Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Innovation Management with Crucial Components

It’s important to take a structural approach with all key elements that will improve systematic thinking and the consistency of the innovation results.

Due to the increasing level of complexity, the exponential growth of information, and rapid changes, it’s important to note that innovation is rarely an individual action, rather, it’s a collaborative effort across multiple organizational silos, and it needs to be managed systematically to improve its success rate. 

From an innovation management perspective, the companies who get the most from innovation effort have the right ambition, good leadership, effective processes, talented people, and open culture, so they can build differentiated innovation competency and drive breakthrough changes.

Ambition: Innovation is not purely about technological advancements but about different propositions or approaches to solving problems creatively. Innovation can happen anywhere across the organization and its ecosystem. There are different flavors of innovations: disruptive innovation, evolutionary innovation, and incremental innovation. There are both “hard” innovations such as products or services innovation and “soft” innovation such as management or culture/communication innovation. Information Technology is changing constantly. If you do not innovate, your competitors will and make your current successful products or services obsolete. The innovation ambition is crucial for the business’s long term survival. It requires businesses today to have a bolder attitude and higher innovation competency.

The enterprise’s innovation appetite should be based on its capability and capacity to innovate. What’s very rigorous and systematic is the analysis of opportunities, business issues, marketing circumstances. Forward-looking organizations that want to establish a strong presence in a market have to innovate constantly, design products or services that fulfill consumer needs better, cheaper, or differently. Innovation can be a breakthrough and disruptive, or small and incremental so long as it creates tangible value that didn't exist before. Highly ambitious organizations manage breakthrough innovation by taking a structural way and solve hyper-complex problems in an alternative way. They sometimes "create" problems that people didn't even know existed then solve them, and continue sharpening their innovation competency.

Leadership: Since innovation is fundamentally about breaking assumptions, having more assumptions uncovered will lead to greater innovation. High-innovative companies master at breakthrough innovation which requires cross-functional senior leadership commitment and holistic management discipline. Digital leaders today need to be highly intelligent and innovative, not only provide clear guidelines and set the right tones to encourage innovation but also see that the teams are embracing cross-functional collaboration and harness innovation to achieve high-performance results.

Innovation leaders need to ponder deeper: How to stimulate more innovation of the disruptive type? “Stimulation" makes more sense because of the faster pace of changes and fierce competitions. Innovative leadership is essentially anchored on the leader's overall multifaceted resourcefulness and versatility to formulate creative alternatives or unconventional solutions to resolve problems. Innovation leaders should be the experimentalists who can experiment with new things, alternative solutions, hypothesize interventions, and iterate them till the right fit is made.

Process: In a basic view, innovation is a process and every process needs to be managed. Different types of innovation should be managed via tailored management processes. The process of planned innovation shouldn’t be too rigid, the chaos to some extent is necessary for sparking fresh ideas and enforcing flexibility. Innovation processes can be very loose on purpose, flexibility is important to make proper adjustments for improving innovation performance.

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. Systematic innovation is a structured process and a set of practical tools used to design and build innovative products/services that deliver new value to customers or satisfy employees consistently, via a structural process to prototype, filter, and test in a real-world scenario.

Talent: Top talent is creative because creativity is high-level thinking evolving different thought processes for thinking differently and solving problems innovatively. With rapid changes and abundant knowledge, only the most advanced mindsets which are positive, forward-thinking, creative, and inclusive, can accelerate change and fuel innovation. Top talent keeps learning, innovating, adapting, and evolving. They do not work within the box, but across the boxes, broaden their perspectives, and connect wider dots to spur creativity continuously.

Digital professionals today need to train themselves on how to engage the whole brain, to think creatively and critically, analytically and synthetically, optimistically, and cautiously, intuitively and nonlinearly. Top talent with the right dose of “gut feeling” supported by good logic enables them to capture the flash of ideas or unique insight, learn to "think different," think positive, think fun, or think beyond your reach.

Culture: There are both tangible and intangible elements that need to be knitted into the unique innovation competency of the organization. Culture is like soil, the organization is like land. The more fertile the soil, the better nourishment the crop and plant products will be. With an ever-evolving business ecosystem, a corporation needs the culture to sustain cross-boundary engagement to discover external ideas, as well as interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise to manage those ideas to achieve business values.

An innovative culture is usually outward-looking rather than insular, it’s critical to foster a culture of innovation across functional disciplines and embed innovation management mechanisms into the corporate DNA. It’s critical to cultivate a culture that inspires creativity and is motivated to accept external ideas and rapidly integrate them into innovative ideas. 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 embracing fresh perspectives, and diverse points of view with the goal to generate more novel ideas and run a highly innovative business.

In essence, innovation management is about how to manage people, assets, time, resources, and risks to achieve high-performance business goals. It’s important to take a structural approach with all key elements that will improve systematic thinking and the consistency of the innovation results by an order of magnitude to achieve sustainable innovation performance.



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