There are so many books out there on innovation that it sometimes gets just hard to decide which to buy and read, to invest time into. I’ve got a growing stack of books sitting on my coffee table or in my e-reader file all shouting “read me, read me!”
Well one I recently finished has been one of those rare books that got the Paul Hobcraft treatment; considerable underlining, scribbles in the margins, circles around some pages that I want to refer back too as quickly as I can. You can never achieve that same sense of ‘ownership’ and possession through the e-reader can you, or am I missing something there?
So the book that joined that elite pantheon to the innovation gods on my top shelf was one written by Yves Doz and Keeley Wilson entitled Managing Global Innovation – frameworks for integrating capabilities around the World printed by Harvard Business Review Press. I really recommend it.
The Key to bridging your Global Innovation Gap
The book is all about providing the understanding of integrating your global resources to build and leverage a global innovation network. I think it does a good job in explaining the different parts, the considerations and the tougher aspects of making this work for you.
Ok, I’m a sucker when it starts off by discussing the innovation challenges, then starts climbing into chapters on optimizing the innovation footprint, then discussing critical issues like communications, receptivity and then how to organize for global projects focusing on collaborative and integrated innovation, it does draw you in to trigger your thinking. I think this book will be more than helpful in thinking and recognizing those gaps within your present operations if global innovation and integrating is part of your focus.
Triggering thoughts to manage global innovation
Why it is one of those books for me is where it keeps coming back and placing the focus, on knowledge attainment, seeking out receptivity, transferring and integrating complex and codified knowledge. The book does take you through a different level of journey and understanding to add a whole lot more in my own thinking around these essential areas to understand. Add in collaborative diffusion, building distributed innovation ecosystems, compatible strategic ambitions; cultural compatibility and discussing the interdependencies all challenge your thinking.
As the authors nicely sum up in Chapter 7 it is how the behaviour of decision makers needs to move from that in-built notion of “being successful by competing” on their individual level and changing their mindset for more collaborative innovation across this diverse and global network.
The authors suggest the right new way of managing is to adopt and sustain through constant practice and having a positive reinforcement of what makes for successful collaborations. I’d also add that ability to experiment, to learn from others around you constantly and recognizing ‘winning and being successful’ is not reliant on just yourself, it is leveraging everything that is all around you that builds your experience and knowledge.
Globally Integrated Innovation
We live in a world of huge diversity and dispersion of knowledge. There is a growth and constant push into new markets, emerging new competitors that are increasingly challenging us to find solutions to this management of global networks, both inside and outside our organizations in more integrative approaches to capture the ‘best’ of innovation.
Today’s present structures of the innovation organization, the systems required, the processes, the diversity of cultures, different mindsets and the focus on extracting the best from this mix of structure and resources is hard and complex.
The authors argue the scope and scale of the tasks should not become an impediment to action and suggest three dimensions of change to help in this. I’ll leave you to search for these. They warn there is one huge caveat to achievement. Senior management’s vision, their commitment and attention to this will not achieve this globally integrated network alone. It is the recognition that failure to implement strategic change is often this lack of buy-in from groups of middle managers who remain happy with the status-quo or unaware of the need and rationale for the required change.
These gaps within organizations are due to the lack of dialogue, openly discussing threats and challenges and being inclusive in the implementation. This took me back, again, to my own arguments and suggested solutions to bridge that gap, through the Executive Innovation Work Mat.
Knowledge is increasingly dispersed
We return to knowledge in the wrap up within the book, where the authors have identified five radical shifts taking place that will lead to greater knowledge diffusion and diversity: 1) globalization and the opening of new markets; 2) increasing technological complexity and convergence; 3) demographic changes; 4) greater external pressures, in particular environmental concerns (and scarcity); 5) offshore outposts and outsourcing.
Knowing what makes up the complexities of global innovation and managing and harnessing this in dispersed networks is a real challenge and there is no better place to start than in picking up a copy of this book and working through it thoughtfully and thoroughly, to “organize, build and manage a global innovation capability from design to execution”
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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.