Simon Evans's Blog

Making Intranets and Innovation Work!

Innovation in the Web 2.0 Age

Can we see the wood for the trees?I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about Innovation and the factors that impact an organisation’s ability to innovate effectively. I am doing some work with Victor Newman of Knowledgeworks to illustrate concepts around “Open Innovation” by use of a game which we hope will be fun and also open up some very interesting conversations on this subject. So, I would be very very interested in any thoughts you may have on the nature of innovation in your organisations, now and looking to the future…

  • What things influence innovation?
  • Is innovation being stifled? Where are the blockages?
  • What really gets people’s creative juices flowing?

A few thoughts of mine to get the ball rolling…

What is Innovation? – It would be a good idea to get some common ground on this definition to begin with. A fairly standard dictionary definition might be:

“The successful exploitation of new ideas”

I quite like this as it covers both the creation of the idea in the first place and making it into something real – a followup that many of us are guilty of being very bad at – how many great ideas have you had that you don’t do anything with?

In my experience of working in large organisations and working with clients I have observed the following influences on innovation:

  • Personal thinking and “intellectual space” – If you are too busy – the day job and the hundreds of emails it brings leaves no thinking time
  • Management Environment – sometimes an overbearing management can squash individual thinking – “do it this way!”
  • Physical Space – this can have enormous impact (see Peopleware by DeMarco & Lister for many examples) – it is hard to have profound, business changing ideas in a noisy open plan office!
  • Relationships within the organisation – are you part of a lively group of people that spark off each other and drive idea creation forwards? Or are you on your own in a silo?
  • Knowledge creation – is this effective where you are? Do you have access to the knowledge of those who preceded you – can you “stand on the shoulders of giants” and create new knowledge from old?
  • Can your company spot the opportunities quickly? Do you know when you are onto a good thing? Can you act on them?
  • Do you have good collaborative networks in place?
  • Available tools – there are many tools around now that can help – instant messaging, desktop video, virtual networks (social and otherwise), Weblogs (like this one!) etc – what works for you?

What do you think? Do you have good examples of where innovation has flourished? Why did that happen? Have you seen innovation being stifled? Why?

Please contribute to the discussion and post some repsonses here. Thanks!

February 4, 2008 Posted by | Enigmaquest, Innovation | , , , , | Leave a comment

First Post!

So here we are – I have finally got round to setting up a blog! I intend to use it to discuss things of interest to Intranet specialists with focus on the things that EnigmaQuest Consulting get involved with. A little about myself:

I am 47, married with 2 children and spent most of my working life so far in the Pharmaceutical Industry (specifically Glaxo, GlaxoWellcome and GSK) where my most recent roles were around driving the intranet strategy as Director of Business Integration and a years experiences Web Communications Director for Corporate Communications. In June 2005 I left GSK to set up my own consultancy EnigmaQuest Consulting and I have been enjoying this role very much since then. EnigmaQuest has been helping large organisations (like Novartis AG and DHL) to develop their intranet strategies, taking a stepwise approach:

  1. Create a vision – know where you are going and why you want to get there. Articulate and actively pursue the benefits
  2. Set up suitable Governance to take accountability for driving out the benefits
  3. Develop a”Content Strategy” to ensure that the content you provide is what is needed, and is easy to use
  4. Have an eye for the future – the world is changing fast – make sure you are not caught out

As this blog develops I will explore some of these in more detail, but for the time being and relating to point 4 above, if you are interested in the way things are changing then I have a couple of reading recommendations for you, both of which are very thought provoking and challenging reads:

  • Wikinomics, how mass collaboration changes everything” by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams (ISBN 978-1-84354-636-8)
  • “The Knowledge Activists Handbook” by Victor Newman (ISBN 1-84112-320-X)

January 30, 2008 Posted by | Enigmaquest | , , , , , , | Leave a comment