Shifting our dynamics to innovate within the digital age

IntangiblesThere was a report written back in 2013 entitled and under, “The New Normal: Competitive advantage in the digital economy” written for the Big Innovation Centre, an initiative of The Work Foundation and Lancaster University that I would recommend your time to read.

I often go back to this as it provides a real source of understanding of the shifts being undertaken within our organizations, to make the fundamental shifts in their thinking to understand where today’s and our future value creation will come from; something that is mostly due to this increasing importance of the digital changes occurring all around us.

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Combining four foundation pillars.


We need to think about recognizing the ‘combining effects’ of four foundation pillars; of value creation (vc), business models (bm), intellectual capital assets (ica) and innovation capital (ic). It is the dynamics within the multiple combinations that will generate the future wealth creation we need.

We are in need of having a better understanding of the integrated value focal points of these four pillars combining, they need connecting so we can build the supporting structures and place the roof of need, our wealth creating one, to give us a new potential of harnessing our innate abilities to be creative. These four pillars offer perhaps a new core, a new transforming power, they make our activities connected and dynamic.

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Struggling with counting ALL the sums of our capital

Recognizing the different capitals

Organizations have been focused for far too long around the importance of financial capital. It determines and drives organizations destinies. We are caught in a constant focus upon our achieving a return on our (financial) capital as our measuring criteria. Organizations strive for improving their ROCE, RONA, IRR,  EVA and a host of other financial measures.

As Clayton Christensen has been arguing the agenda of organizations begins and ends with the “search for numbers”. I think there is a time for changing this, we need to search for the knowledge that makes-up eventually the numbers.

There has been a distant voice for some time putting forward the need to appreciate and value the other capitals sitting within organizations. Much of the discussions have been housed under the term “intellectual capital” which denotes the sum of knowledge made up and contributed by our human assets, our organizational structures and our relationships that are developed.

These are the ‘capitals’ that transform into economic value through organization action. It is the financial capital that simply finances this.

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Are we really measuring what matters?

time to adapt

Today, it is the non-financial performance, made up of mostly the intangibles within organizations, that is accounting for upwards of 80% of present investors’ valuation of our organizations.

Yet do shareholders really have the knowledge to judge the real source of value creation inside our organizations? I think not but they should. Does Management actually?

We lack a real line of sight into the true value of our organizations that make them dynamic

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Putting some dynamic tension into the system

Tension and Dynamics






There is a growing need for having some dynamic tensions within the organization’s system; these helps generate the better conditions for innovation to thrive. We are learning more on the better tools, techniques and approaches available for putting the learning tensions into our work, making them more dynamic, linked and increasingly relevant to the work to be done.

1). A common language is essential

Any dynamics in the system needs that ability to talk the same language, something that becomes common and embedded to support the routines and move quicker to the concepts and solutions, as others can ‘understand’ them as well. It is through working on the inner stories and appreciating the history, it is having an appreciation of events, good and bad, it is through local slogans, your jargon and dialogues that bring people together. The power of storytelling helps gain adoption and identification to those needs for working on a common cause.

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All the capitals ‘fire’ innovation so as to make it combustible.

CombustibleMore often than not when we talk within business of capital we tend to default to the financial kind. Of course providing the financial capital into innovation is vital; it provides the potential ‘burn’ but what is often understated and certainly under-appreciated is the other capitals.

These capitals when combined ‘fire’ innovation, they make it combustible and change our thinking from the known into the preferred from this ‘set of reactions’ that form new and better innovation solutions

What we need is to recognize is the real “nesting effect” of all our capitals. They make innovation dynamic!

Each of our capitals performs a particular function and the overhaul make-up of their understanding becomes our eventual code to perform innovation. Each organizations uses it mix of capitals to accomplish and generate innovation. It is in this mixture of combinations brought together constantly in different ways, then this ‘nested effect’ for innovation occurs.

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