Touching on the Human Network

I must admit that I am influenced to a great extent by the Tim Kastellle’s November 22, 2010 edition on the Blogging Innovation site (http://www.business-strategy-innovation.com/wordpress/2010/11/the-innovation-matrix/). However, I have a slightly different take on the Innovation Matrix and here it is:

 

The intersection of Innovation Energy & Excellence defines Innovation Maturity

 

 

Whether it is an organization or an individual, the intersection at which energy meets excellence defines the maturity of innovation for them. As indicative in the above illustration, the state of energy is never the same. There needs to be a conscious continuous effort to move from the unconscious to the conscious state of energy while simultaneously aiming to make it a way of life and make every outcome an innovative one; that contributes to the “new” . This constant and consistent renewal of the new becomes a way of life otherwise known as cultural discipline that marks the difference between winners and losers. The new is the growth sometimes replacing and at other times replenishing the existing which constitutes innovation. In other words, the mind to market (a new business model) and time to market (a revised business concept) is both equally important; to grow and sustain.

 

Growing Business is a Continuous Process

 

 

A lot is being made of technology facilitating innovation. But the core message of this edition is to impress upon you that no technology is ever in itself sufficient to increase the “Quality of Life”; which should be the very purpose of innovation. In the innovation equation, it is the people first and the technology next and in this case, it is sequential progression. Because, design is paramount and this is based in Thinking and not just in Doing. Culture which is defined as Values, Beliefs and Assumptions defines how an individual, family, organization, society or the world thinks about a particular context and this in turn influences the action in the form of Invention, Innovation and Improvisation of products and services. As the above illustration suggests, both the thinking and doing together deliver New Products and Services, New Markets & Customers and New Distribution & Reach through each cycle.

Companies such as Google and Amazon easily qualify in the bracket of those whose outcomes hinge on their culture being an innovative one. Their businesses and their talent will be hard to sustain if they are not fed on the challenge to consistently re-define their DNA structure. One clear litmus test that allows them to categorized so is the constant ability to encompass and deliver to growing customer aspirations or even creating customer aspirations without any considerable dysfunction to their business organization. Not to be picking, but can an organization such as Apple claim to be on the same level? There is no doubt about the fact that they have produced some wonderfully designed products. However, why is it that it took them so long to just build / acquire the catalog for popular music in US alone? How come they are not prepared for an Indian market or a Chinese market where the repertoire for music and the audience for an Apple product far outreaches that of the entire Western World? Or why is it that GE’s medical electronics still not affordable on a large scale in developing economies where the need for cheaper healthcare is greater than that of developed nations? L’Oreal states in its quest and strategy for a billion new consumers of its products says “the genomics boom, progress in stem cells, biphonotics and reconstructed skin; numerous technological and scientific advances have allowed the Group to further its knowledge, identify new cellular targets and better decode skin (and hair’s) ageing mechanisms in order to predict even earlier and more effectively”. And yet, it repackages Ammonia free hair color as a new product in the developing market which has been available in salons at considerable branding, advertising and marketing costs without much consideration for new market pricing. The examples can go on and these are by no means any judgment or commentary on how these companies are led and managed. It is just that, there is still a yawning gap between the outcome of innovation and the claims of the business enterprise. Enterprise Leadership  needs to dedicate a focused approach  to connecting the crossing points of energy and excellence demonstrably in their Balanced Score Cards; that delivers Value to their Customer Universe including Customers / Consumers, Business Partners, Stakeholders, Shareholders, Business Partners, Vendors and Societies in which their business operates; Mutually Inclusively.  The idea of participating in a brain surgery conducted by surgeons across the world is very romantic. However for it to be an often experienced reality, the eco-system needs to be built before the product is advertised and costs in each market needs to be made affordable with a sufficient economic cross-section of customers / consumers willing to pay for the innovative products and services. I am eagerly looking forward for the “Human Network” to be embedded into the daily applications of life since I believe that Telepresence will be the most defining and game changing innovation of this decade.

Internet will become 100 times more powerful and access to healthcare and investment for entrepreneurs in developing countries will become a near opportunity than a distant dream in developing rural locations. For this to happen, the entire scores of people need to be oriented to a new culture and allowed to participate. This will be a revolution and therefore it would be rather silly to promote it as “a tool for savings on travel”.

 

About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
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