The subject of Innovation is like short skirts; it keeps coming in and going out of fashion is how one of the earlier annual reports of McKinsey’s Annual Global Survey on innovation started. And times have changed. From being a fashion, the maturity on innovation seems to have further advanced to the realization that it is an absolute necessity for the enterprise. It remains to be seen whether this realization is a fashion or something more substantial will come out of it.
This edition of the blog is essentially dedicated to summarizing the findings of the research conducted by leading consulting firms such as Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in association with Business Week, McKinsey and Booz & Co. The overwhelming theme that emerges is “Growth” and hopefully the realization includes the understanding that Growth of an enterprise can happen only from its core process which necessarily translates into finding new products, services and / or processes, new markets, new customers, and newer demographies and psychographies.
As the illustration above demands, in order for Osmotic Results (Bridging the gap between potential and performance) to happen on a continuous basis, the mapping of the customer / consumer aspirations with the business enterprise right down to process and individuals is a foundational necessity. “GLOCAL” (Global + Local) is the call where enterprise have to learn to be agile Globally and Locally. It is not the same as the earlier fashion statement “ Think Global and Act Local”. It is Think & Act Globally and Locally with the same agitility. Where Agility is not just speed; it includes Insight and Experiencing. Technology is an important element of Innovation (Not Innovation itself) and this must be used judiciously to implement a Real Time Enterprise (RTE) that is intuituve to the aspirations of its customers and interactive in experience.
The message is clear. It is time we stopped skirting around the topic of innovation and got serious about building capabilities in the enterprise as a core strategic activity. It must become a part of the culture of the enterprise; embedded in the Values, Beliefs and Assumptions of the people of the enterprise.
The following are the ten major inferences from all the research sources mentioned:
- For Innovation to succeed, it has to be a continuous process and not a discrete event. The continuity needs to be formalized and supported in enterprises and individuals but the actual process of innovation itself must be informal to allow creativity.
- Innovation must necessarily be reflected in the core process of an enterprise contributing to growth indicated through New Products, New Processes, New Services generating New Customers, New Demographies / Psychographie of Customers, New Markets and therefore New Revenues.
- Innovation must be measurable and the organization needs to see an energetic Innovation Index to motivate and drive continuous innovation.
- Mind 2 Market and Time 2 Market are both important in the Innovation Life Cycle of an enterprise and / or an individual and these need external help and support with respect to process components, services and platform for process improvement and deployment.
- Ideation is only one component of the Innovation lifecycle and cannot be restricted to the boundaries of an enterprise alone. It should be extended across the value chain enabled by collaborative social computing. Innovation can be successful when the entire value chain is collaborative and participative in the processes facilitated by the right insights and the right amount of learning that produces capabilities.
- Project selection is a major element that defines the success of innovation within an enterprise or at an individual level. Prioritization should be guided by strategic alignment at the enterprise and business unit level as well as with the value chain to drive contextual and critical decisions. An integrated approach to Transformation / Change, Program and Project Management is critical for Innovation to succeed economically in shorter time cycles.
- In these times when resources and money are not infinite and shareholders / stakeholders patience is at a minimum, it is extremely important to be judicious with their use. Global perspective and design thinking must clearly drive innovation to optimize results.
- Partnering is key to the success of commercialization of innovation and there must be an active effort to find long term partnerships that facilitate the process of innovation and business processes continuously without causing any dysfunction to operations.
- Technology and its business applications is key to the success of the innovation experience of customers and consumers and it must be effectively incorporated into the operational processes to facilitate value creation reflected in continual optimization of Quality, Cost, Delivery, Service and Flexibility (Reach). The foundational elements of the enterprise architecture must be able to accommodate multiple cycles of Innovation repeatedly at the rate of speed and time of the Industry and environment aspirations; not just expectations.
- Last but not the least, People are centric to Innovation. Their learning and adaptability should drive Demand Creation and Management; Talent Management and Customer Development must be key continuous activities at the core of the innovation life cycle of an enterprise or an individual. Innovation will not succeed continuously if it is not seeded in the Culture of an enterprise which in turn elicits participation within the enterprise as well in the customer universe of the enterprise.