Silicon Valley, New York, Rio de Janeiro – places that are renowned in the world as meccas to innovate, disrupt and grow. But is it just the preserve of these places and if it is why? This question led our director to research into what it is that creates the ability or drive to innovate and also what blocks it or serves to limit it, ‘innovation antibodies‘ you could say.
I found that above all things enablement, expectation and empowerment to innovate were all time facilitators and strong drivers of innovation. The expectation that innovation should be ubiquitous and encouraged and that one is inherent capable of doing it charged places of innovation. The empowerment came from the environments and the people. The enablement came from the triple helix structures of governments, universities and employment that provided capital, facilities, technology and networks to make innovation and entrepreneurship happen. Capital and culture, also fundamental were part of the enablement structures which unsurprisingly could also be derived from the triple helix and and empowerment structures. There are certainly overlaps between these all of which serve to make the effects of things like networks which could arise across enablement, expectation and empowerment, exponential and of untold power.
In terms of application, we have found that many of the businesses which want to learn how to innovate and are not limited as much by capital, which many innovators and entrepreneurs struggle with the most, but are limited to a similar degree by the lack primary of other primary drivers like culture and leadership.
We want to help businesses know how to innovate and how to build the necessary ecosystems to make this happen.
Our approach to business solution includes a matter of course, seeking opportunities to innovate in any transformation exercise. We work with leaders to isolate what’s adding value and what is not,which initiatives are expended and what’s not yet been fully plumbed and explored. Which customer needs are underserved that could be met with a marginal extension? We always want to know the client’s innovation appetite and we help you review and grow your innovation capability.
Iconify Innovation Advisory is delivered as part of our Transformation and Technology practices and we help businesses evaluate aspects like, what value can be captured within your agreed strategy and what’s the smartest, fastest, most effective and in short, innovative way to can do it. We help leaders determine risk appetite and understand your innovation profile and consider which new ideas when implemented will deliver the highest impact.
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Our innovation consulting services focus on articulating an innovation strategy based on our clients’ most critical issues, medium to long term objectives and opportunities across: strategy, marketing, organization, operations, technology, transformation, digital, advanced analytics, corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions and sustainability.
Leadership is crucial for innovation and forms a key cog in any innovation ecosystem but innovation leadership is often stymied right at the outset of their innovation endeavours in striving to build an innovation business. This is due to some fundamental considerations that should exist with regards to innovation consulting.
Firstly, innovation can come from anywhere in the organisation but needs to be fostered, nurtured, captured and extended. This means that innovation ecosystems need to exist in some form because innovation is unlikely to flourish without the requisite ecosystems.
Next, the language, not to say the terminology surrounding innovation tends to be somewhat problematic because we find many expect that innovation will be necessarily technologically and widely disruptive. The first is off putting for some. The second is desirable but unlikely to be true and therefore sets up an unrealistic expectations which saps the will and stamina required to make an innovation culture stick. So this issue is about perceptions around what innovation actually is and does.
There are several definitions of innovation but while innovation can be radical, breakthrough or incremental, innovation in established business models is likely to be incremental. Organisational attitudes to innovation and creation within the organisation also have a lot to do with the issues describe above.
We have been conditioned to expect that innovation will deliver wide ranging applications and benefits but while innovation is critical, because it helps us to find better ways of doing things or even better, different ways of solving problems in a way that creates value, then that objective needs to be sufficient. To innovate, essentially is to find new ways (and better) ways to do what we do.
Therefore, innovation is basically about determining where and how in the business value can be created, captured and even inculcated.
It may or may not be based on the facility of a particular technology, the power and channelling of application or it could be purely based in creativity or in changing the organisation and fundamental things like culture. In reality their benefits are likely to be constrained to your organisation, and be incremental to start with rather than immediately explosively exponential. However, if an innovation mindset exists and it is continuous, then exponential effects are possible.
The takeaway is that innovation can and will be beneficial and the process has sustained value in its own right and is highly desirable. To do nothing o have no plan with regard to innovation is not an option at all. Innovation strategy must be long term, innovation management should be embedded structurally and functionally, innovation leadership should support the ability of people to engage in innovation creativity as part of the overall innovation culture.
The function of innovation ecosystems is to enable innovation and ensure there is leadership facilitating innovation and with oversight of the innovation process.
Changes and ideally innovations can be discovered or built in any number of areas across a business – ops, processes like sales, distribution or customer experience and communications, service model, collaboration and community, analytics, for example using data in the organisation to realise underserved needs and find ways to meet them.
People innovations are always an opportunity when revisiting operating models because building innovation capability in organisations is wholly dependent on people. People, of course will discover and apply these innovations and are most affected by it, especially if the innovations are founded in higher efficiency and increased productivity. Metrics based improvements to performance and quality also have impacts on people but are often the first areas that are looked to for innovation. Innovation capability models and frameworks that have people at their centre are much less likely to cannibalise their largest assets (people) and their most valuable customer experience and engagement model components.
With this in mind, effective ecosystems for building and capturing this value will come from preparing and instituting certain enablers within your business to enable any kind of innovation to not to be stillborn. Iconify is the innovation consultancy to engage for innovation strategy. We take a wide lens to coming up with solutions that are business driven, people centric and interested in the link between innovation and entrepreneurship and exactly how we could exploit those opportunities where they exist in your people.
We help businesses build innovation ecosystems to enable and facilitate their adoption, use and inception of innovation across People, Technology, Culture, Leadership and Environments.
Passionate about innovating, finding new solutions for old problems, new markets and methods, we will help your organisation explore innovation potential and build an innovation capability to exploit upcoming trends with ease and confidence.