Innovation comes from the interaction of two concepts: an idea and a need. It is, in essence, born from sharing. This on-going discussion enables those iterations that take concepts to tangible projects, and generates the appropriate framework for ideas to develop further, without being closed on narrow points of views that eventually mislead innovation. Customer inclusion has become a key trend in developing innovation, and there now exist a wide variety of tools to develop this inclusiveness.
In her book “Work Smarter with Social Media”, Alexandra Samuel explains how the digital world is enabling a better visibility of ideas and concepts, setting guidelines to properly use each of the social networks the Internet is currently offering, and tools to optimise them for companies. As she says, “From managing email to building a social media presence, making smart use of technology is essential to professional success in a digital world. ”
A better visibility leads to better readability, hence better informed service developments. Taken on a wider scale, this has the potential to generate new breadth of ideas, developed jointly with the communities they serve. As an example, Pritpal S. Tamber writes for the Stanford Social Innovation Review that “It’s time to question the assumption that outside expertise, ideas, technology, and resources that are often alien to our communities will bring health to us. It’s time to believe that our communities have—or can nurture—what it takes to create health.” Defining concepts and solutions takes a whole different sense when the definition is being shared by a community of sense, and sense of community.
Sharing is indeed creating more links between humans, rather than simply developing businesses and markets. In his article for Forbes, Henry Doss describes what is needed to reach a more humanly oriented innovation. In his view: “if we are to really understand and harness the power of innovation in systems, we must understand that its purpose should be expressed in terms related to happiness, integrity, fulfillment, and shared responsibilities, as much as ROI, or efficiency, or patents. Because to the degree we focus on the latter elements of innovation — the so-called business measures — we will miss absolutely the very things we need be mindful of in human systems like economies.”
Ultimately, including a human interaction into conceptual innovation enables to continually challenge status quo and adapt to changing visions and needs. When team are clearly driven by shared challenges, they are able to take them through selection hurdles until they define the appropriate solutions, understanding why they need them and therefore setting the right culture of change around them. As Torben Rick explains on his blog, “People resist change that is imposed on them. But if they help define the changes, they will own them. Whenever an organization imposes new things on people there will be difficulties. Participation, involvement and open, early, full communication are the important factors.”
It has never been a better time to reiterate how human links and interactions are necessary to better drive innovation. In a world soon dictated by data and robots, there seem to be a need to remind what nature lays behind the digits and technologies, and what objective they serve. Innovation should not stick to creating better processes and margins, it should enable a better sharing environment to come up with the right ideas and tools to develop on the long-term, eventually leading to a better world rather than a better market. As analysts and specialists mentioned above remind, it is all about sharing this sense of community and enabling communities to innovate by sharing ideas, definitions and solutions as a team, using the social tools and technologies available to do so.