Over the last few years, innovation has become a ubiquitous branding tool. Whether you are a blue-chip company or a local start-up, innovation has entered the everyday lexicon of CEOs and administrative staff. Compared to prior marketing trends, innovation is not a passive buzzword—it is critical to the success of your company.
Think of the future. Go on! Now tell me honestly what is the furthest point in time that you imagined. If it was three years then I’m not surprised. After all, in business three seems almost to be some sort of talisman. We have three year business plans, 2-3 year product development cycles and of course there is that ubiquitous interview question about where you see yourself in three year’s time.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, research and development was a highly guarded and elite practice. Imagine laboratories peopled by white-coated scientists who had passwords to protect the doors to their office. This kind of research and innovation was highly successful for a long time – it gave us electrocardiography, DNA fingerprinting, and many Apple products.
This article relates selected multidirectional patterns of change—“force fields”—in the business environment to innovation strategy within the context of Zen philosophical principles. Three force fields are selected for brief evaluation: 1) domestic vs. global markets, 2) economic growth vs. environmental quality, and 3) entrepreneurs vs. customer base. Given the omnipresence of force fields in the 21st century, businesses should maintain flexible structures for innovating both incrementally and radically. They also need to engage in collaboration at all institutional levels. Collaboration can facilitate the Zen objective of integrating conflicting ideas, a key feature of innovation over the long run.
When you ask Executives what they want beyond short profit and revenue growth they’ll likely say ‘more innovation’. Why? Because they face unprecedented business challenges. Let’s look back. The current modern corporation was invented about 100 years ago – at the start of the 20th century. That’s when the big companies were born like the US railroad companies, US Steel, the big banks, IG Farben. Some exist still today (GE).
Six major forces are driving change in today’s world. Developing a successful innovation program requires that your organization understand and master all of them.
The business world is very rational. Operational excellence, financial mastery and technology savviness have become pre-requisite not to stand out as a winner but to be allowed to compete. While a hard-nosed business mind is essential to cope with the increased pressure of globalized competition, it is creativity, in the form of innovation and the ability to implement it rapidly that is fast becoming the most treasured competitive asset. Companies need to innovate in a fast yet relevant manner in order to remain competitive today and develop the game changers that will allow them to remain competitive in the future.
Today, there are six essential forces that are driving the changes that are occurring across much of today’s world. While these may not be the most pressing issues for your company, chances are that some combination of them will have a significant influence on your situation, on the strategic choices you make and thus on your approach to innovation.
In the 10 years since Henry Chesbrough published his groundbreaking book on Open Innovation, a lot has happened. Almost any firm claims to do Open Innovation. However, if you look closely, most of the firms do not do true Open Innovation – they are merely running a multitude of open approaches to innovation. This article explains the fundamental differences between “Open Innovation” and true Open Innovation, provides data where firms are standing on their journey to true Open Innovation and gives some hints on what your firm should do in order to take the next step.
The world is changing rapidly and fundamentally. Among other things, this means that business as usual is no longer an option. Far-sighted leaders know this, and are already adopting new purposes for their organisations that reflect the need to be kinder to society and the planet. Although this shift builds on concepts such as the triple bottom line, it goes far beyond this: first, it is about transformation, i.e. deep systemic change, rather than reformation, trying to make current outdated systems work better; and second, it will involve significant changes in our own personal beliefs, mindsets and behaviours.
In spite of spectacular economic growth, China is still afflicted by criticism that its traditional culture inhibits innovation. However, Chinese culture is now changing in response to fundamental techno-economic shifts, and philosophy is not the same as culture. This article shows how an unconventional synthesis of Chinese philosophical systems can power innovation opportunities in 21st century business—and not only for China.
Like a pair of jeans, the difference between a successful innovation and something tight and uncomfortable often comes down to size. A broadening global view of efficiency has increased the importance of scale when it comes to new projects and innovators should take into account social and environmental considerations when determining the scale of their innovations.
Look at almost any industry and you will see companies struggling to differentiate what they have to offer from everything else in the marketplace. So it’s hardly surprising that one of the most common complaints I hear from senior executives is “My product is becoming commoditized. Is there a way out?”
In 2011, world population passed the 7 billion mark. While growth will continue, total fertility rates are falling fast and will result in slower population growth and possibly, according to some, declining total population. Lower fertility rates may bring a demographic dividend, significant opportunities but also challenges. Or, we may be doomed, as others would suggest.
If they want to compete successfully in the future, companies should hold off on rapid ideation and faster commercialization until they take an unflinching look at what is truly stifling breakthrough innovation. In this article, Soren Kristensen provides insight on how honest self-reflection can free you from your biggest impediment to growth.