Connecting dots combines the 10 most read stories on weareinnovation.org over the last week into a single analysis that highlights our readers innovation priorities.
There isn’t a day without a journalist, specialist and other expert explaining how our economies, democracies and societies stand at a turning point in history. Innovation as defined by a variety of professionals describes how this turn engages the crowd, from inspirational willingness to actual questions and change. It is not about measuring and calculating results, or not solely at least. Individuals seek to address core roots of systemic issues, and suggest tangible adaptations: developing creativity from diversity and optimizing delivery through collaboration. Agile organizations such as startups showcase results and models to manage disruption. Not only does their experience remind change is possible. It also proves we can all be part of a great story.
Innovation as a human adventure
At a crossroads between leadership, innovation, creativity and change, our story keeps reminding how human and personal inspiration helps defining the best ideas we come up with. Not only do we give ourselves the tools to take concepts and organizations further on the innovation journey, but we also genuinely share a global willingness to drive changes towards meaningful, human values.
Innovation starts with creativity. Throwing ideas in and learning to select those which go to market. Learning to create the selection path. Learning to teach it to others. Learning to learn. Creativity is boundless, innovation draws its boundaries: technical, financial, market and trends, resources. Creativity helps pushing those boundaries further.
Read more: “We Are Innovation because we rethink creatively“, WAI October 2014
From philosophy to poetry, this common willingness for change explores numerous formats and tones to reach its appropriate audience and impact. Past examples enable to understand how literary trends such as “scientific poetry” used to pursue similar objectives, and how they managed to increase awareness around technical topics.
Through the entire poem, Delille intends to articulate Buffon’s theories of geology. He speaks of them with emotions, transforming the story of a grain of sand into the story of the world. This formulation aims at attracting the reader’s attention and generating an appetite for science.
Read more: “Scientific poetry, the science of emotions“, WAI December 2014
It indeed appears critical to start opening conversations to understand what end-users require for highly impacting technological developments. Among them, Artificial Intelligence and both its positive and negative impacts keep attracting most of readers’ attention, as strategic moves occur while questions are being left unanswered.
Innovation practitioners describe two potential futures where Artificial Intelligence is either an opportunity or a threat. They all agree on the fact that AI will be part of the future, and specialists are highlighting the need to think about the impact we want AI to have on our lives.
Read more: “Innovation Index: Artificial intelligence not artificial at all“, WAI July 2015
Thinking beyond data and statistics
There is a need to open discussion for those technological development bear systemic changes that will affect lives of millions workers, teachers, experts… It is not solely about maintaining jobs and economic growth, it is also about jointly defining thinking frameworks that enable knowledge communities to answer both local and global challenges, hence driving smarter change.
While most experts agree on the systemic impact of the digital disruption occurring across sectors, it also seems clear through their analyzes that a cultural shift towards creativity and adaptability needs to take place among individuals, organizations and communities for the digital economy to be developed closer to end-users reality.
Read more: “Humans in the digital workplace: assessing our readiness to disruption“, WAI December 2016
Over time, analysts have repeated the same story again and again, ending up with similar conclusions. There indeed are structural barriers to change that keep inspirational ideas at the level of conversation, actions and plans are cruelly needed to deliver results on a systemic level.
Yet, The Economist warns: “Such technology has been around for years. It has failed to take off, however, in large part because so many firms have fingers in the mobile-payment pie, and often block others from grabbing a big piece of it.”
Read more: “The payment chess board“, WAI November 2014
Among those barriers to change, lack of diversity is identified as a critical issues to address, and behind this trend, the ability to make richer sense of diversity. Keeping diversity at the statistics level seems to underestimate the creativity that could be generated by diverse talents, cultures and personalities, within operational teams as well as management boards.
Sarah Ellison, senior economics lecturer at MIT said about the research she co-authored on diversity and workers happiness: “they liked the idea of diversity more than they liked actual diversity”.
Read more: “Ladies first: women and innovation, the latest trends“, WAI October 2014
As a result, experts draw a strategic line between our priorities to revive talent pools, create cultures of adaptability and our need for digital literacy. Combining the appropriate ideas and projects by connecting experiences and sharing knowledge, we have never been so able to make a combined difference at a time when it has never been so critical to achieve collective change.
Disruption, digital and diversity are recurring themes developed through innovation stories. Throughout the year, experts have shown a growing interest in connecting creativity and data analysis to define collaborative plans for change.
Read more: “The rise of connected thinking” WAI December 2016
Because we are worth it
In the midst of all those trends highlighting a common path for smarter innovation, startups arise as role models for change. Of course some of them fail, and many analysts question the success and job destruction caused by others. But haven’t they managed to challenge incumbent markets, and get funds as well as customers to do so? Can’t we we be inspired by their agility?
This specific positioning enables startups to reach a systemic impact, acting through cooperation and inspiring VCs to fund initiatives led by “world-changing entrepreneurs”. By bringing a human sense to technologies and business models closer to end-user needs, they are a perfect ecosystem to analyze in order to understand how to best prepare for disruption.
Read more: “9 systemic innovation trends fueled by startups“, WAI December 2016
In fact, a growing number of businesses are paving the way to the future of work, partly inspiring themselves from practices and cultures driven by startups. New collaborative tools and cultures are driving the creation of innovative business models, with human values and social initiatives at heart.
Because hierarchy, workplace and collaboration tools are evolving, companies need to investigate the value of constructive thinking to develop innovation while engaging both leaders and employees to create value, building cultures where change is positive and being good a necessity.
Read more: “Daily Pick: 13 reasons why companies should apply constructive thinking“, WAI November 2016
What such initiative shows is that smart changes are possible. It takes a holistic analysis of innovation environment as well as an agile mindset to trial, fail and fine tune projects so they reach the desired impact. To achieve such a result, diversity is again envisaged as a necessary practice to find the best talents able to drive complex and systemic projects.
Because the trends generating this situation are linked to systemic issues, such as our interconnected economies and related decisions as well as our generational divides and diverging cultural ideals, only systemic approach to change are able to guide businesses in best defining how to innovate.
Read more: “What is your diversity profile“, WAI December 2016
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Photograph: Nirina Photography