What we, as a society, need the most right now is the ability to understand true innovation. I don’t mean innovation as technology or Artificial Intelligence, I mean innovation as the creation of new processes and products/services that are created to advance the current methods in a way that also advances our communities, both business and social.
There are challenges that come down to understanding the paradoxical nature of innovation. It’s human nature to want something new, you are drawn to buying new things and consuming new media ideas. As humans we are excited by novel ideas. Yet, when we are grouped together as cultures, in all forms (nationality; vocational; lifestyle; popular/media etc.), we create a preference to mass conformity. This conformity creates barriers and obstacles to developing the innovations that we need to advance ourselves and advance our societies.
Once you understand your personal filter to what you are evaluating, it becomes much easier to organise your people and resources to work on new projects.
We need to start exploring our approach to developing new ideas. As an innovation mentor and business consultant, the biggest hurdle I find is with the thought patterns of the decision-makers. The leaders that approve the new proposals in their businesses. Dependent on the company, the decision-makers can be from Strategy teams or Finance or elsewhere; what they all have in common is the inclusion of certain thought patterns that hinders their ability to make sound judgement decisions on new ideas. So, I work with them on that first, once you understand your personal filter to what you are evaluating, it becomes much easier to organise your people and resources to work on new projects.
Understanding the innovation paradox is key. New ideas cannot be a random scattergun approach as traditional methods imply. The costs and risks are too high for most businesses to sustain.
The foundations I work with have been self-generating in that I have developed new ways to create models that help clients create and leverage new ways of thinking within their businesses. Ultimately, their remit is to produce new products and services for their customers. Understanding the innovation paradox is key. New ideas cannot be a random scattergun approach as traditional methods imply. The costs and risks are too high for most businesses to sustain. My approach works on the concept that new ideas, when generated purposefully for the greater good (of the communities they serve), will start off with a small uptake of customers and will continue to grow and grow until they reach the popular mass market. I call this purposeful innovation. It cuts down business risk and the cost of R&D dramatically as it is based on a number of established theories that are used as standard strategic models in business.
While collective purpose drives the direction, a new idea needs to go in and the growth process needs to be consciously managed. I advise clients on seeding new ideas and evolving them in growth cycles that enable the business to continuously learn and change as they nurture them into final creations. This method is quite exact in that you know exactly what stage you are monitoring to move into the next stage. Even new ideas that don’t fulfil the original objective have provided the business with new information in a form that can be adapted and used into something else. It’s a kind of low-waste model where all ideas have an opportunity to be understood well enough to increase the potential that they can be used or repurposed at a later date. Often new information comes to light and they can come back into development.
An organisation that adopts a mindful and purposeful way of developing their new products and processes will bring greater long term value to their customers and employees.
The biggest challenge and pressure my clients have is thinking they need to (and can) come up with the next big idea by throwing as many ideas as possible at the mass market and hoping one gets picked up. While it may seem that global brands do this (and some actually have the budgets to do so) there’s an alternative way which has come out of modern leadership skills of being mindful and applying that to the rest of the organisation. In other words, an organisation that adopts a mindful and purposeful way of developing their new products and processes will bring greater long term value to their customers and employees.
In this way, we can develop purposeful advancements to all our different communities and societies. It’s putting, what HR calls, soft skills to the forefront of driving new ideas and turning them into positive, long term impact on all aspects of society.
I have always been excited about new products and newness of ideas and think that businesses have put money ahead of positive impact. As every new generation becomes more emotionally intelligent and more passionate on avoiding the detrimental impact of past actions, it’s only natural the business strategy models should also be adapted and developed to consider this collective positive purpose. We are already in an era where establishments are expected to do this by their customers and employees. So, it goes without saying that the entities who embrace this will succeed while those that refuse to modernise will eventually become extinct.