Why is innovation like a swan? Of course, the picture is elegant and graceful. But below the surface there is a lot of management legwork going on that you just don’t see. Many companies achieve remarkable things with innovations that add tremendous value to the daily lives of customers and the companies that help them; but the emphasis is almost always on the output, whether that be product, service or business model, not on the work that delivered them.
Innovation is far too often an organizational orphan. How can you make sure it is not just fostered, but becomes adopted and part of the family?
While leadership and management are inextricably linked, they remain different. When it comes to innovation, they remain crucial to the ability of an organization to deliver growth. Good innovation management is fundamental, but without strong leadership, much of the good work done in management can be undone.
In the film, “What Women Want”, Mel Gibson’s character has the ability to read women’s minds and understand what they’re thinking. In the real world, we often need to second-guess what our existing or potential partners want. This is the case for Open Innovation (OI), when smaller companies with something to offer try to understand just exactly what large companies need, and whether there would be complementarity between the two.
The early stages of innovation are inevitably quite uncertain and poorly defined. The Front End process gradually clears the fog, you’ve done your research experiments and confirmed that you have both technical and market feasibility. There comes a point when the development target is clarified, and this is where the Trinity of product development takes over.
The members of this special group are:
Hamlet’s line “To be or not to be…” is one of Shakespeare’s most famous. And he did write quite a few good ones. Hamlet’s concern is a choice between living a troubled life; and embracing death. OK, it’s a fairly deep analogy when it comes to innovation, but the choice of embracing or avoiding innovation choices can lead to corporate death – think Kodak.
Recently I was reminded of the famous scene in the film, Spartacus, where all the slaves shout “I’m Spartacus”. The prompt was another statement that innovation is everybody’s job. It’s fairly common, for example a thread on the Beyond Innovation group page on LinkedIn, running a poll on the subject “Innovation is Ev
Innovation is hard, isn’t it? That seems to be the prevailing wisdom. This was going through my mind when I read a good post from Tim Kastelle recently. Tim described how some of his innovation consultancy projects go through three phases – simplistic, complex and finally, simple. The objective is to produce an innovation that is simply communicated and easily understood; simple is the end objective of all good innovation.
Many large companies who have implemented Open Innovation use “Technology Scouts”, searching the external world for interesting opportunities. This description, whilst functional and descriptive, is missing a trick. Instead, companies should be developing Open Innovation Ambassadors.