Tag Archives: Enterprise 2.0

Kick start innovation in your company

Next trends in Innovation

Are you tasked with Innovation in your company but don’t know where to begin? Do you find that you are battling to get support from senior management because their attention is absorbed in their day-to-day duties? Are the executives unwilling to invest in innovation because it has failed in the past or it is too intangible to measure?

If you are facing these challenges, you are not alone. In a recent survey we did on the state of innovation in South African companies, we found that these were some of the most common challenges. So how do you get something as fuzzy as innovation onto your EXCO’s agenda? We suggest that you look for some tangible opportunities which you can present to them and get their buy-in. You need a programme to kick start innovation.

The kick start programme for innovation identifies the opportunities for companies to innovate themselves into the future and takes a systemic approach to understanding the impact and investment required to make the innovation successful.

Most innovation programmes concentrate on one of two things:

  •  Equipping people to be more innovative by providing systems, designing innovation processes, creativity training, cultural interventions and defining measurement etc. or
  • Driving specific innovation through campaigns designed to achieve general or specific objectives. Generally these campaigns are reward driven based on soliciting the greatest number of ideas. More sophisticated companies employ mechanisms to reward the quality of ideas.

The kick start programme is a hybrid of these two. We look for opportunities to realise value from innovation while providing insight into the innovation process which the participants can learn from and use in future planning.

Evidence suggests that companies which proactively and deliberately design their future are significantly superior performers in the long term. Superior performance is almost never about the amount of money spent. Booz Allen Hamilton found there is almost no relationship at all between spending on innovation and superior financial returns. What they did discover, was that those companies with a deliberate innovation process with links to corporate strategy and customer needs – achieved up to 40% higher growth in their operating income as a result. – James Gardner. Your kick start programme we will help you to identify deliberate innovation processes related to specific opportunities.

The approach is very practical aimed at realising early wins from innovation, whilst also raising the understanding the innovation landscape and identifying opportunities.

The main objective is to create strategic alignment, identify main points of impact and develop a portfolio for innovation that directs planning in the future.

In any innovation project, it is essential to create a shared mental model between all the stakeholders. This forms the background of any innovation strategy and unlocking opportunities. It consists of the rigorous examination of all parts of the company or division to see how they hang together.

Then we examine modern trends which are impacting on the organisation, the business’ objectives and opportunities arising from these trends, the stakeholders, skill sets, structures, markets, business structures, processes as well as the network of suppliers and partners and the customer environment. Then we examine at every point, what the opportunities are to innovate to:

  •        Increase productivity at lower costs;
  •        Increase competitiveness in a global market place; and
  •        Develop and improve on products and services
  •        Open up future markets.

The outcomes of a kick off programme should include:

  •        Defining the meaning of innovation for your company;
  •        Designing a basic innovation portfolio:
  •        Defining core innovation focus areas, incremental vs. radical innovation, risk management, innovation funding etc.
  •        Identify the key innovation objectives to be achieved;
  •        Developing basic next-steps plans to develop the ideas and take them to fruition;
  •        An indication of how innovation success will be measured; and
  •        Innovation recognition mechanisms and provide basic guidelines in this regard.

From this programme you should be in a position to present the business case for innovation including tangible outcomes of your innovation. This will help you to manage your executive’s expectation and get their commitment to innovation as a critical part of your company’s competitive advantage in the future.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of innovation and technology. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the business environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like SharePoint 2010, social media and gamification and is focussed on this.

We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country. Spigit is an innovation platform built either in JAVA or native to SharePoint 2010. It uses social business and game mechanics to enable organisations to innovate at scale.

We offer Innovation services to grow organisations and equip them for change. This includes Innovation strategies, culture interventions, measurement tools and campaign development to release the power of Innovation.

Digital Bridges relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, innovation, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit http://www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

 

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So where is your next game-changing idea going to come from?

History shows us that some of the most advanced inventions and Innovation came about in periods of economic crisis.   We are in a world of turmoil and need to think about how we are responding to change.

Most companies are realising that Innovation is key to future survival, but how do they make sure that they get the best ideas?

It used to be that great ideas were the preserve of R&D or developed in strategy sessions by senior management. These days with the development of technology, we have many more Innovation resources at hand in the form of our employees.

Lots of companies are recognising this and putting mechanisms in place to solicit ideas from employees. They are running electronic suggestion boxes on their Intranets, putting Innovation into people’s KPI’s, employing Innovation managers and running campaigns which reward the best ideas.

But these Innovation activities are still nascent. Innovation needs to become integral to how organisations function in the future. While strategy still plays an important role in Innovation, we need to foster a culture of operational innovation. How do we make Innovation part of everything we do?

Every employee brings Innovation opportunity to the work place. A manager who is also a mum could recognise another use for your products in the baby care market. The techie whose parents still live in the township could identify a better route to serving this market. A rep who is on the road could identify a mobile app that saves time for motorists. Whatever it is, you want to be able to capture these ideas.

But beyond capturing these ideas, you also want to improve on the quality of the idea. After all, we all know that ideas are just ideas; Innovation has only occurred when they are implemented and realise value.

The aim, therefore, is to mature the most viable ideas and this is where most Innovation activities and technologies fall short of the mark. Different people across the organisation bring different perspectives, experiences and knowledge which will enhance the value of the idea.

We need better mechanisms for identifying and improving the best ideas and the current Innovation-committee-who-meet-once-a-month, system is inadequate and time consuming. Once again we turn to our employees to improve the system. We can get them to vote, collaborate and improve on the ideas.

This all sounds time consuming and resource intensive, which is why most organisations don’t do it. Enter the modern interactive Intranet. Social media, or social business (as we prefer to call it) and gamification are making this challenge disappear.

“Game mechanics are rule based systems that facilitate and encourage a user to explore and learn the properties of their possibility space through the use of feedback mechanisms.”1

Social business tools include “likes”, “comments” and “share” etc. They are designed to foster employee interaction and engagement.

These tools make the process of employee collaboration easier and most importantly enjoyable.

Some of the latest Innovation technologies are using crude game mechanics such as “liking”, but the most sophisticated systems are using crowd sourcing and other reward mechanisms to get employees to work together to improve and build ideas. We see idea trading, recognition of contributions and other mechanisms like leader boards and ranking for employees to build their personal brands within the organisation. This not only rewards the idea, but also engages employees and makes the process of Innovation enjoyable.

As these technologies become ubiquitous in the organisation and all employees start having access to the system, we will start to see more and more great contributions.

So where is your next big idea going to come from? Could it be from the edge of the organisation and nurtured by people from everywhere?

1 “Theory of Fun for Game Design” Raph Koster

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the innovation and technology. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the enterprise environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like SharePoint 2010, social media and gamification and is focussed on this. We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country. We offer Innovation services to grow organisations and equip them for change. This includes Innovation strategies, culture interventions, measurement tools and campaign development to release the power of Innovation.

Digital Bridges relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, innovation, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

 

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Filed under Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Innovation, Interactive Intranets

Game mechanics increases employee collaboration and innovation

With social media incorporated into most enterprise technologies, like SharePoint 2010, we now have the ability to collaborate and innovate at scale.

The challenge is that traditionally in the knowledge economy employees were rewarded for what and who they knew, and it is counterintuitive for most employees to share this. So how do we change this behaviour to reap the synergies of multiple minds? Well one of the ways is to reward employees. Employees get paid to do their work and I am not for a minute suggesting that they get financially remunerated every time they collaborate. Game mechanics is another way to reward employees over and above their task driven remuneration by making working together more fun.

At Digital Bridges, we have developed a technology adoption model, which can be extended into changing most behaviour. This model says that people will adopt a technology (or behave in a desired way) if there are three conditions in place – they must see the point, it must be easy to do and they need to look and feel good doing it.

So how do we get people to collaborate and innovate? We make collaboration and innovation part of what they are paid to do on a daily basis through strategic alignment, ergo they see the point. We make it easy to do by aligning it with the organisational processes and we make them look and feel good by turning collaboration and sharing into a game.

Game mechanics are constructs of rules intended to produce an enjoyable, engaging game-like experience. They can take the form of competitions or rewards or other enjoyable activities which are designed to elicit certain behaviours. Games are a tremendously powerful medium to captivate employee attention.

Some forms of game mechanics have been used for centuries, while others are relatively new, having been invented within the past decade with the advent of social media.

Conversations about game mechanics are changing. Formerly a topic mostly discussed by game designers and gamer geeks, gamification is now part of the business discussion. In the burgeoning world of gamification, Gartner predicts that half of innovation-based companies will be gamified by 2015.

Game mechanics also allow you to reach both your passive and enthusiastic employees.

Let’s break the business down by common social business tools and target ways to effectively gamify them.

1. Getting contributions

Whether it is ideas you want, or just content which will improve a proposal, you need to encourage people to participate.

By incentivising contributions, employees become more engaged; this makes their work richer and more dynamic. For example top contributors could get accredited for great quality contributions by letting others rate or “like” them and measuring the numbers. The person with the most votes gets points and they earn a reputation for being innovative or adding value.

In addition to this great ideas are automatically “crowdsourced” to the top, because they are the ideas voted the best by the employees. This reduces the amount of management time in evaluating the contribution. A word of caution though, it is important to ensure that there are rules in place for determining what a good idea or contribution is, otherwise the most popular idea, such as “double all employees salaries” will receive the most endorsement from employees.

2. Collaboration

Collaboration is mostly achieved through simple vehicles like comments, ratings or reviews.
You could reward comments on other people’s contributions. Perhaps allow “weighted commentary” where the people associated with the best comments get a higher weight attributed to them based on the community’s votes by using algorithms to drive the weighting up based on the value they add. This kind of reward gives the most active users a highly desirable reputation within the organisation for adding value to a project or as a great team player.

Sharing is also a form of collaboration and can prove incredibly useful in syndicating ideas and content. With gamification elements rewarding users for sharing, users feel even more compelled to syndicate contributions.

One way is to have users work toward a larger overall goal or ranking as a result of sharing. Doing so gives people the idea that sharing has value, but does not drive toward mindless clicking. Instead, they’ll share what actually matters to them instead of just spamming their networks.

Contributions such as documents and templates could also be shared back to people’s content. For example someone could see a proposal to a client which is similar to something they have prepared in the past and they could attach a document containing relevant background information to the proposal.

3. Keeping Score

Any good game mechanics implementation goes out of its way to show the audience an indicator of their progress within the activity they are participating in. You do this by integrating game mechanics into activity feeds and leader boards. These activity feeds not only allow users to view their ratings and ranks, but also to find other like minded employees.

4. Cashing out

You can enable employees the cash out their points for tangible and intangible rewards such as vouchers for duvet days or other privileges. Maybe you want to give cash rewards, but don’t be surprised to find that position on the leader board and recognition for their efforts is reward in itself.

One additional advantage to game mechanics relates to problem solving. Games are inherently puzzles. This builds a kind of mental muscle memory amongst employees for troubleshooting. A gamer gets to a point where a problem solution is instinctive rather than requiring thought. This will make our organisations vastly more efficient at innovation and collaboration at scale.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the enterprise environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like social media and SharePoint 2010 and is focussed on this. We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Business, Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Innovation, Interactive Intranets

Mindsets and Innovation into the future

We are watching markets tumble and increasingly it looks like a double dip recession is on the cards. Last time the global economy wobbled, we had come out of a period of growth. We had money to pump into the markets, fat to take out of the system, greed to blame and the wear-with-all to spend our way out. Nowadays it may require a complete rethink to address the economic downswing.

Inherently our thinking has been guided by our experience, but confronted by a new series of variables that we haven’t seen before, we need to address the thought architecture which informs our decision making.

For example, the banking sector is very risk averse and is guided by credit risk, rather than economic growth. This means that credit is effectively granted to those people who don’t need it. This effectively excludes most of our population from the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.

In the recession of 2008, those people who were most at risk, lost their jobs and livelihoods. This time around it is going to be those people who were economically less at risk, who will be left blinking in the train light wondering what happened. People who were secure in their jobs and with sensible saving plans are going to feel the fall out.

Already London is falling victim to the mob violence, perpetrated by marginalised youth who have seen their parents exposed to the austerity measures, losing out on health care, the job market and support. This youth is using social media to propogate their agendas. No-one is condoning the looting and violence and we recognise that this has been taken advantage of by criminal elements, but the underlying truth is that the economy forms the backdrop to some very disturbing events. Social media is not only a weapon for good, but also a weapon for social mayhem. Human behaviour, good and bad is exacerbated.

The only way out of this potential crisis is to change our way of thinking and to reinvent our response to a new economic future, whether we are individuals, businesses or politicians. We need to recognise that more people are disenfranchised and that it is not just bad people who are losing out.

The world has changed; we need to innovate to meet new challenges. Perhaps we need to start looking at the fundamental variables which have changed, like the economy, societal changes, globalisation and social media to adjust our thinking.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the enterprise environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like social media and SharePoint 2010 and is focussed on this. We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903366504576490841235575386.html

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Filed under Business, Enterprise 2.0, Innovation, Internet, Macroeconomics 2.0

Innovation may be the way to avoid a double dip recession

As the world watches markets nervously, Standard and Poor’s has just downgraded America’s rating and Central Banks look like they may need to intervene, we need to give some thought as to how the world needs to change in the future.

There are some structural changes in the global economy and what has worked in the past will not necessarily work in the future.

In 2008, when the global economy wobbled, many companies reacted by taking the costs out of their operations. They downsized and scaled back, very often just battening down the hatches. Now, much leaner, they don’t have the luxury of further cost cutting and they are looking for other alternatives.

Innovation which can be defined as an idea, which realised, brings value to the market, is a way of competing successfully in the fast changing world around us. The impending economic slowdown is just such a change. The companies which emerge successfully on the other side are going to be those which have embraced innovation to find new markets, new products, improved processes and better ways to get the most out of their employees.

With the advent of social media innovation is no longer the prerogative of the ivory tower or the R&D department. It is up to everyone in the organisation to identify opportunities to improve the way the organisation works and to innovate and collaborate at scale.

Those companies which are the most innovative are the best prepared to meet the new world order. We are seeing a lot of large corporates equipping their employees to innovate and it is going to be interesting to see what happens and who comes out first and who is left behind. Either way, we can expect to see big changes in the way companies compete in the future.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Business, Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Enterprise 2.0, Innovation

Configuring your business for Innovation

Albert Einstein once said “Innovation is not the product of logical thought, although the result is tied to logical structure.”

In the modern world, unless we are happy being a commodity, Innovation is our main source of competitive advantage – doing things better, more quickly and more cost effectively than our competitors. So how do we gear ourselves up for Innovation?

Organisations are ecosystems where everything impacts everything. Depending on where the organisation wishes to go (its strategic direction) it will put together people, processes, technologies and information to get there.

If the goal is to compete using Innovation it needs to put the people, processes, technologies and information in place to ensure that it is better at innovating than its competitors.

There are many types of Innovation.

Probably the best known and the start of most Innovation projects is Product Innovation – looking for new products for the market.

Market Innovation refers to looking for new markets for existing products. A good example of this is blue ocean strategy where new uses and therefore new markets are found by tweaking existing products as SWATCH did when they repositioned their wrist watch as a fashion icon and started competing in the fashion market.

Process Innovation is also popular, when organisations look for better or cheaper ways to do the same thing.

Business Model Innovation is when a company moves from one way of driving revenue to another. Organisations may move from a straight forward sale environment to a value added services offering with annuity.

Modern innovation models include Management Innovation, where organisations have changed the way that they manage knowledge workers so that they get the most out of their creativity, knowledge, collaboration and Innovation skills.

When we create Innovation ecosystems we need to configure our people, processes, technologies and information to achieve product, process, market, business model and management innovation that helps us leap frog our competition and that requires logical thought and logical structure.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create business cases, digital strategies, user requirements and functional specifications (including taxonomies and metatdata) for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges has partnered with Innocentrix to bring Innovation solutions to the market which include a combination of people, process, technology and information gearing for Innovation. We are bringing Spigit software into South Africa and  Africa.  See this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giptk7QCkXk

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Business, Enterprise 2.0, Innovation