Tag Archives: Innovation

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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Is your organisation designed to innovate?

Many organisations are recognising the need to innovate their futures; however they are designed to maintain the status quo.

In the 1990’s when large organisations were trying to take the fat out of their processes, they worked out how to do things more efficiently by standardising and automating their processes. This may have cut costs and instilled the governances required to mitigate risk, but it came at the cost of agility. This thinking was driven as a response to competition. The assumption was that if you could do the same thing, more efficiently or effectively, you could compete more effectively. With the introduction of ISO 9000 and many other governing structures into hierarchically designed organisations, command and control became the order to the day.

With globalisation, it was not only the local market that changed, but global supply and demand. The expansion of the Internet, technological advances and more demanding and sophisticated consumers has further transformed the competitive landscape. Competition now comes from the most unexpected places, new opportunities abound and standardisation has led to unintended consequences. Business models, rigid processes and organisational designs that responded to the way things were, are now simply irrelevant.

Organisations now employ Knowledge Workers and need to relook the way that they harness these collective brains to exploit these opportunities. Unfortunately many of them are so involved with operational issues which are entrenched in the ways organisations are designed, that Innovation is rarely afforded the attention it requires.

Lots of organisations are discussing the importance of Innovation, but they are simply not set up to be Innovative. For example, what does an employee, who serves customers, do with a great idea about how to improve the service? Do you know whether there are universal aggravations in service delivery, which could be solved by a service delivery technician’s bright idea? Is the next great product idea on the mind of an employee, employed in another division, who is also a customer of your business and uses your products every day? Do you have a culture which fosters and stimulates Innovative thinking? Do you have the tools to enable them to collaborate with each other to come up with and develop ideas?

Many companies have Innovation managers and programmes designed around getting ideas from their employees, but these are often an add-on to the already over loaded job descriptions. They are not integrated into the way employees work. A prize or acknowledgement of an idea once a year, or 5% of KPA’s might generate a lot of ideas, but are they quality ideas or just popular, poorly thought through rehashes of old ideas?

Innovation is not just about great ideas; it is about the successful implementation of those ideas. Is your organisation able to respond holistically to those ideas? Are your financial systems set up to be able to accommodate new business models? Are your sales teams equipped to sell into new markets? Can your HR team identify the new skills that you require and adjust the remuneration for them accordingly? Do you attract the brightest minds available?

Innovation and agility need to become part of the way the modern organisation conducts business or its days will be numbered.

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 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. 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, 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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Why innovation is critical to the future of your company

Every business is trying to deal with change. Whether it is structural changes in the economy, the impacts of globalisation, a changing workforce, powerful social media or how to make the transition to a service based “knowledge economy”, where the consumers have the power, we have to adapt or become irrelevant.

In responding to these changes, success is dependent on the development of new products, services and ways of working to achieve sales, add value, improve customer satisfaction and develop an employment base dominated by high skilled, well paid knowledge-intensive jobs in the most effective way.

Innovation is also a powerful way of getting the most out of our employees. Most employees these days are employed for their minds and these should be harnessed for the benefit of the company. But regardless of whether they are knowledge workers or labour, they are also part of the community which our businesses serve. Many of our employees are also customer facing. As such they are often in a better position to spot opportunities than those people in the ivory tower who have been conditioned by past experiences of the way things used to work.

Innovation is absolutely essential to safeguard and deliver high-quality jobs, successful businesses, better products and services for our consumers, and new, more environmentally friendly processes. Innovation is about benefiting from the ideas that are new to our company.

Innovative ideas don’t necessarily have to be completely ground breaking. Nor do they have to be focused on new products. An innovation can be as radical or incremental as is necessary and can relate to our products or services or the way that we make and/or deliver them to customers.

Research tells us that innovative firms are twice as profitable (on average) than other firms (Managing Innovation by J. Tidd, J. Bessant, K. Pavitt, 2005), but innovation is becoming less and less of a luxury. The choice is to grow or disappear.

There are two ways to grow “either through mergers and acquisitions or through innovation” (“The New Organisation – A survey of the company”, The Economist, p.8, January 21st 2006).

While we are exposed to trends in the global economy, the bleak reality for South African companies is that our international competitors, especially in Europe and the U.S. are winning in the innovation stakes. However South Africa has some very specific conditions which are similar to other countries in the developing world. Large parts of our population have very low levels of education, extreme poverty is rife, Internet penetration is growing and infrastructure is failing, just to mention a few. We need to innovate for our unique conditions and then to export these Innovations to the rest of the world, where similar conditions prevail. The opportunity lies in developing more relevant products for our conditions and to look at how we price and deliver them to reach new markets. New business models and ways of managing people differently all spell out ways to improve our bottom line.

More and better innovation is essential for the survival of our companies and for our economy.

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. We offer Innovation services to grow organisations and equip them for change.

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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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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Please take part in our poll into Innovation in South Africa

Innocentrix and Digital Bridges are conducting an opinion poll on organisational innovation practises in South Africa. The purpose of the poll is to deepen our understanding of current innovation trends in the South African market and to specifically look at innovation approaches and tools. We intend for the results to be published in an industry specific magazine or other relevant media channels.

 

We would really appreciate your assistance and input. We promise not to divulge your details nor that of your company. Not ever, not even if we are threatened or tortured ….never!

 

The poll should not take longer than 10-15 min to complete and the closing date for submissions is 21 September 2011. If you would like a copy of the final report or would like to discuss these trends, please send an e-mail to henra@innocentrix.co.za and we will be in contact with you.

 

Thank you so much for making a difference to South African innovation efforts.

 

Please click on the link below to complete the survey.

 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Iqd7M1J_2fB5XALcq3NIGxyw_3d_3d

 

Go on, you know you want to, you have lots to say, just do it! It’s fun to make a difference.

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Traditional Innovation Management‘s Time to Go has Come

Digital Bridges has partnered with Innocentrix to bring Innovation solutions to the market that incorporate strategy, people, processes and SharePoint 2010.

Henra Mayer joins us as a guest blogger today …

As I was speaking to customers at a gathering a couple of days ago, the topic came up again…..”Innovation management is slow, frustrating, enjoys little executive support and is starved of human and financial resources”. Off course one can’t generalise, but it made me think. Are we adopting a general recipe for managing innovation? One that has been followed for decades, without considering the changing environment or perhaps more unconventional ways for addressing innovation on a holistic level? Should we be moving from a stance of “Innovation for competitive advantage” to “Innovation as core embedded DNA”, utilised in building relationships in a networked business community? These are my thoughts and reflections.

Let me start by sharing with you a story about innovation I once heard:

An Innovation story:

Once upon a time there was an organisation whose top management decided that something had to be done about innovation. They were quite excited because they knew innovation was important and they looked forward to the difference it would make to their bottom line.

Someone in the organisation got asked to investigate possibilities and a tender was put out to service providers. It took about 6 months to complete the tendering process, where after much planning was done, strategies were written and policies were put into place.

Then the time came to procure an innovation system. Again someone was appointed to address this issue. Quotes were requested and systems reviewed, then confusion sat in. IT support was asked to get involved and they considered building the innovation system in-house.

Fact is, this took several more months and in the end it was never properly completed. Later a stand alone innovation system was bought at huge expense and the IT department tried for months to integrate it with the other systems in the organisation. Then the time came to launch an innovation programme. The people in the organisation were not too excited. They were tired of all these programmes management thought up, they had enough to do already.

Nevertheless, through change management initiatives, attempts were made to engage staff members to participate in the innovation programme. A launch was held to introduce the programme and the CEO commented on how important innovation was. Then innovation training days were scheduled and a new innovation unit was announced. The new unit asked people to nominate themselves to assist with innovation efforts. Innovation reward was also discussed (a lengthy debate followed….) and few could agree. Monetary or non-monetary reward, points based or cash, individual or team based incentives or maybe both, what if people leave before the idea gets implemented.

A year later…. the innovation process was almost working, templates were built to support the phase gate approach to ideation, idea evaluation (criteria are needed for each phase gate), business case development, decision making and innovation councils, piloting and implementation. Everyone was urged to submit ideas, some were appointed to help with idea screening and evaluation but the responsibility for idea development and implementation became blurred.

Later heaps of ideas were bottlenecking at one of the earlier Phase Gates – (plenty of them addressing improvement to leave forms, general printing services and the canteen menu). The innovation unit responsible for facilitating innovation was becoming frustrated and resources were running thin.

It’s been almost two years, plenty of money has been invested in the strategy, the process and the structure. Senior management are growing impatient with the lack of innovation results and the slow progress. They still have to see a return on their initial costly investment. Budget allocation to the innovation unit now needs to be well motivated. Slowly the innovation unit has become the last in line for budget allocation.

The innovation manager has became increasingly disheartened; the road to success feels long and lonely and just this morning, to top it all, the senior executive championing the innovation project resigned…….

I don’t like this story because various versions of it might be a reality in many organisations. It negates the power of innovation. It doesn’t demonstrate the endless possibilities, growth and progress that can emanate from successfully generating innovation into the DNA of an organisation.

Like with so many other business initiatives, we might have become stuck in a traditional paradigm of innovation management. The time has come to reconsider the way we address innovation.

Is it possible to decentralise authority, allowing smaller interventions where people have the authority and interest to innovate on a regular basis? Can we adopt various innovation models at once, adapting them to fit the business model with a focus on action, learning and sharing, without breaking the Bank?

Here are some thoughts on modern innovation models:

Traditional Innovation vs the Modern Innovation Model has moved from

• A top down approach to Bottom up more federated approach

• Centralised innovation and control to decentralised broad based points of innovation

• Phase gate decision-making delaying results to open decision-making for more rapid results.

Systematically generated innovation from the fringes inwards relies on wisdom of experts. This approach makes progress by relying on a few in authority and ensuring a focus on the point of accountability; the involving and doing becomes exponential, networked & quicker.

Have traditional innovation management methodologies overstayed their welcome? Please share your thoughts and experiences. I look forward to continuing the discussion with a follow up on emerging trends and technologies.

ABOUT INNOCENTRIX

INNOCENTRIX specialises in innovation solutions and brings together years of innovation management experience a well as the latest trends and technology, business models and approaches to suit your specific needs. We partner with Universities and subject and industry experts, in order to offer unsurpassed advice and global innovation solutions.

At Innocentrix, traditional innovation management approaches are blended with the non traditional, the aim – to find an approach that works best for your organisation while integrating people, existing infrastructure and collaboration platforms.

We offer strategic innovation management models, organisational design for innovation, innovation culture change and awareness creation, innovation training and workshop design as well as measurement and ONA services.

Innocentrix recently partnered with Digital Bridges who creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. See https://digitalbridges.wordpress.com for more information.

Henra Mayer has an MBL (Master of Business Leadership) and Programme in Business Leadership (PBL) from Unisa. She is currently completing an innovation related Phd at the University of Pretoria. Clients include the Gauteng Department of Finance, IDC, Sanlam, MTN and Eskom. For more information please see http://www.innocentrix.co.za or contact Henra directly on 082 323 7447.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create business cases, 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 and manage brand conversations with consumers.

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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Innovation at the Edge

Innovation is the currency of the future in the modern enterprise. Much has been said about companies needing to create competitive advantage through Innovation, but how are they harnessing the innovative power within?

In these economically challenging times many companies are looking for ways to innovate themselves down the cost curve. Selling products more cheaply might buy market share now, but it is not a good long term strategy because it is easy to cannibalise future capacity at the altar of immediate bottom line returns. The companies that create innovative solutions for the future are going to be granted corporate longevity, because they are creating capacity for real growth.

There are many types of innovation; product innovation, process innovation, business model innovation and most recently, renowned specialist Gary Hamel, has added management innovation to the list.

Modern enterprise 2.0 technologies, like SharePoint 2010 are significantly enhancing our ability to identify, harness and manage innovation and creativity across organisations, because of their ability to link information to individual profiles to behaviour and enable us to see what is going on. Now we can identify innovation as it occurs across the enterprise, look for collaborative opportunities, put together the right people and information to surface ideas that work better together than as discrete entities.

In the past organisations would try and build innovation capacity through a centralised innovation department tasked with identifying innovation capturing technologies and creating innovation assessment processes. This lead to bottle necks as stage gates were built into the process and centralised executive sponsorship was required. Centralised innovation is often not immediately related to short term business imperatives and can easily get put on the back burner.

Modern innovation starts on the fringes, this is called “point innovation” and refers to innovation at the point of accountability for the success. Point innovation can then be cascaded upwards into a “federated innovation model” which is the state and capacity for innovation across the organisation and recognises that organisations are ecosystems and that everything influences everything else.

What makes tools like SharePoint 2010 so powerful in the Innovation space is that with profiling and metadata, it can recognise Innovation as it is occurring within the organisation and push the right ideas and support to the right person or team. It does this through RSS Feeds, document recognition and pushing and introductions to people who could contribute. Through its powerful collaboration tools it also provides the ability for people to work together and the BI tools can be used to identify opportunities.

Innovation’s time has come and if we harness the power of enterprise 2.0 tools, we are in for an exciting ride.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create business cases, 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 and manage brand conversations with consumers.

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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