How 2017 will Accelerate and Deliver the New Innovation Era

by Paul Hobcraft

Tracking Trends - Six Essential Steps for Spotting Your Next OpportunitySo what are the critical paths of the New Innovation Era?

It is the powerful effects of different conditions, solutions and forces combining that will deliver the new innovation era in accelerated forms in 2017.

We have a perfect merging of conditions that will have a transforming storm effect on innovation that are converging rapidly so please be ready to clear that existing agenda of innovations within your present (very) linear pipeline and be prepared to rework the entire innovation space in different “connecting” innovating ways..

The powerful world of collaborative tools

The explosion of innovation’s collaborative tools in recent years has certainly been transforming. The broader options of communication means, the choice of apps and software, the growing use of the cloud are allowing us to think differently, we are connecting more. Yet for innovation, it continues to be having a transforming effect, even when the solutions are applied through a very cumbersome innovation system that still is far too manual

The adoption of Lean and Agile, equally of Design Thinking, of being encouraged to invest in rapid experimentation and build prototypes that can quickly advance understanding of customer need, design it quickly and then quickly test how it will provide value in the marketplace, seeking to improve its final design and functionality, is accelerating innovation. We are encouraging more innovation hacks, providing different designs of crowdsourcing for funding, ideas, and understanding.

We are designing a host of easy to use canvases or work mat’s to frame the problem or challenge and then go out and work through a whole customer validation journey, testing the hypotheses and learning to pivot constantly to give us a higher level of fluidity and understanding. This is becoming the accepted way to innovate and confirm the business opportunities.

We are establishing living labs, innovation centers of excellence and having increased access to a vast array of collaborative design tools. Technology is allowing us to build through 3D printing, we can synthesize and trial in faster ways through new design and portability. The power of computer graphics, modeling and simulation are moving at a real speed of advancement. We can rapidly design software to capture the knowledge we need and we can exploit the power of “apps” in quick and purposefully designed ways to do a specific job

There is a whole world of collaborative tools that are intent on speeding up the innovation process but we have not yet fully mastered these and built our complete toolkit. It needs a base.

Platforms, ecosystems, and customer experiences will become central in 2017

If we do recognize all the above forces are converging, then innovation does become central to what we do. Yet in a complex world, we need to learn how to collaborate and network among our peers and with our consumers. This needs technology, digital and designs that we are determining are based around platforms and ecosystems.

Ecosystems are needed to be formed

Today individual organization resources are simply not good enough to compete in what you own it is how, where and what you can access. It is the tapping into new or different skills, deep, specialized knowledge and those fresh perspectives to alter the thinking, changing the impossible into the possible, through these connections.

Ecosystems can provide this connectivity coalescing around a common purpose. Competition and co-dependency are blurring, we are seeking the best source of knowledge, even with those one-time major competitor can now become a partner, to combine different parts of a puzzle to offer increased value to the consumer. It is all about challenging the business model constantly and searching for different possibilities that can provide a new competitive advantage, ecosystems can help in achieving these.

The combination effect provides for a greater value creation, it can deliver a far greater collective impact, it allows companies to have focus zones to explore. Ecosystems open up innovation potential; they can co-evolve if they are dynamic and mutually recognize the collaborative value.

Platforms become our new operating base, often becoming the connecting brand

This is the technology infrastructure where producers of knowledge can come together and create new value and equally enables the consumer to become plugged in, contribute and then influence and consumer the value. It is how the parties coalesce around the platform gives it its value as it is the place for interactions.

Platforms bring the knowledge exchange together, in its related architecture lies the ability to perform, reducing tensions, exploring opportunities in collaborative ways. As knowledge is shared and exchanged you have the greater potential to leverage the assets. Utilization of the resources becomes essential to coordinate.

The learning process of shifting onto a platform approach accelerates innovation as opportunities, as we seek to exchange information on an open, collaborative platform as it becomes the place for the exchange of goods, both tangible and intangible and finally an exchange of different forms of currencies.

A good platform requires a high quality of liquidity in content, resources, data, the potential for dollar capture and knowledge flow. It is a place designed to scale, adapt and adjust and be easy to enter, engage and interact. It becomes a true exchange source based on technology design.

The acceleration of our digital transformation

To transform is hard at any time. Today we are grappling with digital transformation, changing, adapting and learning what new technologies can provide. This is stretching many organizations in their beliefs, challenging their existing operating systems and pushing the abilities to transform in ways that minimize disruption. The call is every company should become a “digital consumer company” where it can recognize the shifts taking place and take advantage of them, digitally.

There is a magnitude of the speed of change required. We need to think mobile, digital, cloud and social far more. We need to become increasingly comfortable in all the analytics and big data mining expected to yield new innovation opportunities. Digital transformation will keep pushing us to become even more efficient and effective in what we do but it will equally expect a high level of adroitness and innovation outcomes.

We really don’t know the end game, yet we do have to play the game. This is actually ‘game theory on speed’, where we don’t know where it will all end up as it has some many unpredictable variables all coming into play. What we need to do, to start, is the need to keep believing and pushing in three places of real potential value on where we are positioned today.

Firstly, we need to achieve a greatly enhanced customer relationship, where they are making greater contributions to the ideas of the future to meet their needs. Secondly, we need any digital transformation to provide this deeper streamlining of operational efficiencies and thirdly, to have in place the structure, system and approaches to handle new connected lines of business, different emerging business models all based far more on this digital connectivity and network potential it can provide.

It will be how you connect, translate the technology challenges into winning models and engage with the outside, this is where it will make or break you. As we think the value of technology and digital transformation you will require a digitally ‘connected’ fitness.

Seamless customer experiences are the order of the day

We have been poor at connecting all the touchpoints that customers engage into our organizations, to link them up and provide back more tailored experiences. Customers today expect seamless experiences, supported, maintained and enabled by complex ecosystems of products, services, business models, channels, information, and complementary products and services.

Customers aren’t interested or willing to acquire disparate products and services and integrate them. Increasingly customers prefer to acquire seamless experiences, and this expectation will dramatically change how companies innovate.

For decades, companies have organized around their own products or services. This needs a radical rethink. Rather than “a product produced by us” perhaps we should call the necessary outcome a “whole ecosystem” or “whole experience” as these will have this connected difference.

Now, the innovator must define the totality of the seamless experience and then determine which components or portions his or her company can provide, which of the components or solutions that other companies or partners will provide, and work to ensure that these disparate components, services, business models and information will work seamlessly for the customer.

Moving from the complicated to complex

Innovation has to deliver in all these different forces to satisfy the different opportunities in far better, highly connected ways. This becomes a highly interwoven set of interconnected parts. No one party or organization has a complete map, they must learn to rely upon and collaborative with others.

This needs collaborations and connections to deliver the type of innovation solution expected today – a seamless set of experiences that gives real connected value for the ultimate consumer, rendering what they have as obsolete or dated, as it only achieved one job and not address the multiple jobs that always surround the task on hand.

Our need to building our own portfolio of innovation ecosystems

We are recognizing in multiple ways that ‘innovation ecosystems’ are denoting a departure from an old reality and system of working into a new one. It is often requiring an underlying shift in organizations mainstream thinking from an existing to a new paradigm.

Innovation ecosystems have been ‘constrained’ to date in more geographic, economic, industrial or entrepreneurial terms, often part of economic policy. We have seen successful value in having innovative regions (Silicon Valley, Bangalore), successful ICT platforms (iPhone, Android) or in combining technology companies for establishing new industries (cloud computing) and entrepreneurs clustering together in centers deliberately built up and funded.

Innovation ecosystems are being established that fundamentally are challenging the way we are managing currently and in the future our innovation activities, setting about our innovating of “doing things” in very radically different and more connected ways.

These are progressively dismantling the way innovation is being managed today, and due to this, we require a radical adjustment in our approaches to achieve a far more collaborative one built on innovation ecosystem thinking.

Purposeful Innovation Ecosystems through can liberate, accelerate and realize business options that can have a radical effect on the organization. They can radically shift the core, they can tap into the edge of discovery. Innovation ecosystems today seem to offer a more focused approach to the management of a more radical and increasingly higher collaborative form of innovation.

As our thinking changes to help a new dedicated site has been created here on:

https://ecosystems4innovating.wordpress.com

This is a dedicated blog posting site, for ecosystems, platforms and customer experiences, as it can help you understand and forge a new direction and momentum for innovation to travel, dedicated to the changes occurring.

In Summary

What we will be seeing I am certainly suggesting will be radical in the way we manage innovation. I believe all the forces coming to bear are exactly that, disrupting forces.

They will require an awful lot of management’s attention in 2017 to steer and manage for tapping into real growth that is not just expected but required from our innovation activities as the expectations are rising everywhere.
image credit: innovationsource.com

 

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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. Find him @paul4innovating

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