Monday, September 14, 2020

Innovation Logic and “Walk the Talk” Scenario

Either individually and collectively, there is no template that you can apply and suddenly become innovative, it must be done continually, patiently, and systematically.

Digital organizations are in the middle of a sea change. The definition of innovation is simple - to gain benefit by doing something different. Innovation is not “nice to have,” but “must-have” differentiate business competency, to gain a competitive advantage in the face of fierce competition and continuous disruptions often led by emerging technologies. 

Business innovation today expands both horizontally and vertically. It's not serendipity, Being innovative is a mindset, digital innovation management is a system that can be fine-tuned in a structured way to improve its success rate. There is a logic behind any innovation effort, and it's important to manage innovation systematically.

The goals you intend to accomplish: In many organizations, innovation is a lip service; sometimes to the point that those who truly understand it cannot get the real message out through the "hype." They neither set a clear goal nor clarify the logic on how to implement it. To preplan an innovation initiative, the innovation management should clarify: Are the innovation you are trying to promote actually relevant to the business now, or in the future, or at all? Without well-defined goals, you won’t have an effective plan, allocate resources, and set enough time to generate tangible business results. Generally speaking, the goals of innovation at the business level is for achieving high performance, increasing profit, reinventing the business model, improving business efficiency, delighting customers, and making collective progress.

Innovation is the most desired change, never for its own sake, but to achieve business value. The digital era upon us is about people and choices. The big “WHY” clarity about innovation helps to understand the noble business purpose behind innovation efforts. Forward-looking companies gain the knowledge of “evident customer needs, ” develop innovative products or services to delight them. However, sometimes even customers don’t know what they want. The exercise of deciding just what the future trend is, how to increase customer value, and help business success, in the long run, is the single most critical activity of innovation management.

The most effective structure/process for accomplishing innovation effort: Innovation often happens at the intersection of people and technology. In a basic view, innovation is a process and every process needs to be managed. However, there is no magic formula to implement creative ideas, especially for breakthrough innovation, there are significant risks in it, and different types of innovation should be managed via tailored processes, flexible structures, and highly effective innovation management teams. Overly restricted organizational hierarchy with the “command & control” management style stifles innovation. Limited hierarchy with some “unstructured processes” works best to build a creative environment. Effective innovation management requires a fit process as part of the holistic innovation system and people as innovation masters.

With an ever-evolving digital dynamic, the innovation process is not static, it’s important to keep optimizing innovation processes by breaking down those structural or management obstacles and make innovation processes as visible and company-wide as possible. Also, businesses have to tailor their own circumstances for developing the fitting innovation models and deploy a range of different management methodologies and technologies. The leverage point is how to structure innovation without adding too much complexity, streamline idea flow, generate winning concepts on a consistent basis, to achieve sustainable business advantage. Technically, there is the mechanism to collect customers' feedback and there is transparency in follow-up a system of the innovation process from idea developing up to implementing, to gain management and peer recognition.

“Walk the talk” innovation scenario with well-defined principles, methodologies, and best practices: Innovation is about figuring out the better ways to do things, the management should ask "WHAT IF" we do things in a different way or figure out an “walk the talk” scenario. From the pre-planning stage to post-implementation check-up, innovation management should continue to take different scenarios, for broadening the “innovation scope” and focusing on building a healthy innovation portfolio to establish differentiated business competency. Innovation leaders are actively promoting fresh ideas, enforcing collaboration, making real-time adjustments, and ensuring the organization is walking the talk of its values, along the lines of the right people with the right mindset in the right roles doing the right work with the right interdependence.

Every organization needs to build an innovation scenario with tailored principles, methodologies, or best practices. More importantly, highly innovative organizations treat customers, channel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants as active digital agents to brainstorm fresh ideas and create new experiences. They carefully examine the potential points of engagement, leverage effective technologies, tools, or methodologies, and apply them wisely with the right expertise to develop innovation competency.

Innovation measurement and performance: Overall speaking, innovation has a very low success rate. The problem is that many organizations do not set the right conditions for the innovation strategy to occur within, other times, they don’t set the right key performance indicators to measure results from innovation efforts. You can only manage what you measure. One of the critical goals for innovation measurement is to create new revenue and drive early success to create a positive spiral or build an innovative culture.

There are many causes to measure innovation, and it should be measured in the right way. You choose those KPIs by deciding which are seen as critical to making progress in order to deliver more results. Some factors that could be used to measure innovation scores within a company include resources invested (human and financial), employee motivation, number of initiatives being launched, process KPIs, and organizational innovative culture readiness. Innovation performance could also be measured in terms of its ability to convert the ideas that enter the “innovation pipeline” into the desired output, propositions, or process improvement, etc.

Either individually and collectively, there is no template that you can apply and suddenly become innovative, it must be done continually, patiently, and systematically. The best point of view is to see innovation as a system, capable of delivering organizational-wide capability. Across the vertical sectors, the companies who get the most from innovation effort have the right ambition, good leadership, strong logic, effective processes, talented people, and open culture, so they can build differentiated innovation competency effortlessly.


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