If you caught last week’s blog post (http://cogniz.at/FoWInnovation1) you will know that:
1. I presented at an innovation event in Switzerland a few weeks ago
2. I put together a summary for attendees “10 steps to build an innovation culture” with a good colleague of mine Bhaskar Venkatasubramanian
3. And I am on holiday somewhere in Europe…and I want to keep the content flowing…
So here are Steps 4, 5 and 6 on your journey to build an innovation culture:
4. Validate ideas rather than reaching compromised consensus
Enterprise leaders have the unenviable responsibility of guiding a large team toward a common goal; it greatly helps when all team members sign on with commitment and are ready to march toward this achievement. This gets trickier when the common goal is not fleshed out with a clear roadmap. The pursuit of innovation is often accompanied by an element of novelty – meaning a significant part of the process is untried and untested (at least within your company). Hence, innovation’s precise coordinates are sketchy, at best.
5. Ideate via the Crowd
While pursuing the wisdom of the crowd has been in vogue for several years now (from Procter & Gamble and their Co-Creation channel to the user community that Lego leverages for product development), we have supplemented the process of Co-Creation by adopting crowdsourcing technologies within Cognizant and made it safe and secure for our employees and clients.
Idea Management System (IMS) is a context-based, outcomes-oriented environment that enables easier, secure and scalable ideation. Prioritized innovation contexts are posed as problem statements, and employees are invited to suggest ideas within the platform. The platform facilitates crowd evaluation of ideas; idea rating based on selectable parameters by subject matter experts; comprehensive business cases to be built for the top emerging ideas; reviews and approvals by the leader; and ROI estimation for participants around the world, including clients.
The implemented innovations range from simple automation tools, to making significant changes to key business processes or enhancing the customer’s user experience. Through the IMS platform, we have discovered many new solutions – some of them small but statistically significant, and others that are large, with meaningful business-technology implications.
6. Focus on value rather than price…
While resources for trying new ideas can often be found with relative ease, the time available to generate ideas, spot the most promising idea and validate its viability and release to the market is growing increasingly shorter. In today’s tightly networked world, with information and technology as ubiquitous as sunshine in the desert, the ability to execute efficiently and flawlessly, end-to-end, is a key differentiator for those organizations that innovate well.
Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration; the sweat comes from overcoming hurdles that conspire against fruitful innovation. For example, even though business economics demands a global scale for most innovations, some degree of customization is required for most product or service breakthroughs, sometimes even an exceptional level of individualization. When this is the case, many crucial needs need to be fulfilled in order for a specific solution to reach fruition in a relatively short timeframe once the judgment call has been made to proceed.
Innovation’s value, in terms of operational and market benefit, is hugely enhanced when the enterprise embraces true partnership ecosystems rather than working with outside agents that are perceived as mere vendors. Winning companies see their own business as symbiotic with their partners, where a diverse ecosystem helps all parties survive and thrive. They share their business strategies, roadmaps and challenges beyond the confines of the contract, and they partner with them in the journey of innovation, rejoicing in the value that benefits both..
Next time? The last four remaining steps and what it all really means…