Sunday, September 26, 2021


The success of innovation management is never an accident, it’s a holistic management process with an iterative forming-storming-norming-performing-transforming scenario based on thought-out planning and execution continuum.

Innovation is to have a new perspective on things and move forward by transforming ideas for generating business values. Innovation is a unique business competency for the organizations to thrive in fierce competition and frequent disruptions. It is a creative process that often leverages an intensive technology to solve a real or potential problem of a society that breaks with the current standard and has technical and economic feasibility. 

Companies have to gain a greater awareness of the intricacies and interdependencies of organizational systems, processes, people dynamics, technology, or resource allocation. In any business, if you are not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Innovation is not serendipity, but a management process with the full cycle of “Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Transforming.”

Forming a good innovation strategy & innovative leadership/team: Due to the complexity of modern businesses, within the organizations, innovation nowadays is rarely an individual action; or a few unstructural business initiatives. A good innovation strategy as a leverage point helps the business orchestrate innovation to stay focused by integrating diverse elements into organizational capability and capacity to innovate. It provides coherence between actual capability and the strategic goals that have been defined, and addresses in outline how the strategic objectives will be achieved, which includes building a strong innovation team and shaping excellent innovative leadership.

Highly innovative leaders are open-minded and insightful, connecting the wider dots and enhancing cross-boundary collaboration. The innovation team has five “I”s: Imagination, Influence, Information, Implementation, and Integration, but not about Isolation. The innovative teams are motivated by factors that improve their well-being, such as autonomy, mastery and a sense of meaning or purpose; they are able to have the most useful mindsets, behaviors, and skills, to be both competent and confident to do something new or different and not be at the effect of their learning anxiety. Innovators demonstrate the very characteristics of creativity, curiosity, concentration, and customer-centricity. For teams to operate effectively in the innovation space, they need to develop some core teaming skills to communicate and collaborate, building upon trusted relationships, to enhancing mutuality or attunement with one another.

Storming ideas and fresh insight: Being able to engage in the successful creation of innovations is a very hard work and does include a lot of thinking, observation, brainstorming inquiries, and unusual connections. Innovation is driven by important customer and market needs. If you're going to innovate without knowledge of "evident customer needs" then you might distract yourself by overly focusing on processes, technologies, or your set of “we always do things like that' ' innovation practices. Idea management is an integral management discipline of innovation. The appropriately configured innovation platform creates a scalable means for brainstorming, designing and building ideas throughout the enterprise. Any innovative idea in order to be successful during its development into innovation should satisfy the following criteria: consumability, marketability, protectability, feasibility, and profitability.

The challenge is in knowing how to assess ideas to fit for your organizational development blueprint; how to accelerate idea validation and streamline innovation processes. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of spending too much time and effort chasing down bad ideas. It helps to assure that the results of an innovative approach will have a positive impact on customers, partners, end users, and the marketplace. In terms of company history, evaluate how the company produced or implemented new solutions that were totally different from its “business as usual”; in terms of market evolution, what are incremental innovations, what are truly breakthrough, radical or disruptive innovations in the market, etc. When organizations "think differently," continually generate fresh ideas, and implement new ways to solve problems, then you are on the right track to lubricate the innovation cycle.

Norming a culture of innovation: Being innovative is a state of mind, which is more important than doing any type of innovation. In many traditional organizations, innovation is just a buzzword, everyone talks about it, but very few people, especially leaders are creative enough to live on it and knowledgeable enough to really work on it. Innovation is the new normal when business management focuses on building a culture of innovation which incorporates multiple and diverse components such as value, trust, simplicity, adaptability, and continuous improvement, etc, to empower their change agents and innovators; apply collaboration platforms and tools to enhance sharing and collaborating, and increase participation; be able to cultivate an environment that supports the desired changes or learning.

An innovative culture is usually outward-looking rather than insular. The creative workplace is based on a triangle with three vertices. Culture, method, and people. What inspires and motivates many innovators is the passion for learning new things. Innovation happens at the intersection of people and technology; customers and business. There are many human links within the innovation phases and usually implemented in teams. The spirit comes from the top, disruptive innovation will happen no matter how well you prepare. Great leaders are creative themselves, they can inspire, provoke, empower their innovators and change agents, provide direction when needed and give others time, space, and freedom to create, and embed innovation management mechanisms into the corporate dna.

Performing innovative results qualitatively and quantitatively by building a balanced innovation portfolio:
The ultimate goal for innovation management is to create business value. Though both quick win and long-term return on investment for innovation are crucial, do not sacrifice the long-term viability of the portfolio for only short-term rewards. A healthy innovation portfolio keeps a balance between exploration and exploitation, including many different types of innovations, the size and mix of innovation initiatives depending on the business circumstances, strategic objectives and severity of external challenges or changes. Do not measure innovation only based on lagging indicators such as short-term financial metrics. Compared to traditional business initiatives, innovation has high risk and high return, with a high failure rate. Therefore, it’s also important to define the right set of performance indicators or index for process optimization, culture improvement, capability/capacity building,

Managing a healthy innovation portfolio should be integrated with the annual strategic planning process and financial investment model. Overall innovation performance of the company depends on the quality and quantity of ideas entering the “innovation pipeline,” how well it can convert them into desired output, propositions, or process improvement, etc, with measurable business benefit. The effective measurements selected should be part of a link to cause-and-effect relationships and ultimately affect the business growth and long-term perspective of the organization. Innovation performance indicators provide necessary feedback which helps the business keep improving the innovation process or drive early success to create a positive spiral. It’s a part of transparent visual management allowing the business pulling resources and assets together for orchestrating an innovation symphony and delivering better business results.

Transforming toward a high-mature innovative organization: Being innovative is a state of mind, and practicing innovation consistently is a critical step in building an innovation powerhouse. Even if you have ample innovative ideas, it doesn’t guarantee innovation success due to the possible execution gap. Innovation today not only has a broad scope but also has deep context. Usually, breakthrough innovation involves both high impact and high risk, not something everyone can accomplish. You have to systematically develop the capability to execute it successfully. To start the next cycle of innovation management, businesses have to learn from experimenting, amplify the best practices, cultivate an innovative climate, hyper-connect into an expandable ecosystem, engage in multi-industry collaborations to shape a high-mature innovative organization.

In practice, bridging the innovation execution gap requires a structural execution scenario with clear stages, performance thresholds, decision-making parameters combined with the iterative communication and learning process that supports wide-ranging exploration at each stage. Highly innovative organizations have a powerful innovation navigation system to detect opportunities for innovating, enhance systematic innovation management, and draw together mutually supportive companies from multiple industries that collectively seek to create the differentiated value they could not reach alone. As a result, innovation becomes a persistent, shared reality even across silos and geographies.

Without innovation, organizations cannot thrive for the long term. Without structural innovation, companies cannot grow into innovation maturity. Although serendipity perhaps plays some part in innovation effort as there are plenty of stories about great ideas evolving sudden flashes of insight or out of chance; breakthrough comes from bottom not the top. The success of innovation management is never an accident, it’s a holistic management process with an iterative forming-storming-norming-performing-transforming scenario based on thought-out planning and execution continuum.


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