Living in a more Darwinian world
I’d suggest that today innovation is caught up in the survival race, where the bolder ones are more innovation fit and pulling further ahead. We need many more organizations to get out of this survival trap and exploiting innovation in bolder ways, become fitter in their innovating purpose.
So much of what we do actually is ‘static’ work, activities that are simply repeating what we have done time and time again, gaining us little new knowledge and offering poor value creating worth. These activities on their own keeps us happily ‘treading water’ and does the job of locking us comfortably into the ‘efficient and effectiveness clan mindset that most business organizations like to be ^keep us all constantly working within.
The harsh reality is this is becoming a very crowded, increasing uncomfortable place to be, as we reduce our capabilities to take risk, too invest, to take those decisions that create more radical innovation. If we don’t offer value creation, we become increasingly unattractive and not regarded as essential, simply disposable. The more we play ‘safe’ the more we run the risk of being disrupted. We are failing to leverage much of the liberating power within innovation. Is our business world today is it so predictable? No, it is well and truly ‘dynamic’ and evolving.
There is an awful lot of creative destruction going on and I’ve also written previously about the Innovation Era: Creative Destruction or Destructive Creation where the replacement rate is constantly speeding up, we are facing more uncertainly and incoherence than ever.
We need to place the emphasis back on the “creative” innovation part and not the ‘destructive’ nature we have been moving towards recently. To achieve this we need to understand innovation far better than we currently do. This is partly where my exploring the dynamics of innovation through fitness landscapes comes in.
What we do need to do is constantly evolve our innovation capabilities to perform in more dynamic and flexible ways. We need to acquire that consistent aim of achieving a more adaptable and adjusting approach to innovation in all its parts. We need to meet the changing circumstances and challenges we are all facing to regain the real growth needed from our economies and organizations, making what we do at the same time, more sustainable. Delivering better innovation outcomes is central to this task.
Knowing your innovation ‘stock’ and ‘capital’ potential
So what do we need to do?
We need to know our ‘innovation stock’, a large part of our wealth generating capital and where it can be best put to use. We are valuing the knowledge perspective far more and with this we are increasingly recognizing the importance of the intellectual capital that makes up the organization.
We certainly need to re-think many of the old world value delivery systems to assess organizations and make much more of a concerted effort to make innovation that renders different, unique value outcomes, that keep pushing the boundaries of strategic advantage within any business.
We need to ‘master’ our understanding of the skills, processes, routines, organizational structure and disciplines that enable firms to build, employ and orchestrate innovation as this is increasingly needed for participating in more complex open collaboration efforts. To achieve this, we first need to know ourselves and our capability to innovate, both the strengths and weaknesses.
Each organization does needs to know its innovation fitness to thrive in the future
We are searching for what makes up the present system and what needs to be part of the future to create a ‘best’ innovation capability environment that is sustaining into the longer-term. We need to find those capabilities that can be continually ‘orchestrated’ so they can be constantly adapted to meet the strategic need.
We are striving towards a true ‘innovation coherency premium’ in design, knowing what makes up your core dynamic components and how to bring them together for greater value-generating productive use. The outcomes of knowing where to invest, what to dampen down and what aspects can evolve naturally and be ‘taken along’ as you focus upon the ones that are more dynamic and relevant to your innovation needs is critical to understand and manage.
No journey is without pitfalls
Finding the dynamic capabilities of innovation that ‘fit’ with the strategic needs of each organization will be different based on their own respective challenges and position. We need to stop simply copying others and create our own ‘dynamics’ to strengthen our own unique advantage points for sustaining our future.
Do you want to become innovation fit?
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Paul 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.