity. It is a high mature digital capability that needs to be built via disciplines, structures, processes, and practices.

At today's modern organizations, variety, hyperconnectivity, diversification, collaboration, and flexibility increase innovation intensity and expand the ever-evolving digital innovation ecosystem.

Variety: We are all a new combination of known. The essence of innovation is made of trying new combinations of things. The lack of variety of things or PoVs makes organizations non-optimal. Digital variety is a switch to turn on the creativity light bulb. It will force you to confront new ideas, new materials, and possibly embrace a new concept that you may have never imagined. Digital organization is dynamic, with a variety of teams to run the variety of innovation portfolios for accelerating business performance and unleash the organizational potential.

Since innovation is fundamentally about breaking assumptions, having more assumptions uncovered will lead to greater innovation. Thus, organizations have to appreciate the natural variety of digital new normal and improve cross-functional communication and collaboration. The variety of ideas or opinions directly contributes to the business value in terms of engagement, productivity, and profitability. That in turn, should lead to “inspirations” which will further fuel more inclusiveness and innovation.

Hyperconnectivity: Digital organization is all about connectivity across all dimensions of the business. It means to have a better ability for dots connection across the geographical, functional, organizational, industrial, or generational boundaries. The hyperconnectivity brings the abundance of opportunities and risks, you have to dig underneath and digitally connect all key resources and assets in the context of the idea reaching innovation hubs and clusters across the complex and volatile digital ecosystem.

From an innovation management perspective, the hyperconnectivity of the business improves digital fluency by streamlining information and idea flow. That, in turn, will further fuel more innovative initiatives to their environments. How cleverly you connect your dots by leveraging your interdisciplinary knowledge experiences and finding a solution to the problems is creativity. The most productive innovation teams should apply multiple knowledge disciplines, close cognitive gaps, connect wider dots to yield better ideas, and competitive advantage.

Diversification: Diversification and differentiation make the business stand out by allowing the business to close decision gaps, fix innovation bottlenecks, and develop unique innovation competencies. There is a multitude of hyperdiverse perspectives such as creative diversity, cognitive diversity, cultural diversity, skill diversity, and personality diversity, etc. The management should orient people and make them aware of the power of diversity as the hotbed of creativity, help them understand the value of harnessing cognitive differences, encourage them to embrace the fresh perspectives and diverse point of views with the goal to generate more novel ideas and run a highly innovative business.

One of the biggest challenges in this complex digital world is the fact that we need different perspectives, different knowledge and different ways to solve a problem. The emergent digital technologies and practices make it possible to expand the talent pool, build highly innovative teams with coherent diversification, composed with people who do not have the same view of the small part of the world that the team is dealing with so that they can complement each other’s thoughts to come up with fresh ideas. There are different levels of capabilities, complementary experiences, the spectrum of skills, unique competencies, cultural perspectives, and personalities. That's what cultivates the culture of innovation and maximizes business potential smoothly.

Collaboration: Due to the complexity of the modern business, organizations can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. Silos cause slowness and small-thinking. In reality, many companies that get stuck at the lower level of organizational maturity have never been better positioned to break out of a static industry box and engage in mass collaborations to spark creativity and enforce innovation.

More often than not, innovation is a multi-disciplinary effort. With emerging digital enterprise collaboration platforms and tools, cross-functional communication, both vertical and horizontal penetration, and social engagement are the new normal in the effective digital workplace. To break down silos, digital leaders have to not only provide clear process guidelines but also see that the teams are embracing cross-functional collaboration and harness innovation to achieve high performance by fostering a workplace that thrives on forward-thinking, collaboration, and social interaction.

Flexibility: Being flexible is simply a mindset to pursue alternative ways to do things, an ability to learn and adapt to changes, and a sort of intelligence to explore new possibilities, take further responsibilities but also and above all, in the effectiveness of its initiatives. For many tough problems today, sometimes there is no "one" answer: there are some or many. Flexibility is to embrace alternative ways to think and do things. The culture of flexibility advocated by effective and innovative leadership is about bringing out the best in others, improving quality and multidimensional thinking, creating fresh knowledge, and exploring multiple perspectives to spark creativity.

Innovation will happen when people are given free space to be creative without overly rigid structures to hold them back. There is a structural beauty in truly complex or self-organizing systems. The flexible organizational structure is implemented via the right mix of remote teams and the physical structure to achieve a balance between “virtual worlds” and “the human connections.” The business leaders do not focus on hierarchy but on building great teams to foster creativity, flexibility, openness, and achievement. Together, these flexible teams, with interdisciplinary expertise and extensive experience, are resolute, responsive, flexible, and be able to speed up the pace of innovation management.

Innovation is not always equal to the latest gadget, it’s about people, culture, process, partnership, and manner, to build a highly creative working environment and develop differentiated innovation competency. Effective innovation requires a well-managed process as part of a holistic system and a strategic alignment, encompassing many key business aspects. So the future of work will not be mere automatons, but continue to discover, differentiate, innovate, and be well disciplined for leaping organizations to the next growth cycle and the next level of business maturity.



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