Tag Archives: australia

The Hot topic of Collaboration and Innovation

22 Mar

Collaboration is, apparently, a hot topic of discussion in Innovation these days. Not that it’s all that new – but it certainly is hot. More than a passing trend, it’s surely just a concept whose time has finally come after years of flirting with the edges of corporate credibility.

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Now, the drive toward a more socialized business structure is firmly on course thanks to the penetration of Web2.0 technologies not just through business, but through our personal lives too – the resulting effect being a gradual cultural change towards accepting a universe where the exchange of information and knowledge in a seamless, timeless, and social manner is quickly becoming “the way we do things”.

Organisations have been quick to join the initiative as visible value is finally being derived from social collaborative initiatives – and corporate innovation processes have been at the forefront of those driving that value. As a result, collaboration practices are now considered “de rigeur” for any innovation program looking to be taken seriously by corporate executives and shareholders alike.

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Though there are some contradictions, whilst collaboration may well be the “new hot thing”, in most organisations, its use is still very limited – even within innovation functions – where it can be most commonly found on either “end” of the innovation process.

It would certainly be interesting to explore how some of the more innovative firms are incorporating Collaboration as part of their overall innovation strategy. It would be interesting to know if it is constructive of obstructive in nature for an organisation’s innovation.

Saludo,

From Melbourne Australia

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Ivan Silva

The Orakul

Diversity importance in innovation

19 Mar

In the past few weeks, through a combination of personal and professional experiences,  I have been reminded of one of the most important aspects of innovation – the need for diversity in an innovation program. Let me explain:

Whilst you should strive to make innovation a repeatable, sustainable process, that doesn’t mean it should be executed like an automaton. Khan and Al-Ansari (2005) point out that many innovation strategies ultimately fail because they don’t understand that they simply can’t rely on a single reliable process to last the organisation forever. There are 3 main reasons for this are:

1)   Innovation is about solving problems – identifying, defining, and solving problems that will drive new growth opportunities for your organisation.  Problems are mostly unique and offer individual challenges that need to be understood and overcome – and whilst most can frequently be tackled in more than one way, to rely on one single methodology to tackle all of them is not ideal.

2)   Innovation is a highly human intensive process, relying on creative and constructive contributions from a wide variety of sources – employees, managers, customers, and others. With that in mind, we are subject to the subtle whims of the human creative and motivational processes.  In other words – people get bored Schweizer (2006).

People can just get creatively exhausted. Keep asking the same subset of people a continuous stretch of questions and you may notice participation slowly, and sometimes dramatically, fall off. No matter how important the topic, people reach the limits of their creative thought endurance.

3)   Modern day Innovation is also no longer the domain of a few “elite”, but rather an expectation of many. Modern organizations are now expected to run an innovation program that is no longer confined to one part of your company like R&D, but reaches out across all aspects of its business in search of the next big thing that will enable the company to obtain strategic competitive advantage in the market.  And that reach may not necessarily stop at the traditional corporate walls, but extend to a global audience with the understanding that the best solution to your problems will frequently lie outside of those walls.

What that means is that organizations are now talking. They are talking to a variety of people – some internal, some external, some trusted, some unknown – each of which should be handled in a different manner in order to obtain ideal collaborative input from them. Organisations are using blogs forums and social media networks to reach out to people, to advertise their products and people.

It’s an interesting paradox though how many in the innovation industry, an area that endeavors to bring a state of constant (but controlled) change into organizations, don’t consider the necessity for that same state in some of their very own innovation programs.

Khan, M. & Al-Ansari, M. (2005). Sustainable innovation as a corporate strategy, The Triz Journal, http://www.triz-journal.com/archives/2005/01/02.pdf

Schweizer, T.S. (2006). The Psychology of Novelty-Seeking, Creativity and Innovation: Neurocognitive Aspects Within a Work-Psychological Perspective, Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 15 (2), p.p. 164-172.

Ivan in Melbourne March 2010

The Orakul

Monash University