Blogging Innovation » What is an Innovation Culture?


by Roy Luebke

What is an Innovation Culture?Much has been written about what constitutes an innovation culture. Defining what that means may seem relatively simple, but is much more difficult to both define and achieve than one might think.

To begin the definition for an individual organization, start by understanding how the senior management team deals with ambiguity and risk. If an organization is extremely risk averse, it is unlikely to be very innovative. All companies deal with risk, there is risk in doing something, and there is risk in doing nothing. Risk is a part of being in business, and how the organization is prepared to manage risk is a leading factor in its ability to move into new competitive arenas.

The need to be innovative is derived from market pressures. The leadership team must feel a degree of angst about the future, or some paranoia about outside forces that makes them uncomfortable. Innovation is driven by the belief that a firm’s competitive advantage is fleeting and that it must always be reinventing itself in order to survive. Hubris is anathema to innovation.

An innovation culture requires advances in processes for discovery, experimentation, and developing portfolios of options. These new processes will, in fact help mitigate risk exposure as opportunities and solutions are better defined. Better definitions will reduce ambiguity and uncertainty.

Organizations require new process to research their customers and discover new patterns in customer attitudes, and market and technology evolutions. Firms need to create ways to recognize new, emerging patterns in key areas and develop new business concepts to meet these new realities. Business leaders need to allow their people to experiment more and develop prototypes that fail before going to market so that new innovations are more likely to succeed in the long term. Ultimately, new processes need to be developed to create deeper understanding about customers and deliver more of what customers want, even though customers are not likely to articulate these needs precisely.

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The Value of Nothing

When children are born prematurely, they are placed in incubators until ready for the world.

When fields stop producing, farmers let them lay fallow — until the soil’s nutrients are restored.

When a baseball player is in a slump, he’s given a day off to get his game together.

It’s the same with innovators — or should be. They, too, need to incubate. They, too, need to lay fallow. They, too, need an occasional day off — especially if the results they’re looking for aren’t showing up.

You already know this. That’s why sometimes you choose to “sleep on it” before making a decision.

Pausing isn’t necessarily procrastinating. Done well, it’s an act of renewal — a chance for you to relax and let your subconscious shine — a natural phenomenon that’s all-too-rare these days — especially in organizations where everyone is being driven to produce, produce, produce.

Face it. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing.


by Blogging Innovation |by Mitch Ditkoff

The Value of NothingWhen children are born prematurely, they are placed in incubators until ready for the world.

When fields stop producing, farmers let them lay fallow — until the soil’s nutrients are restored.

When a baseball player is in a slump, he’s given a day off to get his game together.

It’s the same with innovators — or should be. They, too, need to incubate. They, too, need to lay fallow. They, too, need an occasional day off — especially if the results they’re looking for aren’t showing up.

You already know this. That’s why sometimes you choose to “sleep on it” before making a decision.

Pausing isn’t necessarily procrastinating. Done well, it’s an act of renewal — a chance for you to relax and let your subconscious shine — a natural phenomenon that’s all-too-rare these days — especially in organizations where everyone is being driven to produce, produce, produce.

Face it. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Leer más “The Value of Nothing”

Innovation and Porter’s Value Chain

First, let’s remind ourselves of the Value Chain Model. Portner’s insight was to identify all the primary functions of a business and all the support functions of a business and seek to understand what the firm did exceptionally well, and what it must do at least moderately well. While other strategists had thought and written about the linkages between internal operations, Porter was one of the first to create the concept of the Value Chain. Today we often think of the value chain as extending “upstream” to suppliers and “downstream” to distribution channels and even to customers or consumers. The tool is a powerful metaphor when thinking about where and how a firm adds value.

Primary activities are the ones we usually think of as distinct operations or departments and are the “direct” costs in a business – inbound and outbound logistics, “operations” which could be manufacturing or development, marketing and sales, and service. Support activities are those that we traditionally think of as “overhead” – Human Resources, Information Technology, Procurement, and what Porter called Firm Infrastructure – legal, financial, management and so forth.

The model, once again, does not explicitly call out innovation, and in this breakdown of the organization it is hard to decide where and how innovation should add value. Clearly innovation can play a role in any of the primary functions. Innovation can improve the way we make things, or the way we distribute products and services, or the customer support and service we offer. Conversely, innovation could be considered a “supporting” capability that improves all functions from an enabling perspective. It’s possible that innovation exists in both locations. However, there are two other items to consider when thinking about innovation and the Value Chain analysis.


Submitted by Blogging Innovation |by Jeffrey Phillips
http://www.business-strategy-innovation.com

Innovation and Porter's Value ChainI’m reviewing the relationship between a number of tried and true strategic management models and innovation, to see if those models and concepts hold up under the increasing importance of innovation. A few days ago I reviewed Porter’s Five Forces model and concluded that while Porter didn’t explicitly call out innovation, it was clear that the Five Forces model embraced innovation. Today, we’ll look quickly at another Porter model – the Value Chain Analysis – and investigate how it holds up innovation.

In the 1980s, Michael Porter wrote a number of books about corporate strategy that became the basis for much of the education of MBAs, at least where strategy was concerned. Few MBAs in the 80s and 90s failed to study Porter’s Five Forces or Value Chain Analysis. Since many of those MBAs minted in that period are now in leadership positions in their firms, it behooves us to understand the models they carry around with them, and whether or not those models are open and extensible where innovation is concerned, or whether they ignore or resist innovation. Leer más “Innovation and Porter’s Value Chain”

Book Review and Innovation Summary – “Predictable Success”

A few weeks ago I received “Predictable Success” by Les McKeown in the mail. “Predictable Success” is an approachable 194 pages, and is an easy, and pleasant read.

Les McKeown is the President & CEO of Predictable Success, and has 25 years of global business experience, including starting 42 companies in his own right, and as the founding partner of an incubation consulting company that launched hundreds of businesses worldwide.

“Predictable Success” is a book focused on helping people understand the natural evolution of businesses and why some succeed and some fail. The book hinges on a simple, illustrative framework that makes the case that business success is not something to be achieved, but instead something to be maintained. You don’t arrive at business success and stay successful, but instead continually fight to maintain the delicate balance between too much policy and process, and too little.

Les McKeown asserts that there are seven different descriptors that any successful business can take on at any one time. The key here is ’successful’ business.

* Early Struggle
* Fun
* Whitewater
* Predictable Success
* Treadmill
* The Big Rut
* Death Rattle


by Braden Kelley
http://www.business-strategy-innovation.com

Book Review and Innovation Summary - "Predictable Success"A few weeks ago I received “Predictable Success” by Les McKeown in the mail. “Predictable Success” is an approachable 194 pages, and is an easy, and pleasant read.

Les McKeown is the President & CEO of Predictable Success, and has 25 years of global business experience, including starting 42 companies in his own right, and as the founding partner of an incubation consulting company that launched hundreds of businesses worldwide.

“Predictable Success” is a book focused on helping people understand the natural evolution of businesses and why some succeed and some fail. The book hinges on a simple, illustrative framework that makes the case that business success is not something to be achieved, but instead something to be maintained. You don’t arrive at business success and stay successful, but instead continually fight to maintain the delicate balance between too much policy and process, and too little.

Les McKeown asserts that there are seven different descriptors that any successful business can take on at any one time. The key here is ’successful’ business.

  • Early Struggle
  • Fun
  • Whitewater
  • Predictable Success
  • Treadmill
  • The Big Rut
  • Death Rattle

Predictable Success Leer más “Book Review and Innovation Summary – “Predictable Success””

Leadership and Change

First the bad news: If you’re not willing to embrace change you’re not ready to lead. Put simply, leadership is not a static endeavor. In fact, leadership demands fluidity, which requires the willingness to recognize the need for change, and finally the ability to lead change.

Now the good news: As much as some people want to create complexity around the topic of leading change for personal gain, the reality is that creating, managing and leading change is really quite simple. To prove my point, I’ll not only explain the entire change life-cycle in three short paragraphs, but I’ll do it in simple terms that anyone can understand. As a bonus I’ll also give you 10 items to assess in evaluating whether the change you’re considering is value added, or just change for the sake of change. [Más…]

An Overview on the Importance of Change:

While there is little debate that the successful implementation of change can create an extreme competitive advantage, it is not well understood that the lack of doing so can send a company (or an individual’s career) into a death spiral. Companies that seek out and embrace change are healthy, growing, and dynamic organizations, while companies that fear change are stagnant entities on their way to a slow and painful death.

Agility, innovation, disruption, fluidity, decisiveness, commitment, and above all else a bias toward action will lead to the creation of change. It is the implementation of change which results in evolving, growing and thriving companies. Much has been written about the importance of change, but there is very little information in circulation about how to actually create it.

While most executives and entrepreneurs have come to accept the concept of change management as a legitimate business practice, and change leadership as a legitimate executive priority in theory, I have found very few organizations that have effectively integrated change as a core discipline and focus area in reality. As promised, and without further ado, the change life-cycle in three easy steps:

A. Identifying the Need for Change: The need for change exists in every organization. Other than irrational change solely for the sake of change, every corporation must change to survive. If your entity doesn’t innovate and change in accordance with market driven needs and demands it will fail…it’s just that simple. The most complex area surrounding change is focusing your efforts in the right areas, for the right reasons, and at the right times. The ambiguity and risk can be taken out of the change agenda by simply focusing on three areas:

1. Your current customers – What needs to change to better serve your customers?
2. Potential customers – What needs to change to profitably create new customers?
3. Your talent and resources – What changes need to occur to better leverage existing talent and resources?

B. Leading Change: You cannot effectively lead change without understanding the landscape of change. There are four typical responses to change:

1. The Victim – Those that view change as a personal attack on their persona, their role, their job, or their area of responsibility. They view everything at an atomic level based upon how they perceive change will directly and indirectly impact them.
2. The Neutral Bystander – This group is neither for nor against change. They will not directly or vocally oppose change, nor will they proactively get behind change. The Neutral Bystander will just go with the flow not wanting to make any waves, and thus hoping to perpetually fly under the radar.
3. The Critic – The Critic opposes any and all change. Keep in mind that not all critics are overt in their resistance. Many critics remain in stealth mode trying to derail change behind the scenes by using their influence on others. Whether overt or covert, you must identify critics of change early in the process if you hope to succeed.
4. The Advocate – The Advocate not only embraces change, they will evangelize the change initiative. Like The Critics, it is important to identify The Advocates early in the process to not only build the power base for change, but to give momentum and enthusiasm to the change initiative.

Once you’ve identified these change constituencies you must involve all of them, message properly to each of them, and don’t let up. With the proper messaging and involvement even adversaries can be converted into allies.


by Mike Myatt
//business-strategy-innovation.com

Leadership and ChangeFirst the bad news: If you’re not willing to embrace change you’re not ready to lead. Put simply, leadership is not a static endeavor. In fact, leadership demands fluidity, which requires the willingness to recognize the need for change, and finally the ability to lead change.

Now the good news: As much as some people want to create complexity around the topic of leading change for personal gain, the reality is that creating, managing and leading change is really quite simple. To prove my point, I’ll not only explain the entire change life-cycle in three short paragraphs, but I’ll do it in simple terms that anyone can understand. As a bonus I’ll also give you 10 items to assess in evaluating whether the change you’re considering is value added, or just change for the sake of change. Leer más “Leadership and Change”

Conscious Awareness

It goes on to posit that “technology is weaving humans into electronic webs that resemble big brains.” (It’s nice to see this concept going mainstream… we talked about that idea here last November in the ‘Twitter’s Intelligent, Welcome to Web 3.0‘ post ). The next stage in the line of thinking is that this process is part of our species evolution:

Could it be that, in some sense, the point of evolution – both the biological evolution that created an intelligent species and the technological evolution that a sufficiently intelligent species is bound to unleash – has been to create these social brains, and maybe even to weave them into a giant, loosely organized planetary brain? Kind of in the way that the point of the maturation of an organism is to create an adult organism?


17th century representation of the 'third eye'...

(…) Via
//business-strategy-innovation.com
by Venessa Miemis

A recent article in the New York Times, Building One Big Brain, prompted me to write up the next skill in this 12 part series. The piece quotes Nicholas Carr’s opinions about how the Internet is reducing the “capacity for concentration and contemplation,” scattering our attention and reducing our ability to focus.

It goes on to posit that “technology is weaving humans into electronic webs that resemble big brains.” (It’s nice to see this concept going mainstream… we talked about that idea here last November in the ‘Twitter’s Intelligent, Welcome to Web 3.0‘ post ). The next stage in the line of thinking is that this process is part of our species evolution:

Could it be that, in some sense, the point of evolution – both the biological evolution that created an intelligent species and the technological evolution that a sufficiently intelligent species is bound to unleash – has been to create these social brains, and maybe even to weave them into a giant, loosely organized planetary brain? Kind of in the way that the point of the maturation of an organism is to create an adult organism?

The article didn’t treat the evolution of technology as something that was going to happen outside of us, such as a machine intelligence that will outpace us, as the technological singularity implies. (which may also happen, though). Rather, it suggests something more akin to a process of evolutionary development, in which interconnectivity and cooperation will indicate a move towards higher intelligence. The ideas reminded me of the work being done by John Stewart and the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition Research Group on intentional evolution. Check his Evolutionary Manifesto.

As someone who spends much of my time online, both of the premises of the article – decreased focused attention and increased potential for a distributed consciousness – do resonate. But, I do wonder if an intelligent planetary brain is going to emerge without some intention and conscious awareness on our part. Leer más “Conscious Awareness”

Problem Solving Skills Different Than Intelligence

Professor Mylonadis suspects that the reason that our problem-solving ability in management is limited is because our models of problem-solving are devoid of people while actual problem-solving isn’t. As useful as a decision tree might be as an analytical abstraction, the issue is how do you actually define a problem with the help of others around you? Who should these people be? What kind of input should you be asking from them? Which part of that input should you disregard? Which part of that input should you take into account?

He says further, “If you look at engineering or architecture the ability of people to explain the problem they’re working on, and ask questions so they can get feedback is very high without their need to resort to either dogma or trivia. They are helped by reference to blueprints which are a highly codified way of communicating. Our equivalent in management is jargon. Like blueprints, jargon was invented to make our exchanges efficient (we all know what is meant by a “functional organization”.) But the analogy to the blueprint ends when jargon becomes meaningless. It is also a sure way of eradicating any arguments left standing from the onslaught of dogma or trivia.”


Putting More Smart People On A Problem Might Not Be The Answer
by Idris Mootee

Problem Solving Skills Different Than IntelligenceEarly breakfast in a Boston hotel and I’m ready for an executive workshop. There are so many decision to be made in one day and just over breakfast we’re made several important decisions on some strategic issues. I realize 70% of my time on a day-to-day basis are spent on problem solving – organizational, strategic, customers, people and resources etc. It is pretty much the biggest part of any managerial job. Problem solving skills development is therefore critical for young managers.

If you’re a well educated, highly intelligent person and have a well-respected job in your chosen career, it usually means you are a good problem solver both in professional and personal settings. Professor Yiorgos Mylonadis at London Business School research is finding otherwise. His recent research shows that people can be extremely well educated with many years of experience, they may be successful managers who have accomplished great things, but frequently their ability to solve a problem is severely limited. Leer más “Problem Solving Skills Different Than Intelligence”