More On Innovation (Cont.)


Disruptions create opportunities for fresh ideas

Some examples include

- Disney (founded at the start of the Great Depression in 1929)

- Google  (1998) and Salesforce (1999) (started after the first Internet bubble burst)

- Facebook (started to gain traction following the GFC - starting in 2007)

When we have a disruption, whether caused by technology, pandemic, humans (man-made disasters like wars, etc), natural disasters like fires, droughts, flooding, etc, this can encourage people to question the way they do things. For example, Covid-19 has caused contradictory impacts, with some industry have booming like construction (including home renovation and upgrades, etc), household appliances, etc and others have collapsed like hospitality, tourism, airlines, cruise ships, theatres (live and movies), etc. Also, Covid-19 is forcing a review of the way we work (office vs. remote), whether we need large, centralised offices in CBD, handling of infrastructure like hospitals, aged care, etc.

Generally it reinforces the need to be more innovative, curious, resilient, flexible, self-sustaining (like circular economy), friendly (environmentally, economically, community-wise, etc). It highlights the need for human ingenuity.

It is anticipated that the pandemic (starting 2020) will speed up digital acceleration as both people and tasks move online like tele-health, e-commerce, etc. It is speeding up use of technology years ahead of schedule.

"...opportunities that businesses expected to have years to prepare for are quickly approaching. To meet these challenges organisations will need to innovate, collaborate, invent and redefine themselves..."
Scott Hahn, 2020

It was thought in 2020 that the priority would be around distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, XR and quantum computing technologies.

"... In the short term, the pandemic is putting us through an innovation stress test. Covid-19 is pushing organisations to work together in new ways, creating ecosystem-wide innovation.Consider how cities are partnering with hotels to house the homeless and stem the spread of the virus in crowded shelters......providing individual companies to consider and test many new partnerships and possibilities. The partnerships, products and services we are building today have the potential to define business and technology for years to come. Long-term, the rules around innovation will never be the same...... need to prioritise cross-industry collaboration to help companies break through from innovative idea to commercial success..."
Scott Hahn, 2020

Learning experiences

Mistakes need to be seen as learning experiences rather than failures. Failure is an integral part of the innovation process. Yet

"...From an early age, we are taught that failing is not good..."
Sally Patten, 2020

"...Psychologically we all hate failure. We are hardwired not to fail. But you have got to train yourself to go into the unknown..."
John Maguire as quoted by Sally Patten, 2020a

Need to realise that innovation is a tough process

"... For every 100 ideas out there, only a few get up because you have to persist. It always costs a lot more and takes more time than you think..."
Justin Miller as quoted by Sally Patten, 2020a

Six different types of organisational innovation

"...i) product innovation
    ii) new forms of production
    iii) managerial innovation, eg new ways of making things happen
    iv) supply chain innovation
    v) business model innovation, eg finding new niches or markets
    vi) sales and marketing innovation..."

Tim Kastle as quoted by Christopher Niesche, 2020

These different types of organisational innovation are linked: for example, if you produce something new and unique, and try to channel it through your existing customers using the normal value proposition, often it will fail. New ideas often need new business models, etc to be successful.

Generally the more types of innovation an organisation undertakes, the stronger the connection to growth.

Assessing benefits of innovation

Ways to assess the benefits of innovation: it must

- add value, eg be consumer-led, consumer-driven; satisfy an existing demand for products and services; be technically feasible; make economic sense; does it matter enough to make a difference?

- be unique, eg different from what was done or produced before

- address the problem it is solving, ie be customer-usable

- have a positive impact on different stakeholders including customers and community; positivity, ie establish a positive culture with a mindset of 'yes and.....' instead of 'no but....'; employees are more comfortable to share their ideas without fear of ridicule, or upsetting important stakeholders like management, etc; foster an environment that challenges assumptions; consider opportunities from a variety of perspectives; always test and learn.

- be sustainable

- be repeatable

- have creativity and innovation become key competencies and top priorities,  like training staff in innovation capability and using this capability in the organisation; innovations can come from anywhere

- align with strategic business objectives

- provide a rewarding and collaborative workplace for staff

(sources: Sally Patten, 2020 & a; Amantha Imber, 2020 & a; Rob Teasdale, 2020)

Embedding innovation as part of an organisation's culture

Ideally you are trying to create

"...a collegiate working environment in which staff can reach their full potential, have the freedom to innovate, think creatively and explore new ideas, and in which trust is implicit......people who want to make a difference..."
Anthony Mitchell et al, 2020

"...fostering an innovation culture...... it is a mindset - a cornerstone of an egalitarian, respectful and collaborative culture......It's about ensuring people take genuine ownership of a product or idea and listen to the customers to create solutions that are fixing real problems......understanding customer pain points..."
Adrian Kennedy as quoted by Mark Eggleton, 2020

Need to understand how innovation is embedded in an organisation. It requires at least 2 things:

i) a mindset that encourages and rewards new ideas

ii) a process that supports the creation and implementation of innovations

Innovation requires 3 stages:

i) generating ideas

ii) selecting the best ideas

iii) implementing the ideas

Innovation is not necessarily about new products and services; it can be about processes, ie the way you do things, and the risk you take.

To be innovative, you need to be prepared to test, fail and tweak plus be persistent and think differently.

Importance of people in innovation.

They are just as important as new technology and resources. Research (Innovation and Science Australia in its report entitled "Stimulating Business Investment in Innovation") reveals that business expenditure on R&D is not a strong predictor of innovation success.

"...sectors where many firms are actively innovating are more likely to have greater productivity, whether or not they undertake R & D..."
Christopher Niesche, 2020

"...Companies that foster individual creativity and organisational agility, while encouraging a commercial mindset, will be best placed to find the intersection between innovation and growth..."
Amanda Price, 2020

"...companies need to have both structure and cultural readiness to support new ideas and innovative processes..."
Siran Zhan as quoted by
Christopher Niesche, 2020

Innovation can come anywhere, ie within and/or outside the organisation. Additionally,

"...Research reveals that smaller companies tend to benefit more from their employees' creativity than larger companies..."
Siran Zhan as quoted by Christopher Niesche, 2020

Innovation inputs and outputs

Inputs refers to education and systems that encourage innovative ideas.

Output refers to implementation of the innovations.

For example, Australia is high on inputs but low on outputs.

Innovative process

An example of innovative process

- interview clients (existing and potential) to find out what is working, what is not working, what is going well and what needs to be stopped or improved. This is the basis for identifying the problems and investigating ways to solve problems.

- identify innovations to solve clients' problems

- test in a pilot group, ie experimentation

- evaluate feedback and make necessary adjustments, ie stresses the importance of being open to listening

- roll-out to general market

(source: Alexandra Cain, 2020)


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