Outlining the critical social, technological and economic changes affecting innovation ecosystem, business experts and professional communities bring up necessary mindsets and tools for organizations to build the technical and human skills they need to generate more value. Because business complexity is increasing with the multiplicity of challenges and solutions fostered by hyper-connected customers, business experts and professional communities demand that organization invest and spend more time on building sense rather than complex processes.
A growingly challenging business environment
Defining better solutions starts with identifying clearer needs. These cannot be restricted to metrics and volumes, but should also encompass a human motive. As Juntae Delane remarks, “Whether it’s being agile, transparent, or trendy, a marketer must develop the skills to properly meet the needs of his or her target consumer. This notion goes beyond strategy and embodies all values that motivate us as humans.”
Business experts are also highlighting the need to thrive under difficult conditions in order to reach and maintain success over time. This is a view shared by Project Eve: “Not registering the patents, hiring of non-performing employees, etc. are some more additions this list can afford to add. The life of an entrepreneur looks impressive and easy from the exterior. But it demands some great doing to earn and maintain the success as an entrepreneur”.
Organizations suffer from inherited infrastructure and models that they struggle to change. As David M Brear explains for the International Banker, “Many have attempted one thing or another to change their fates and direction with little co-ordinated efforts across groups. Banks have now become, arguably still are, too big to fail, but also too big to change.”
The multiplicity of channels to customers makes strategies even more complex and require to develop and hire new skills. Shana Rusonis outlines a critical thought to tackle complexity on Optimizely Blog: “Reaching customers and driving that ideal experience across devices and channels remains a daunting challenge—it’s the biggest area of concern for 34% of CMOs. As the marketing technology landscape expands at a faster and faster rate, the best practices for integrating those technologies around a skilled team have become increasingly difficult.”
Making better sense of innovation
To properly face these multiple challenges, business experts encourage us to take more time to think. As Shelley Prevost explains on INC: “We need to start viewing time for reflection as a necessity, not a luxury. Unfortunately, we often view the act of being intentionally creative as frivolous since we may not see instant results. Our obsession with milking each moment can sometimes get in the way of our creative process. The more we trust the process of allowing our brain to have occasional mental space, the more we are able to let go of our always-on tendencies.”
Experts also invite businesses to further concentrate on constantly evolving customer perceptions through intelligent marketing. Martin Zwilling analyzes startups approach to marketing in his article for Entrepreneur:
“Growing a business in this highly connected and information-intensive world requires a total focus on marketing and evolving customer perceptions. The best startups start early, and put as much focus on the hype as they do on the product. Where is your solution in the hype cycle?”
More importantly, experts outline the need to bring deeper sense in our work, perhaps lowering the value of “hard work” and processes. As Tanveer Naseer suggests, “Overvaluing difficulty also leads us to tolerate or even celebrate processes and procedures that are unnecessary complicated, in the mistaken belief that doing complicated things in complicated ways means we are doing good work simply because it is hard word.”
Bringing more sense to hard work comes with the necessity of developing uncertainty. This what Mike Shipulski explains for Innovation Excellence: “When it’s time for you to call for more innovation, it’s also the time to acknowledge you want more uncertainty. And it’s not enough to say you’ll tolerate more uncertainty because that takes you off the hook and puts it all on the innovators. You must tell the company you expect more uncertainty. This is important because the innovators won’t limit their work by an unnaturally low uncertainty threshold, rather they’ll do the work demanded by the hyper-aggressive growth goals.”
Business experts and professional communities in fact inspire a new view of innovation. This is the one suggested by Insperity:
Connecting talents to deliver higher value
To better thrive in this changing environment, data can be a powerful tool, as long as it helps building the right story. Alexandra Samuel develops this analysis for HBR: “As these companies show, data can play a powerful role in telling your story at every stage in your relationship with customers. And of course, there are many more success stories out there, particularly among companies that are in the business of telling stories with data, like media companies, data companies and graphic design shops. But the examples here show that you don’t have to be in the business of data journalism to do a great job of telling stories with data—and keeping your customers engaged.”
Beyond data, organization should also concentrate on building human networks to connect skills and creativity. As Braden Kelley explains for Innovation Excellence: “As the boundaries of the organization become less well-defined (see above) and as business makes increasing use of open innovation, partnerships, and co-opetition, hiring managers should consider not just matching the job description but also consider their ability to build and leverage external networks, and investigate the scope and quality of their existing networks. ”
To build such human and knowledge networks, it is important to develop leadership visibility around innovation. Gary Smith outlines a critical approach to thought leadership on MarkitWrite : “Exposure is another great advantage to being a thought leader. If you have something that you need to communicate, either within the industry or with the general public, you will have easier access to journalists, event organisers, conference hosts and others who are in a position to make it happen.”
The stories we build should make sure they create value by inspiring actions and outlining business impact. As explained by Patricia Faure for IBM: “The value of data is established through its analysis and the effective actions taken as a result. Analyses that generate insights that lead to impactful actions create value. For example, by applying predictive analytics, a company can rate its customer base to determine propensity to churn. But acting on insights is the next level that leads to a clear business impact.”
Collaboration is one of the tool we can develop to generate more sense, therefore develop human value. It demands to shift mindset towards a “Heart, Head, Hands” approach. Ken Blanchard develops this definition in How We Lead: “Establishing a culture of collaboration isn’t an overnight fix—it requires a completely new mindset. We call it the inside-out mindset of Heart, Head, and Hands. The Heart aspect refers to who you really are as a collaborator—your intentions and character. The Head aspect is about your beliefs and attitudes about collaboration. The Hands aspect relates to what you do—your actions and behaviors. People with this mindset understand and live by the statement None of us is as smart as all of us.”
The use of seamless intelligent technologies enables to optimize the value generated by organizations. As Gary Cokins explains for CFO Knowledge, “The more seamless the integration of the IBP framework’s components, the better will be an organization’s performance. The trends in this category involve cloud-based planning, real-time information flows, and analytics.”
Business experts and professional communities see in innovation a way to develop solutions and tools that connect the best of our talents through networks and technologies which spread value in an ecosystem made of organizations, partners, suppliers, intelligent technologies, and human networks. Innovation practitioners can therefore build a higher value for customers through smarter marketing combined with the appropriate connected skills and shared intelligence.