This post was first published in LinkedIn on 25 July 2019 and has been trending on #innovation. I am sharing it here for my website followers.
The work of innovation should be more about outcomes than the tools itself. Knowing and practicing more tools will give versatility to the organizations because of the evolving nature of change.
Change is difficult. Learning innovation tools are like change, it is difficult. However it is not impossible. Other than satisfying your customers, a worthy initiative to do in the next 5-10 years from now is to train your workforce utilizing innovation tools.
From my research, more than 60% workforce innovate using “their own tools”. The MNCs are more equipped usually with their business systems which are prepared by the Headquarters.
Here are the lists of innovation tools that would almost guarantee and secure your organizations future if not bulletproof it. Eventually with repetition & practice, your organization productivity will change to net positive. Give it 3-5 years, the needle will surely move.
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
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.
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.
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.
You can ask the workforce to send ideas via email, google form, whatsapp, ideabox or idea management platform (we got this covered).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Here are some examples of customers co-creation products and services:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.