Innovation in the Era of Convergence – a Chinese perspective

by pearl zhu

Innovation in the Era of Convergence - a Chinese perspectiveInnovation is like a plant, and your culture is the fertilized soil, helping it grow and mature; If innovation is like light, then culture is an open window, letting the light shine through; If innovation like a blue ocean, then culture is the sail, to drive the boat into the right direction, if innovation is like a green mountain, then culture is a holy trail, lifting you up with strength.  You can perceive innovation via thousands of lenses, and you may pursue innovation via many different ways.

Culture is always the most invisible but the best elastic strings to connect all the innovation treasures, to let your organization survive in the age of petabytes, and allowing your business to thrive at the age of convergence:

1. Convergence of Machine Intelligence & Human Wisdom

Technology becomes smarter, faster and better everyday, the intelligence lines between machine and human start blurring, however, innovation & intuition still make human wisdom more superior and substantial:

1) Disrupt Complacency Culture: Human need to be fearless in ideation, look beyond the limit towards boundless opportunities and possibilities.. ability to Dream Big;

2) Discover the new venture Culture:  Innovation is doing the same thing in a different way in order to achieve a different goal…

3) Demonstrate Cognitive Wisdom: Innovation is a mindset and a sustainability imperative.

2. Convergence of “Hard” Science & “Soft Science”

Hard science disciplines such as engineering and math are well blending with soft science such as psychology or sociology to shape the new generation of advanced analytics tools, the professionals with cross-disciplined expertise may help businesses to see the “art of possible”:

1) Debunk the myths of innovation culture: Innovation is end to end process which can be managed.

2) DNA of enterprise: innovation is not just an R&D issues, it should be in everyone’s DNA in the enterprise

3) Decode the Value of Business: Innovation is the consequence of the implementation of a VALUE PROPOSITION, you innovate only when you create value to your customer in less time and with less cost, also benefit for your community, society and people.

3 Convergence of Multi-Generational, Multi-Cultural, Multi-Geo Workforces

Forward-looking business has the most dynamic and diversified workforce than ever, multi-generational, multi-cultural, and multi-geographical people work together, to craft synergy via modern communication tools and advanced technology:

1) Democratized Leadership Culture: inspire Deep thought leadership and Diverse opinion, innovation spirit comes from top.

2) Dedicated Working Culture: Innovation takes attitude, to make it accessible. It takes confidence, patience and perseverance.

3) Dynamic Team Culture: looking at something with new lens, seeing an opportunity and acting on it. De-Contaminate conventional thinking

4. Convergence of “Big Data” with Operational Data
So-Lo-Mo: social, mobile, location based technologies lead us into the new digital era, the unstructured data are overwhelmingly coming from multi-channel communication with customers, partners and employees, compared to business’s internal transactional data, the characteristic of big data is volume, velocity and variety. The convergence of big data with operational data will transform organizational culture into:

1) Data-Oriented Culture: streamline data driven decision making, data algorithm is embedded into business process to manage innovations via Discipline.

2) Delight Customer Culture: promise as practical and ingenious solutions that help the customer succeed. The boundaries of the corporation become fluid and permeable integration gives way to orchestration

3) Determination of whether tackling these islands of data/information is included in and cross the enterprise strategy through an enterprise information management program

5. Convergence of Business & Technology

Today’s information technology is no longer just a support function, it becomes pervasive in contemporary businesses, permeate into every corner of business:

1) De-bottleneck the business process Culture: innovation need be treated as an end-to-end process subject to performance optimization by adopting proven methods orchestration. Successful orchestrators possess powerful brands and use them to retain control of the lion’s share of an industry’s value

2) Depoliticize working Culture: dismantle bureaucracy, solve business problems via multi-dimensional thinking & multiple choice of solutions, think out of the box, pack it in a new box which then creates a new innovative idea.

3) Design Thinking Culture: Innovation through: technology, materials, design and sourcing is our daily bread.

6. Convergence of Enterprise IT & Consumerization of IT

Bring Your Own Device or “BYOD” phenomenon well reflects the trend, we are entering the new age-the convergence of enterprise IT & consumerization of IT, it blurs the line between professional life and personal life, it also transforms the monolithic enterprise IT infrastructure into mosaic digital backbone, and catalyze the new business culture:

1) Decentralized Working Environment & Culture: People can work anytime, anywhere, to access any necessary information to create any innovative idea now.

2) DIY-Do it Yourself culture: Technology also enables workforce self-service, self-organizing and even self-managing, well-equipped staff sparks Innovative ideas on the daily bases, via Differentiated “Can Do” attitude and style

3) Co-Develop innovation with partners outside organization: today’s business is without border, sustainable innovation means product and service need be improved via continuous conversation and open loop feedback from customers and partners.

7. Convergence of Enterprise Risk Control, Governance & Security

The more open business becomes, the more risks it will face, ‘firewall” mechanism is no longer sufficient enough to protect multitude of risks organization take today, the holistic thinking about risk management, governance and security is strategic imperative via supportive cultures such as:

1) Diagnose Root Cause Culture: Deep think about any sophisticated issues facing business today, Dig into the root cause and deduce the logic steps to fix it;

2) Dispassionately Examine the Alternatives Culture: Deploy the solutions via innovative approach, to quote Einstein: we can not solve the problem with the same thinking when create it.

3) Deliver Result via Dependable Metrics & Measurement Culture: We can only manage what we measure, the innovation can be calculated not for perfection, but for progression.

Hopefully multi-dimensional cultural perspectives brainstormed above help boost your business’s innovation maturity level, and leapfrog the business innovation capabilities.

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Innovation in the Era of Convergence - a Chinese perspectivePearl Zhu is President at Brobay Corporation, a global e-commerce & procurement service provider. A former  Analyst/Designer at Hewlett Packard Corporation, she focuses on Business Start-up, Strategic Global Marketing Management, Product Line Marketing, Revenue Growth, E-Commerce, Software Development, Hi-Tech Product Benchmark Management and Strategic Business Relationships. You can follow her on Twitter @pearl_zhu.

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