Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Innovation Location

Innovation as a concept is easily accepted and quickly endorsed. Moving from a concept to an actual working process is slightly more difficult. I believe one of the reasons that innovation is simple to talk about but harder to put into practice has to do with location.

Management teams want innovation because innovation can bring differentiation in the market and organic growth, which are two strong drivers of profit and market attention. The challenge that innovation presents is: where should it be done, and who should be doing it? I think there are at least five different "locations" for innovation, and by identifying these locations we can begin to determine the tools and techniques necessary for each location to thrive, and who should be working on ideas in each location.

Now, these "locations" as you may have guessed by now are virtual, but very important. Just as a company has a formal org chart and the "real" organizational power chart, innovation can exist in a number of different virtual spaces. Let's look at a few of those now.

Within R&D and/or a product group. This is the natural, comfortable place for innovation to reside. In fact in most firms it already lives in this space, so the management talk about innovation is either reinforcing the existing innovation or threatening this team by expanding innovation outside of this "location". The processes for innovation - at least incremental product innovation - already exist.

There are challenges to defining innovation at just this level or location. Innovation should be about more than simply defining the next iteration of a product, and the R&D teams and product teams clearly don't hold the monopoly on insight into new services or business models, which should also be fair game for innovation. So, while this location is a good one, I doubt it is the only valid "location" for most firms.

Across product groups. What happens when you company needs to innovate across lines of business or product groups. Perhaps there's a large opportunity to innovate by combining several of your products or solutions into a new "whole product" for the customer. Where does that innovation reside? Now there are suddenly two or more cohabitating groups with different approaches and different compensation models trying to work together on innovations in a virtual space. This becomes a bit more tricky and may demonstrate a need for a center of excellence where the teams from different business units or product groups can work together more effectively - away from each others' teams and turf. Again, we still are really only focused here on product innovation, although crossing corporate functional boundaries may raise the awareness of service or process innovation.

White Space innovation. Who is responsible for innovating in the "white space" of your organization? Should each product group and/or R&D team work to create new products in the spaces where your products or offerings are missing today? Who sets the direction and strategic vision for the white space innovation? If created, who will own and manage the products or services for the white space? Location is not just an issue of strategic intent, it is also an issue of ownership. Ideas conceived for the "white space" that do not have ownership in a product group or line of business over time may be accurate but will fail, as corporate teams simply don't have the experience or bandwidth to identify, own and grow a product or service innovation.

Innovation between a business and a partner. Who is responsible for this "location" - a virtual space between your company and one or more business partners who have agreed to innovate around a new product or service? Who owns the responsibility for the investment, the business development, the legal headaches necessary to work with people who are partners or possible competition? This is a very important "location" as few firms have the footprint to cover a wide range of capabilities, technologies and markets, so partnering will often make sense and add a lot of value, if you can get the groundrules established. Ownership of the idea and the product or service long term is obviously a big issue. Who decides where the idea resides?

Innovation in the open. If you've followed the concepts of open innovation to their logical conclusion, you'll know that truly open innovation - user or customer generated ideas and content - are where innovation is heading. Who in your firm manages the interaction between your customers and your prospects and their ideas and content? I think we can predict fairly soon that there will be people in every business who are responsible for helping to shape and manage customer innovations. In our area, there are several small photolithography shops where anyone with an idea can create a small prototype of the product they've invented. If prototyping becomes mass market, anyone with an idea can present a reasonable facsimile to any firm. Will yours be ready to review the new products and services and content generated by "average" folks?

In each of these areas, the classic management issues are very different. Span of control, management communication and direction, ownership, control and strategic alignment change dramatically as we move from "location" to "location". As your firm considers its innovation strategy, tools, processes and methods, look first at the "locations" where innovation is important. The locations will dictate the changes necessary for innovation success.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 4:57 AM

37 Comments:

Anonymous Dennis D. McDonald said...

Jeffrey-

I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

I'm trying to develop and understanding of how collaboration tools and social media (such as blogs, wikis, and shared bookmarks) can support the innovation process.

The "location" distinctions you make here are very similar to issues related to the question of where to "locate" the management and use of such tools. The interesting thing about both these discussions (assuming you can keep them separate!) is that they both have to take into account that an individual within an organization can simultaneously operate in several of these "locations."

An individual in an organization can approach the use of social media or collaborative tools from several perspectives -- as an individual, as a manager of a project, as part of a temporary project team, as part of a group that stretches across departments, etc. etc.

In the old days of hierarchical management structures and communication networks, adjusting to such realities was more difficult. Today an internal company blog can be set up instantly to support a project, a function, a team, or a product, and it carries with it a range of tools (commenting, document management, tagging, group membership and affiliation, etc.) that can be used immediately to support, say, an innovation process that might be taking place in any of your locations.

I think there must be a balancing act between applying structure and management to such processes and allowing them to evolve on their own, just as there is a balancing act between how much structure and process is appropriate to apply to managing the innovation process.

Thanks again for a useful post!

Dennis McDonald
http://www.ddmcd.com/innovation_index.html

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Favorites said...

Thank you for your site and information.
It's GREAT !!!
But please remove all spam messages from old blog's pages.

Best regards
Favorites bookmarks

6:35 AM  
Anonymous how to stay erect said...

thanks for share..

12:28 AM  
Anonymous wisata kuliner bandung said...

thanks for share..

12:28 AM  
Anonymous belajar internet marketing said...

thanks for share..

12:28 AM  
Anonymous delayed orgasm said...

thanks for share..

12:28 AM  
Anonymous delaying ejaculation said...

thanks for share..

12:29 AM  
Anonymous how to last longer in bed said...

thanks for share..

12:29 AM  
Anonymous how to avoid premature ejaculation said...

thanks for share..

12:29 AM  
Anonymous how to prevent premature ejaculation said...

thanks for share..

12:29 AM  
Anonymous how to prolong ejaculation said...

thanks for share..

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Inversiones en petroleo said...

Hello, i would like to know more about this topic because i think that could help me in personal projects.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Invertir en oro said...

I think that this post is very good, i would like to read more information about this topic.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous konsultan seo said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous asuransi pendidikan said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous action coach said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous jadi artis said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous cara dapat duit said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous kerja sama investasi said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous coach indonesia said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous jajanan bandung said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous coklat valentine said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Panduan SEO said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous christinetjan said...

we need innovation, not only in business but in our lives, thanks for this idea

8:52 AM  
Anonymous konsultan perusahaan said...

I think people fear idea management and innovation because there's a significant number of ideas that simply won't plan out.......Nice statement.....keep posting

1:37 AM  
Anonymous belajar internet marketing said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

1:37 AM  
Anonymous parcel lebaran said...

I think that this post is one of the best that i have read in my life, congrats you did a great job,.

1:37 AM  
Anonymous delayed orgasm said...

the difference between the content spammers and most corporate innovators is that the smaller

1:37 AM  
Anonymous how to avoid premature ejaculation said...

I'm writing to you because I just came across a business that I think has great potential. It lets you save money on almost everything. Make money from almost everything,

1:37 AM  
Anonymous konsultan seo said...

If growth is important to a firm, and if growth is dependent on offering existing products and services to new customers

1:37 AM  
Anonymous tabungan pendidikan said...

innovation is very natural and happens in the "real world" as new plants and animals colonize new ecological niches.

1:38 AM  
Anonymous mengecilkan perut said...

I wonder how you got so good. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect

1:38 AM  
Anonymous how to teach dogs tricks said...

We generally think most specifically about the risk associated with a new product introduction

1:38 AM  
Anonymous easy way to get pregnant said...

I would be aware that as somebody who really doesn’t comment to blogs a lot (in actual fact, this may be my first put up), I don’t think the time period “lurker” is very flattering to a non-posting reader.

1:39 AM  
Anonymous inversiones en oro said...

Wow, nice post,there are many person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your post.Thank you for sharing to us.Please one more post about that..

10:39 AM  
Anonymous cure hemorrhoids naturally said...

It always feels good to come back here. I love it... it's just nice to see a lot of insightful ideas..

8:07 AM  
OpenID Stomgatz said...

Your post is really good. Hard stool remedies White spots on skin Stomach gas problems Sagging skin Smooth and glowing skin Cure stomach bloating Remedies for cracked heels Prevent stomach bloating Varicose veins remedies Treat varicose veins Cure appendicitis Prevent an upset stomach Cure skin pigmentation Health benefits of calcium Natural anti-inflammatory foods White patches on skin Sore throat remedies Soothe sore throat Remedies for stomach pain Preventing stomach pain Remedies for herpes Remedies for dizziness Remedies for diarrhea Dark circles under the eyes Cure skin rashes Uses for baking soda in home cleaning Health benefits of avocados Home remedies

6:21 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home