Monday, November 18, 2013

BEI: Failing Forward Workshop

Innovation is inherently risky. It should be.

The best ideas regarding innovation are the most ambiguous and the most uncertain.

This is the view of David Matheson, CEO of SmartOrg, @Smartorginc , @virtualdavid , a leader in innovation consulting and has been the leader of a workshop I'm participating in at Back End of Innovation #BEI13 today.

SmartOrg provides solutions for the economic evaluation of opportunities, especially when the future is clouded with uncertainty. Customers use SmartOrg to build their capability in driving innovation from idea to commercial result and in selecting projects and improving returns in their portfolio.

David and his team have been providing guidance and insight on the driving factors of how an innovator drives execution of ideas.  Counter intuitive to the usual thought that the idea is king, David asserts that the Innovator warrior is King.

Meaning that it's really the Innovation Change Agent, the provocateur within an organization which lends the life to an innovation instead of the idea. Its a question of courage as to who will go the distance, fight the good fight to create a new order of things.

Most people think ideas are the key inputs to the process. In reality, ideas are the byproducts of the committed behavior of the innovator. 

The provocateur in Machievelli's eyes is the sharp end of the Innovation Spear:
 There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries … and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.

We've been going through a great exercise break out, with executives spanning a number of industries including lock manufacturers, mobile network operators, DVR providers, and paper makers, printer manufacturer, and consultant at my table alone.  Great mix of perspectives. Quite refreshing actually.

David's model focuses on finding the Committed Innovators with actionable insights--their work is the core of the ideation phase.  The innovator them makes uncertainty and ambiguity his allies by taking the time to formulate your innovation, developing an aligned learning plan.  Formulation is continual, as most innovative ideas need to be reformulated as you learn.

Once you've got your "golden egg" incubate it to prove it.  Don't focus on the work to be done around it. Instead focus on the demonstrating the proof points: what do you want to know before you would invest real time or money on it.  Expect to "break some eggs" or kill the idea and reformulate the ideas as you expand your idea and narrow it to a proven opportunity.

As an "adolescent innovation" don't kick it out of the nest too early.  Fledgling innovations benefit from some adult discipline but may have some awkward issues to iron out before they are ready to fly.  Transitioning from proof based metrics to business based metrics is the work of the acceleration phase of innovation.

Result is a scalable business executed from a Committed Innovator, and building out the execution process of innovation.

Great stuff! Great Workshop on day one of #BEI13.

Paul Ruppert is a senior executive in the mobile industry having been responsible for new product
innovation, development and launch; revenue driving and globilizing markets within startups, fast moving large service providers and Fortune 50 companies. He's driven over $300 million in revenues over the last decade, and is a co-author of a patent enabling SMS to go around the corner or across the globe. He blogs at www.globalpointview.com and tweets @mobilepointview .  He is one of the "Official Bloggers" for the Back End of Innovation conference.























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