Unpuzzling Innovation

Innovation is to reinvent business, but not to reinvent the wheels.

Digital is the age of innovation. And innovation is what leads to differentiation. There are many ways to differentiate and, therefore, there are many ways to pursue innovation. Talking of innovation is not new nowadays, everybody, every organization now is talking about innovation. It's been at or near the top of the business or economics agenda for a long time. However, there’re a lot of confusions about innovation and there is no magic sauce to guarantee its success. Back to basic, what is innovation, the more you look into this topic, the more difficult to give a definition of innovation, as it is such a broad topic? One of the good definitions of innovation is: "to transform the novel ideas into commercial success. In essence, innovation is, "intentional novelty bringing sustainable benefit."

  • Innovation is about the future: Without it, you lose sight of tomorrow. Innovation is an exceptional, exclusive, and realistic idea that separates you from others without a second thought.

  • Innovation is about growth: It captures the essential element of any business and quality within every leader. When innovation outside your organization outraces innovation inside your organization, it is time to address factors influencing business velocity, performance, profitability and customer preference. Look to and listen to your data, use it to help you drive innovation.

  • Innovation is to reinvent business, but not to reinvent the wheels: Innovation is about reinventing the business direction and purpose at any time. It defines strategy, profitability, and relevance at any given time. If you do not, you become commoditized and just like so many others who offer the same product or service. Innovation allows one to stand out and above the rest.

  • Innovation is oxygen: As with humans and oxygen, businesses cannot survive without innovation. You must differentiate yourself in the marketplace. It is like the air we breathe, it is like the water we drink, it’s a natural element to keep you alive.

  • Innovation is a double-edged sword: Keep aware of it and use both edges to your advantage. Innovation is the creative idea or a quick, alternative way of solving the existing problem with affordable price to the customer. Innovation is also doing the conventional task in an unconventional, simpler, and much more efficient way.

  • Innovation is converting a problem into an opportunity: The wheel was an innovation that converted the problem of weight lifting and transport into so many vistas of innumerable applications.

  • Innovation is the heart for improvement: Do something in a new way. Innovation is 'incremental value creation' leveraging simplistic or intricate ideas into reality. It’s the unexpected synthesis of an idea, followed by a lot of commitment.

  • Innovation is life; a continuous journey of digital transformation: It brings new energy, forces you to be at your best at all times. It is an alpha; it is the beginning of all things. It is also timeless - for our minds will never stop.

Creativity is the mental process to create novel ideas, and innovation is to transform novel ideas to achieve their business value. The creativity ingredients include curiosity, knowledge, urge, inspiration, intuition, need and necessity, instinct, survival of the fittest and larger good simple brilliance, boldness, logic, rationality, out of the box thinking, fluidity, flexibility, discovery, stretch, influence, experiment, insight, prioritization, customer-centricity, open-mindedness, transdisciplinarity, inquisitiveness, risk tolerance, etc. A new idea, a new method, a new product or service, a new business proposition, a new and better deployment of resources, another way to achieve better results, etc, all contribute to innovation.
The purpose of “Unpuzzling Innovation - Mastering Innovation Management in a Structural Way“ is to demystify innovation puzzle in a structural way. Innovation is the process which can be classified scientifically and managed dynamically. Innovation is neither serendipity nor status quo, it needs to break some outdated rules, builds digital principles, and takes a systematic approach with robust, but not overly rigid processes to implement it. Digital innovators are the “whole-brainers” who present leadership skills and multidimensional intelligence, to mastering the “art of possible.” Creativity is simply about connecting the dots, the difference between innovation and creativity is implementation. It’s important to develop a set of best/next practices to manage digital innovation continuum effectively. It’s also critical to understand the paradox of innovation and strike the right balance between ideation and execution part of the innovation process and management. Innovation journey is thorny, be cautious about gaps and pitfalls on the way, to improve innovation success rate and measure it in the right way.

Chapter 1 Innovation classification: Digital innovation has a broader spectrum with hybrid nature including incremental innovation, evolutionary innovation, and radical innovation; hard innovations such as products/service innovation, business model or process innovation, and soft innovations such as leadership innovation, communication innovation, and culture innovation. The gap between incremental and radical innovation is huge both in terms of outcomes if successful and on how to approach.

Chapter 2 Innovation principles: Digital brings both unprecedented opportunities and risks to the businesses today. Every innovation-the creative pursuit has the risk in it. You're accepting risk for potential reward. Therefore, it is important to set principles for managing innovation and handling risk in a structural way. The principles and guidelines help to further frame processes, measures, and control.

Chapter 3 Digital Innovators: Creativity is a high level of thinking and intelligence. Intelligence is the quick and clear perception of any situation, plus ability to adjust to any circumstances. It is contextual and multidimensional. Digital innovators present leadership skills, master at creative communication, understand what is wrong with the status quo, have the good sense and sound judgment to attract and surround themselves with the right people and work collaboratively to do more with innovation.

Chapter 4 Connecting innovation dots: Creativity is infused with an inner cohesion and comes from a vision of uniqueness. Creativity is simply about connecting the dots. Creativity needs a problem, and a creative person needs a purpose. The difference between innovation and creativity is implementation. Innovation is to reinvent business, but not to reinvent the wheels. Innovation is about reinventing the business direction or purpose, which defines strategy, profitability, and relevance at any given time. Innovation allows one to stand out and above the rest.

Chapter 5 Digital innovation next practices: Digital innovation has a broader spectrum with hybrid nature, it is the incremental improvement- radical innovation continuum. It is hard to think of any innovation as not a hybrid, a combination of something old with something new or a number of new things. Probably, the more hybrid, the more familiar things are combined, the less likely is any disruption, although all innovations are disruptive of something or some behavior to some degree. The innovation leaders need to master at managing complexity and dynamic of innovation portfolio more effectively.

Chapter 6 Innovation Paradox: Innovation is to transform the novel ideas and achieve their business value. Innovation is not just about ideas or exchanging ideas, based on most of the innovation models, idea creation is only one step of the innovation process. Therefore, in a basic view, innovation is a process and every process needs to be managed. The paradox is that all creative activities are subversive in questioning the status quo. Setting rules and goals for creativity goes against the very nature of creativity and thus inventiveness and innovation. It’s critical to strike the right balance between ideation and execution part of the innovation process and management.

Chapter 7 Innovation gaps and pitfalls: Innovation fails because there are too many disconnects that occur between the birth of a vision/concept and the process of turning it into a reality. Innovation fails because businesses lack cognitive ability to think alternatives. The reasons why failure occurs vary widely. It is no wonder why many leaders are reluctant to act on bold ideas with good business potential due to the high likelihood of failure.

Chapter 8 Innovation measurement: The impact of innovations on enterprise performance ranges from effects on turnover and market share to changes in productivity and efficiency. The problem is often that the initiative is not well defined. Without well-defined goals, you won’t have the effective plan and enough time to generate results. So, it is difficult to measure the impact without taking the time to generate impact.


“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship...,the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.”   ― Peter F. Drucker

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"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Slideshare Presentation
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 1 Innovation Classification
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 2 Innovation Principles
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 3 Digital Innovators
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 4 Connecting Innovation Dots
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 5 Digital Innovation Best & Next Practices
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 6 Innovation Paradox
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 7 Innovation Gaps and Pitfalls
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 8 Innovation Measurement

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