In my talks, I like to get into discussions on why we need to update our mindset and key skills in order to become successful at innovation. Below, I have given a couple of reasons as well as some suggestions on the key skills we need to develop.
The world order is changing. The Western world faces formidable challenges in almost all aspects whereas many emerging countries seem to have a bright future. This has lots of implications. I like how this video captures this:
A creative destruction of the organizational setup, technologies and business models has begun at many companies. They have learned the hard way that what they have in place today will not work for a future that is running at a faster and faster pace.
Change also happens faster. The people working with innovation often view change as a familiar friend, but the intensity can be a surprise. In a great blog post by Debra Lavoy, we get some good insights from John Seely Brown on this. He notes that the pace of change is now such that we can never again expect to have a status quo to maintain, that its not just constant evolution, but frequent revolution – a pattern of constant, punctuated equilibrium.
Another element is that ideas can come from everywhere. Customers don’t care. This forces many corporate innovation people to become facilitators and integrators with a strong focus on getting the best out the combination of internal and external resources.
You need a broad mindset and many skills in order to become a successful innovator, but I would in particular like to point out three things that are essential; holistic approach, networking and communication.
A holistic approach to innovation starts internally where you need to ensure that innovation happens across different business functions and goes beyond just products and technologies. On the latter, I find great inspiration in the Ten Types of Innovation framework by Doblin. There should be no need to say that we need to continue the open innovation movement giving external contributions increasing attention.
Networking will become a key element in the future of innovation. This goes for individuals as well as organizations. If you are not a good networker or in a team with good networkers, you will have increasing difficulties in turning your ideas, visions, products and services into reality and prosperity. If your organization does not have a networking strategy and infrastructure in place, this important element of innovation will be left to serendipity.
During the innovation process itself, we need to become better at communicating our vision, ideas and messages. We need to become better at selling them internally as well as to our external partners. As an example on this, you should check the videos on Elevator Speech. This give a good idea on how difficult it can be to deliver consistent messages in a way that our intended recipients understand.
It would be great to hear your comments.
Stefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation