What is innovation?
There are several definitions of innovation but while innovation can be radical, breakthrough or incremental, innovation outcomes in established business models are likely to be incremental. Organisational attitudes to innovation and creation within the organisation also have a lot to do with the issues described above.
There are also several models of innovation including ‘shocks’ and directional proliferation of ideas but there is also a partial or limited understanding of the innovation process, per Joe Tidd, all of which contribute to challenges in incepting innovation frameworks.
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 explosive and exponential.
However, if an innovation mindset exists or can be made to exist, and innovation 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.
Why Innovation Ecosystems?
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 under-served 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 innovation 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.