Category Archives: Capabilities and Capacities
Here, we are searching for the dynamics within the innovation system, that once recognized, can be constructed for a more dynamic innovation fitness solution. We are looking to improve the innovation performance engine within organizations.
These dynamics are made up of the capabilities and competencies that reveal and clarify what is required as the relevant traversing points needed to achieve improving innovation success, to move you more effectively towards your strategic innovation goals and build a fitter, more responsive and dynamic organization around its needed innovation capacities.
The lead explorer to walk you across this innovation terrain is Paul Hobcraft
By exploring and modelling the mutual dependencies you get to see how the existing and alternative future innovation system will behave as you begin to map out and recognize the different emphasis points that make up your innovation system. You can begin to identify what are the more important dynamic ones that require a more dedicated focus and placing more of your resources behind, while others can evolve at their own pace or simply improve as they are far more dependent on the dynamic ones than you realized initially. These can get simply get ‘pulled along’ and rise equally in their performance.
There is a complementary set of forces; improving one often triggers improvement in another. What you have to guard against is possibly ignoring one might equally impact negatively on others. Recognizing dependencies is critical and their triggering effect makes innovation evolution even more dynamic.
We are looking for the ‘combination’ effect of a dynamic set of capabilities and competencies that generates improved performance. The issue is to know what and which ones?
The combination effect to gain a greater innovation fitness effect comes from managing this over four stages shown in the above visual of the journey of innovation fitness dynamics.
The four stages will be described in more detail in future blogs but briefly are:
- The goal within these stage is to identify the key dependencies relevant for improved innovation within your organization to discover
- what are the mutual dependencies that will have a more dynamic impact on your innovation system so you understand
- what consequences come from this and how the changing environment will behave so as to consider the effect, that then leads to
- what recognition and implications this has so as to put in place an ongoing, evolving set of innovation dynamics that keep you fit to perform innovation on a sustaining higher performance basis.
Again I want to emphasis here, this is an evolving journey but the critical recognition here is, for innovation to continue to be the driver of future growth and wealth, it clearly does need to have a greater understanding and recognition of its management potential within organizations.
This site www.innovationfitnessdynamics.com is determined to push beyond today’s accepted, often ‘lagging’ performance from innovation activity, and raise the innovation performance engine up within organizations. I feel we do have this critical need to have in place a growing clarity of the factors needed to consistently deliver a more ‘leading’ position of knowing what does actually have real dynamic impact, both on an organizations innovation performance and the individual contributions that contribute towards the required strategic goals and objectives.
This I feel states our journey and how we are planning this out to traverse across the terrain towards better innovation solutions, that make up the dynamics of innovation and provide a ‘fitness’ solution that is unique to your needs. Care to share and join the journey?
Mail to : paul*AT*agilityinnovation.com
Do we know what the dependencies and complementaries for building and sustaining innovation success are? How do you sustain innovation, is it more through the structuring of everyday work, by creating a particular set of social rules and resources that foster specific routines? Really, that does seem to me as sounding a little too easy, or we all would have got to this point but we haven’t,when it comes to managing innovation. Innovation seems to conflict with everyday work.
The reality is we can’t ‘create’ rules or specific routines when it comes to our need to constantly innovate, there is a host of constantly changing variables, risks and conflicts that need constant adaption to those specific circumstances, yet we can learn more on the underlying principles and approaches. So how do we manage this in everyday work, inside organizations hell bent on managing efficiently. Certainly I buy the argument that Innovation should become part of everyone’s job on a daily basis so they have the space and potential to work on it constantly but what does this require? This is part of our journey within seeking innovation fitness through its dynamics.
Here we begin….
Is the debate then, “dynamic” or seeking “routine” for sustaining innovation success?
For me the argument points to the capacity to build “dynamic capabilities for innovation” around the critical situation we are all finding ourselves in, of rapid ongoing change. ‘Rapid change’ calls for constantly developing and leveraging dynamic capabilities and this need to be fully understood so the appropriate resource and commitment can be placed behind them. The world of innovation is based on consistent, never ending competition, a constant price/performance rivalry, increasing quest for improving returns and the ‘creative destruction’ of existing competencies all certainly contribute to rapid change without doubt.
What are the firm-specific capabilities that can be sources of real evolving but equally lasting advantage, and how can combinations of competences and resources be developed, deployed, nurtured and protected? These need to be difficult-to-imitate combinations and integrative enough to give new sources of competitive advantage to stimulate new growth and financial return.
Strategic innovation often changes the ‘game’; what it explores and exploits to stay dynamic.
What are dynamic capabilities?
Dynamic capabilities are those skills, process, routines, organizational structures and disciplines to build, employ and orchestrate intangible assets that are nor replicated easily by others and constantly change to meet customers’ needs.
Dynamic Innovation Capabilities need to advance knowledge creation and absorption, extend and integrate what is learnt into something more worthwhile, something new. These capabilities need to learn how to modify constantly the way we operate, reconfigure and redeploy. This involves the dynamic of sensing, seizing and transforming (Teece et.all) at the three interdependent levels of the individual, firm and network to coordinate/ integrate, learn and transform constantly and to reflect constant change that is taking place.
Two different academic views but does one lead to the other?
Dynamic Capabilities are defined by Teece, Pisano & Shuen in their different papers on the subject as “the firm’s ability to integrate, build and reconfigure internal and external competencies to address rapidly changing environments so as to achieve new and innovative forms of competitive advantage”.
Everyday Dynamics are where people know what is expected of them and what to expect from others and have a common ground for negotiating collective action in particular situations that create an ongoing social fabric, where innovation naturally flows. Zollo & Winter suggest a dynamic capability “is a learned and stable pattern of collective activity through which the organization systematically generates and modifies its operating routines in pursuit of improved effectiveness”
Both definitions require learning and exploring
Both of these ‘dynamics’ arise from learning and constantly adapting within organizations and these aremore likely to come from systematic methods or they become to chaotic. Innovation nearly always requires structure, process and being worked through in systematic ways unless you perhaps are a sole inventor/ innovator or responding to a real crisis that is novel. To work with others successfully you need a certain structure.
Capabilities for innovation are complex, they are structured and multi-dimensional and have a constant flow of energy. Often today organizations strive to keep these far too much in “equilibrium” (zero level) but the reality is that our markets being served are not in this ‘equilibrium’ and are constantly being disruptive, more ‘dynamic’ than ever.
We cannot keep a ‘business as usual’ mindset ,we need to recognize we are operating in potential set of constant unstable circumstances. This is a complex adaptive system and we need to treat innovation and building capabilities within this so they are both dynamic and everyday. We require adaptive organizations constantly modifying and remodelling their innovation capabilities to antiscipate and react to consistently changing market conditions.
We need to become far more aware of the dynamics that surround us that are needed for innovation to work constantly. We need our journey to evolve, we need to walk on.
The emphasis needs to be placed upon building distinct capabilities for innovation success.
“the dynamics within the existing capabilities need to be fully understood and then you need to design the new capabilities on clear understanding of the direction, vision and mission required from innovation to be more successful in meeting the strategic needs”.
Irrespective, there are big, consistent growing questions still nag away in the CEO’s mind on innovation .
Q: “What and where do I place my limited (and scarce) resources to maximise the impact of our innovation efforts and how can I be sure?”
“What are those capabilities that generate differential advantage?” How can the CEO or CIO identify the links and connections they want to make their innovation activity align more with the overall capabilities system they have in place? Where does the CEO place his ‘bets’ to get the limited resources he has available aligned to gain this better return on the investments in innovation?
Can we identify a common set of critical innovation capabilities?
I believe we can. Something that is not as it is presently, scattershot and piecemeal in building ad hoc innovation capabilities but distinct, consistent and well defined tailored to what the CEO wants to achieve. If the organization is knowing the capabilities that matter most to their particular innovation strategy and then in this awareness of what and where to place the organizations innovation fitness programme so they can set about building them.
A fitness regime designed to improve, focus and execute upon these distinct capabilities needed in a highly focused manner- sound too good to be true? I don’t think so.
Knowing what are the critical factors and there dependences for sustaining innovation success is vital to understand so an organization can place the appropriate resources behind them. The question is, which are critical, which naturally occur when others begin to be put into place, which seem to have limited or no real effect on changing the dynamics of innovation?
Knowing these and having these clearer shown as a ‘return on impact/investment’ (ROII) has real business value. Today, we lack a clear system model that brings the critical innovation factors out and gives them their appropriate values, and then can equally provide the ability to model different future states and conceive future scenarios through different impact-investments.
So what are the challenges of the knowledge-driven economy that innovation needs to drive?
They are increasing new characteristics of markets- constant change, product life-cycles are shortening and knowledge is consolidating which leads to additional competitiveness from firms
- New types of innovation are taking different forms to address these changing circumstances (product, technology-led, service, business model, process and operational driven, open, in design thinking, needs related, research driven and in marketing and extending existing products in different ways. We need to really understand these.
- New needs of combining different stakeholders are pushing higher expectations to get winning products or services to market on time, every time that are exciting, new, engaging and often transformational. This calls for new ways of collaborative working. The middle manager especially has to rethink the way of working to embrace innovation more.
- New approaches to innovation management that are encompassing efficiently and continuously innovating working together has become the prime driver for achieving both top-line innovation growth and bottom-line efficiency, the two main challenges facing business today but needing this combining and blending of innovation and efficiency through new, effective ways. We cannot operate in a “business as usual” way, we need to make this more an “innovation business as usual” way.
- New technology innovation is prompting firms to access and implement the most appropriate technology according to their need, often to simply keep competitive. There is this need to distinguish between sustaining and disruptive aspects as technology is constantly changing. Incremental improvements of technology need to change and often there are requirements of ‘leapfrogging’. To consistently move ahead you need to recognize sometimes overshooting, otherwise you constrain the organization to adapt and grow as fast as often the market requires. Also pressures from both customers and shareholders influence often where firms engage and with what appropriate technology, but it is increasingly disruptive and disturbing to the existing structures and systems. Building a more responsive, adaptive organization open to explore and adopt is critical to move towards. We need a greater “fitness capacity” that can transverse the different innovation landscapes.
- The increasing pressure and need for innovation management concepts, tools and methodologies not just simply technological ones but relational tools in the way of doing business and achieving insight, externally and internally are growing in demand and understanding. The important part of any adoption of new tools, techniques, methods or processes you need to understand the consequences and to do that you need dedicated resource capable of interpretating the potential impact and value. Knowing your innovation dynamics becomes critical.
There are countless challenges to adapt and become fitter to innovate. Fitness comes from deeper understanding of the parts that make innovation up. These are far from static; they are dynamic and constantly changing. You have to provide an adaptive organization to manage these and many more than the 5 areas mentioned above.