You probably have heard about Innovation and you want to do something about it for your organization. It is like a puzzle that needs solving, but the think is which one you should start first? Here could be the reasons compiled why you want a piece of the action on Innovation:
There are so many new technology arounds but you have no clue how to take advantage of all these for your organization eg Industry Revolution, 4IR, Digital etc..What’s all these tech stuffs?
Around 40% or more of your workforce are 40 years old and below. This is consider fairly young workforce. Most organizations in Malaysia for example has around 50-70% workforce of 40 years old and below. How to tap this huge energy reserves?
There’s so much ideas being presented to you and your management teams, but it is who is looking after them? What is the outcomes or results? Why there seems to be nothing implemented? Who is doing the monitoring?
You and your management team would like to find out new opportunities for business growth. Maybe there’s something?
The internal processes seem overwhelmed with tapes after tapes and you wanted it change for so long, but why the problem still persisted?
People morale is getting lower by the day with all other concerns about the economy, jobs security and personal finances. How to rejuvenate and recharge?
You have some budget (approved by the Board) to work on innovation programs, where to start? (Innovation program budget starts from $50k-$100k)
The training done by the human resource seems to have very little impact because they said the organizational change should be addressed at the same time.
Your management team (kitchen cabinet) is becoming more picky, testy and struggle to communicate cohesively and you don’t know who is the dark horse anymore. Put your foot down?
The entire workforce especially the operations, middle managers and customers facing staffs said, “Our customers complaints has increased and they have switched to our competitors.” Shall you wait any longer?
The above listings are popular reasons I personally have observed and listened during my engagements with our clients. What’s yours? I’d love to compile several more to provide greater awareness that innovation program is a strategic decision.
Check out my next 2 parts article “How Start a Corporate Innovation Program?”
It is common in many organizations to have multi-generational challenge. Today’s speed of change force everyone to move out from their comfort zones. Here I wish to share a short case study from an organization uses co-creation as a facilitative tool in building Innovation Culture.
The senior managers felt the younger executives didn’t put enough effort to get things done more effectively. There was a perception that the younger executives lack innovation and creativity skills during execution with the clients. Because of that there has been delays in clients delivery and the Board has recommended action to be taken to remedy this situation. The clients impacted is seeking explanation and it may cause financial compensation if it is not resolved.
The Human Resource Division (HRD) has been tasked to come up with action plan and fix this amicably and in lightning speed.
The HRD hatched a plan that the younger executives need training on innovation and creative problem solving. After all it has been years they did not have any development on these skills.
After our discussion, we think training programs will not be effective, yet. We helped devise three key strategies to approach the Problem. There are:
Both parties need to have a mutual session to air grievances.
Generate ideas to make it work, no escape.
Use the company shared values as our guiding principles. Nothing else.
We convinced our client to run ideation labs to together with the senior managers and young executives to build scaffolding to achieve those objectives. To our surprise, the labs generated hundreds of ideas and close to 50% ideas generated are something they could do together. They are still bonded when we brought in the shared values discussion. Great!
FIVE IDEAS TO BE IMPLEMENTED
The champions of culture are anyone from the organization. From non-executive to senior leaders. It used to be the champions were only Heads and senior leaders.
The champions role are rotated and on 6 months role appointment. As the attendance requirement as champion is at least 80%, the role shouldn’t be a burden to anyone. Rotation allows others to participate and be inspired.
Recognition of ANY contribution is direct from CEO. Recognition is in certificate of contribution signed by the CEO and little get together quarterly.
Internal managers conference where best practices in the company are shared. What works in other company might not work in your company. Sharing them build trust and stronger cadreship.
Open innovation program for everyone to contribute ideas from all levels. Trending internal ideas will be discussed together with strategic business focus.
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.