What are the new paradigms in innovation?

by Paul Hobcraft

What are the new paradigms in innovation?There are some huge shifts taking place across innovation activities. The simple fact that innovation has been thrown open and organizations and individuals can simply explore outside their existing paradigms is offering us something we have yet to fully grasp and leverage. This is a W-I-P for us all.

Secondly innovation is simply getting faster, better is another story, but it is expected to move from idea or concept to final launch in ever decreasing compressed time

As they say ‘you can’t have one without the other’. Open innovation is potentially allowing for this compression of time but where we still ‘lag’ is within our organizations to reap the rewards. Why? We are still stuck in the previous structures, systems and processes designed for internal developments that were designed for different times.

We need two really critical things really fast.

The speed of change needs agility. We need to learn to adapt, anticipate and lead change before change leads us. Building an agile company to manage the enormous unpredictability and creative destruction going on around us is an absolute must.

Secondly we need to recognize that the capabilities and skills needed to manage in this rapidly shifting world must be different from many we provide and train into our people today. We need more ‘dynamic capabilities’: the ability to understand what is needed and apply these capabilities to the challenges on hand.

The past has simply flashed before our eyes

When you stop and think, after you have captured your breath, just reflect on what has happened in the last thirty years of where we have placed our emphasis within innovation

Firstly we focused on efficiency through innovation, then we applied quality to the process, then we introduced flexibility (leaner supply chains, smarter product processes) and recently we have moved to a more open innovation. This rapid movement or compression of innovation has been demanding, many simply have not kept up, or simply never changed and faded away

What is the future in any innovation focus?

We have skirted design innovation, we still attempt to link product and service, we are building more stand alone business models and we are experimenting with social media that seems to becoming established as Social product innovation – the practice of leveraging Social Computing principles and technologies to support the product development process, innovation and business goals, programs and resources. We are also striving to manage collaborative platforms, so as to manage projects that offer scale and market shifting paradigms. There is a giant mash up going on or mess up perhaps?

Disruptive, Radical and Volatile seems a reality

We seem to be heading into a real storm of change. Change brought on by over consuming, disposing quickly and demanding even faster, better, more improved products at ever lowering prices. This is not just a race to the bottom where commoditization lurks but where we simply will exhaust our resources, our planet and ourselves. We are facing some very unsettling times and we need to get equipped to deal with them fast in agile ways through new capabilities and competencies.

There is a race we are all in where eventually no-one wins. We need to change the race.

We do need a ‘real’ paradigm shift.

The problem is nothing stops, it simply keeps moving at ever increasing pace. We can’t consolidate, we can’t experiment as much as we would like and we can’t wait and see. We are all learning by doing and to do this we need to be highly agile, amass new capabilities and competences as we go- often on the fly, often by the seat of our pants. Innovation has become our treadmill perhaps. Can we afford to get off? To make a real paradigm shift?

What would that be? Any thoughts?

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Paul HobcraftPaul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities.

No comments

  1. Paul–you raise several excellent points about the challenges resulting from the speed of innovation. As a recent graduate, I can attest to how dizzying it is to catch up with the innovation ‘conversation,’ so to speak.

    To answer your question of paradigms:

    I believe veteran innovators often lose sight of the philosophical side of innovation, because we are hurled so quickly into the heat of urgent problems. As a result, many of us fail to ask the same existential questions of business that we ask of ourselves when determining our own values, morals, and actions.

    While many of these questions are being answered, such as determining what role businesses should play in helping society (corporate social responsibility)–thousands of others lurk behind every decision that every manager makes about every product launch. Issues such as truth in marketing, product footprint, and even product attributes are all extensions of a business’ values.

    Many people would argue that philosophizing about business is a waste of time. But I believe the truth is actually quite the opposite. In our personal lives, knowing our values and principles is an immeasurably valuable heuristic for daily decision making. In the same way, taking the time to look at innovation from a more holistic, philosophical viewpoint can help us make better decisions about what to act on, experiment with, and avoid–in the face of constant change and in the face of limited time. We can become become more agile in decision making because we have a clearer long-term picture in mind.

    I’d like to invite you to explore these existential questions of business with me–I started a blog for that very purpose. Otherwise, I hope you’ll accept my challenge to pick up some decidedly ‘non-business’ literature and see how the concepts might be applied to innovation.

    Cheers!

  2. What helps us make a paradigm shift?

    Do we need to change the race we are all currently in or see the race differently?

    In Langdon Morris’s new book “The Innovation Master Plan” he suggests four broad categories, all of them essential to our efforts to create the future through innovation:
    • An understanding of the new technological possibilities that are embodied in new scientific discoveries, developments and methods
    • Knowledge of business practices across all disciplines
    • An understanding of how society and its markets are evolving
    • Plus a view of future wants, and motivation of current and future customers as well as their beliefs and attitudes, focusing especially on new or previously hidden insights.

    He suggests all four of these factors will converge to define changes in existing markets as well as new white space opportunities where new markets are already developing or are likely to develop.

    I find this as a useful lens for our searches. What do you think?

  3. Innovate, or else you will be history ! goes the saying. Todays challenge to all innovators is to keep pace thru innumerable technological and conusmer changes that takes place across us every day every minute..with the media and internet boom, every voice or experience is being shared across globe in few seconds…This has an huge impact on innovations that do not add value to the consumer. Keeping the consumer in mind and delivering easy_ to_ go solutions to his issues for long period to come is one way I look at delivering innovations. These could live to the times to come and get recored in history as great innovations…Innovators has to break mind set of short term gains and look out for longterm benefits for users.

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