Part 1: Starting Corporate Innovation Program

I am writing this in TWO main parts:

  1. PART 1: RECHARGE with 2 phases:
    1. First Wave: Rebuild Engagements
    2. Second Wave: Rethink Business Strategies
  2. PART 2: REWARD with 2 phases:
    1. First Wave: Reimagine Products & Services
    2. Second Wave: Relaunch Success

PART 1: RECHARGE

Purpose of Recharge is to enable the organization to be aware and find some clarity there’s something new coming for them. They need to contribute, be part of and develop this new initiatives together. In other words, their participation is crucial. Often in some discussion from my experiences, I found some of this innovation is only circumvented from a particular department or division. What makes matter worse if innovation is deemed “IT – information technology” department.

The top management should get consented from the Board for strategic innovation initiatives such as Corporate Innovation. The Board should support this and getting them early is going to make your job easier later on. Hiding behind buying tech gadgets and solutions will only make things difficult not too far ahead. Best to come clean with strong and strategic proposals.

First Wave: Rebuild Engagements

  1. Find a department / division that’s willing to engage the people across the organization – collaboration is paramount. Naturally, the HR is positioned to do so, however I have seen in many organizations, the HR tend to be operational-ONLY. They are not interested with people development beyond the usual training, training and training. If this is the case of your HR Head, you will have a lot problems in doing something disruptive and different. Visionary HR head knows they will reap the rewards very soon when they support and open up the floodgate of ideas from the workforce.
  2. Some HODs/HODivs from IT or Corporate Strategy or CEOs office, could be useful in driving Corporate Innovation. Keyword to look for is someone that is “willing to engage across the organization”. I have seen IT heads doing this. Word of caution, some IT heads are too technical and prefer to do remotely – avoid this too. We could help you find out as well using our assessment method – in case you are asking.
  3. Run a 1-2 months “Ideation / Ideathon / Ideanation / Hackathon / Idea Tournament” program – where you collect ideas across the company. You can either open in up to “any ideas” or you can zoom in to few areas such as “People, Process, Product, Services, Technology etc..”. Avoid too much complicated jargon, key is to get as much participation as possible and the soonest possible.
  4. You can ask the workforce to send ideas via email, google form, whatsapp, ideabox or idea management platform (we got this covered).
  5. Ideas start pouring in and you will need to sort them. Here is where you need cross departments committee to help sorting. Again, find people that are willing during this first round. With idea management platform, you will find this sorted in matter of hours instead of days!
  6. Once ideas are sorted, you can rank those ideas and select top 30 ideas (for example) to go to deep dive innovation skills program or innovation lab and tap into all the interesting ideas.
  7. Make sure you give recognition to everyone (yes everyone) that contributed to the ideas pool. Not that difficult to do, automate a simple certification or organize a get together ideators with the top bosses.
  8. Your innovation lab could be a 3-5 days immersive design thinking workshop with emphasis on building empathy, business models and users jobs to be done.
  9. Forget about the technology or ROI or bottomlines or profit rates or cost of developing for now. Let the ideas bloom and let them pitch it as it is.
  10. Evaluate all ideas in a simple pitching competition, let the ideators find their own team members internally to grow those ideas. The management team could become the ideas judge or evaluator to get a sneak peek of what’s available from their workforce. Go there with an open mind.

Ok, now you completed the Part 1: Recharge: First Phase (Rebuild Engagements). Reach out to me for clarification. Meanwhile, I’ll be writing the Part 1 Second Wave: Rethink Business Strategies.

Brickbats please email to donkhairul@gmail.com

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Co-creator As Future Skills & Sub-skills to Become Good At It

Based on LinkedIn research of the future jobs, here’s the top 5 skills needed in 2019.

Here’s from World Economic Forum (WEF) research as reported in WEF Future of Jobs Report 2018 regarding expected reskilling across companies. You can download the full report here.

One of the skills that will useful to teach, demonstrate and acquire by future employees and professionals are co-creation skills. From LinkedIn above you could see it being the third important skills. So, what is co-creation skills? What is a co-creator? What are sub-skills needed to be good at it?

Co-creation in today’s business context is about working by collaborating with others. We define co-creation as the collaborative development of new value (concepts, solutions, products and services) together with experts and/or stakeholders (such as customers, suppliers etc.). Co-creation is a form of collaborative innovation: ideas are shared and improved together, rather than kept to oneself.

We use to think co-creation and collaboration is only being done internally with our office collagues and co-workers. However, co-creation now is being done including with the customers. Companies should understand their customers’ desired experience and use that knowledge to work backwards to define company processes and culture including use of technology to improve customers’ experience.

“Co-creation is joint creation of value by the company and the customer; allowing the customer to co-construct the service experience to suit their context.”

Prahalad and Rawaswamy 2004, “Co‐creating unique value with customers”

“Co-creation is a purposeful action of partnering with strategic customers, partners or employees to ideate, problem solve, improve performance, or create a new product, service or business.”

Christine Crandell

Here are some examples of customers co-creation products and services:

  1. Self check out service – it used to be checking out from hotel you stay will take long time. Some hotels found that experience is dreading the guests and impacting their future stay in the hotel. After listening and empathizing with the guests, they offered self check out service. You could see this happening at our the bank with ATMs – you no longer have to go the counter.
  2. Counselling sessions for long term patients – healthcare is a tricky business. The patient is on constant pain especially after surgery and no likes to be in pain for a long period. For long stay patient the hospitals found out the patients become bored, hence they need someone to talk to or they become emotionally disturbed. Some hospitals offered counselling sessions based on this insights.

The question is, how could co-creation skills become an individual skills development? Looking at lightning speed of change happening around us today, there’s a dire need for the future employees and executives including entrepreneurs to acquire co-creation skills in order to ensure new value can be created out of the deep interaction with multi-stakeholders.

Here are some of the sub-skills that are useful and helpful for you to become competent and skillful at being a co-creator in your next project:

  1. Project Manager – project managers understand “start-end” will bring value. They are also good at breaking down the tasks and building the right team to achieve goals.
  2. Understand creative process – the person can lea brainstorming and ideation sessions to milk creative juice from team members and challenge them to achieve greater height.
  3. Politically sensitive – decision making involves power play with the stakeholders. Knowing how to unite all these differences among them will unleash untapped value to the project. It is useless to think “Me, myself and I”. The world is a big playing field.
  4. Know about concept development – a good concept usually easy to communicate, clear and succintly understood by general public. If you can’t explain it in simple language, chances are the concept is still vague.
  5. Understand the need of research – it is impossible to know everything by heart. One must do research and able to compile enough context to build business case on the concept or project.
  6. Networker – it is know what you know, it is who you know and whether the people of you target group knows you or not. Sometimes you have to be in the public for a while to get acquainted. Be enthusiastic with networking or get someone to do it for you .
  7. Does not give up easily – it could be tiring and exhaustive coordination sometimes, hence you are someone that are able to envision something greater than what it seems. Always get in touch with your team and find out ways to inspire them as well.
  8. Tech savvy – knowing simple productivity tech tools will save a lot of time and make you more efficient. Use of mobile tools, video editors and blogging/social media could help you become better co-creator.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

Leadership Code

The last 15 years the center of the economy has been shifting towards Asia. This trend will continue. In fact it is eminent that the standard of Asia will become the de facto standard of the world. These exciting opportunities pose a big challenge for Asian because we will need to have global business skills to be able to serve both domestic and international markets. We need unique and high quality leaders to make better choices to respond more rapidly to change. We need effective leaders.

Leadership theories are around us. When you Google “leader” you will get 571 million hits in 0.11 seconds. Effective leaders must be able to renew and reinvent themselves together with the organization they lead. What succeeded in the past decades may not work in the following decade. Leaders must also be able to draw learning from their past experiences; successes and failures. Leaders that never fail cannot be trusted, because it means they are always in the comfort zone. They will fail the entire organization without realizing it. So, how to create leaders that are adaptive to change, push the boundaries and yet has net success rate?

In a recent leadership study conducted by Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman titled Leadership Code found that effective leaders shared around 50-85 percent of the same characteristics. This study later concluded that there are five rules of leadership that embody leadership DNA.

Rule 1: Strategist (Shape the future)

This rule suggests that effective leader answers the question “Where are we going?” and make sure that those around them understand the direction as well. They envision as well as create the future for the organization.

Rule 2: Executor (Make things happen)

This rule suggests that effective leader knows exactly how to ensure things get done. They translate strategy into action. They know how to make change happy, to assign accountability, to know which decisions to take and which to delegate and to make sure that teams work well together.

Rule 3: Talent Manager (Engage today’s talent)

This rule suggests effective leader optimizes business by drawing talent to their organizations, engage them, communicate extensively and ensure talents turn in their best efforts. They generate intense personal, professional and organizational loyalty. They also help talents to commit and find meaning at their work.

Rule 4: Human capital developer (Build the next generation)

This rule suggests effective leader builds a workforce plan focused on the future talent and know how to help them see their future careers. They prepare talents for future challenges and manage succession so they readier to lead when the time comes.

Rule 5: Personal proficiency (Invest in yourself)

This rule suggests effective leader learns from success, failure, assignments, books, classes, people and life itself. They are passionate about beliefs and interests, they expend an enormous personal energy and attention to whatever matters to them. Proficient leaders have strong moral code that connects values to actions.

At the end of the day, effective leaders need to have balance when performing all the five rules. Since rules are just rules, the inaction of a leader will violate the entire leadership code and other leadership theories. Leader who can’t walk the talk is not effective leader. Talk is cheap way to show you know a lot (but do too little). Therefore he or she must be able to self-manage and self-lead to be successful effective leader.

This article is based on the my view on leadership and Leadership Code by Dave Ulrich and team, which he found refreshing and easily connected with. By no means, this article a representation of Leadership Code itself. For more on Leadership Code book, please click here.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com