Simon Evans's Blog

Making Intranets and Innovation Work!

Why are so many people dissatisfied with ROI2?

ROI2 = Return on Investment in Innovation!

If you read the BCG Report Innovation 2009:  Making Hard Decisions in the Downturn you will see a continuing trend for high levels of dissatisfaction with ROI2.  Fully 50% of Managers/VP’s are not happy with what they get from their innovation process, and this is bound to impact investment levels in the future.  Why is this?  Is it temporary and due to the economic climate over the last couple of years or are the reasons deeper?

  • Have we collectively run out of ideas? (Not on the evidence of this report)
  • Is this the end of a technology wave?  (Seems unlikely but are our options limited by this?)
  • Is the leadership support lacking?
  • Are organisations becoming increasingly immune to adapting new organisational structures to support innovation?
  • Are our innovations not matched to the needs of our customers?
  • Or is it that  the recession is just making us lose confidence?

Also interesting in the report is that although only 50% of managers and VPs were satisfied, 63% of top level execs (CEOs) were happy – is this evidence of a mismatch of expectations at senior levels which could be damaging?
What do you think?

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May 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Boston Consulting Group Innovation Report 2009

Am just reading and digesting the BCG Aannual report on Innovation for 2009 – it makes interesting reading looking at what impact the recession is having on innovation strategies.

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Innovation | , | Leave a comment

What do we call the Creative Innovators?

Idea!I was wondering what to call those people in our organisations who come up with the creative and left-field ideas.  Belbin used the term “Plant” but I have discovered that this term does not seem to resonate much in the US.  Malcolm Gladwell in “The Tipping Point” user the term Mavens to describe those who are ” intense gatherers of information and impressions, and so are often the first to pick up on new or nascent trends” (from Wikipedia) though I not sure this quite sums up what  I am looking for.  “Innovators” is not right as the scope of innovation goes well beyond the pure creative part.

By being able to name the role, we are halfway to identifying those who can fulfill it and maybe recognise some talent already in place in your organisation whose contributions are going unnoticed currently.

Ideas on a postcard 🙂

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Innovation | , | 1 Comment

Innovation in a Cold Climate

What do we need to do to thaw out our innovation processes ready for the Spring?

What do we need to do to thaw out our innovation processes ready for the Spring?

What happens to innovation when times are tough? Are we all concentrating our dwindling resources on trying to make things better, cleverer, slicker?  Or are we simply turning off the tap and hoping for the best – riding out the storm waiting for things to get better.

A recent mail from a client of mine reveals all…  “Innovation is on hold for the moment”.  I find this very worrying.

It is clear looking around at the current business environment that things will never be quite the same even after the recovery kicks in at some point in the (indeterminate) future – should we not be using this opportunity to look at how we do things and come up with new ideas?

Another very innovative and forward thinking  client recently observed “The old ways are broken, we need new ways to do things better” just before he was made redundant in the latest cost saving drive.

It is my belief that innovation will be one of the most critical keys to open up the new world that will be the post crunch economy and that those organisations that have reviewed their innovation strategies while things are quiet will be ready to leap ahead when conditions ease.

What do you think?  Is now the time for radical thinking and being bold in identifying things that need to change?  Or shall we all continue just tightening our belts and hoping for the best?

What can we do?  How do we approach it?  What tools are available to help us?  Are there new ways of thinking about innovation that can kick start the creative process?

Get involved in the debate!

Simon Evans, Innovoflow Ltd

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March 10, 2009 Posted by | Innovation | , , | Leave a comment

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