Category: Innovation

Innovation management at workplace

Innovation management includes a set of tools that allow leaders and employees to work together with a common understanding of procedures and goals. It enables theorganization to react to external or internal opportunities, and use its creativity to bring in new ideas, practices or products. It is a blend of the management of Innovation processes, and change management. It includes workers or users at every level in contributing creatively to a company’s product or service development and marketing. 

The life of products or services is getting shorter because of rising competition and quicker launching, forcing organizations to reduce their time to bring the product to the market. Innovation managers must reduce the development time, without compromising on the quality or meeting the demands of the market.  

 Unskilled  

One who is unskilled in innovation management- 

  • Is not a good evaluator of what’s creative? 
  • Misinterpret the marketplace for innovation. 
  • Is unable to choose from among creative ideas which one would work the best. 
  • May not be willing to accept the creative suggestions of others. 
  • May be caught up in his/her comfort zone of tasks and ways of doing them. 
  • Is not inventive; unable to figure out creativity or the process of innovation. 
  • May finish too soon with solutions and decisions. 
  • May be a perfectionist escaping risk and afraid of failures and mistakes. 
  • May not use experiments to learn and amend and may obstruct the innovations of others. 

 Skilled – 

  • Is capable of bringing the creative ideas of others to market. 
  • Has good ability to decide which creative ideas and proposals will work. 
  • Is capable of managing the creative process of other. 
  • Can facilitate effective analyzing. 
  • Can design how probable ideas may work in the marketplace. 

 Overused Skill – 

  • May move toward the new and deny the old. 
  • May favor creative people and underestimate those less creative. 
  • May overextend oneself in front of others in thinking and planning. 

 Some Causes – 

  • Fail to understand the market. 
  • Can’t interpret creativity. 
  • Are afraid of mistakes. 
  • Get it right the first time. 
  • Perfectionist. 
  • Too comfortable. 

The Map – 

Innovation management involves three skills. The first is a total awareness of the marketplace for your products and services. This means being well- informed of what sells and why. What more do the customers want? What characteristics would be most attractive to them? And what do those want who are not your clients, and they don’t find in your products? The second is being able to choose from among many available creative ideas for new products and services, those which are likely to succeed in the marketplace. The third skill is taking the raw idea and managing its growth into a successful product in the marketplace. 

 Some Remedies – 

1. Managing Innovation Means understanding Your Market – 

What have your customers done in the past? Which new products were a success, and which failed? What do the customers buy today? What more do they want and are willing to pay for? For those who did not buy your product or service, what was lacking? What do your competitors have that you don’t? What are the known future trends that will affect you? Talk to the planners in your organization for their long-term forecasts. Talk to your important customers. Try to find out their needs. 

 2. Managing the Creative Process – 

You need raw creative ideas for innovation managementThere is no need to be the cause for the creative ideas, you need to understand the process. Creative thought processes do not follow the proper rules of logic where one uses cause and effect to prove or solve something. The rules of creative thought lie not in using existing approaches but in changing them, which means shifting from one concept or way of looking at things to another. It involves challenging the present state of affairs and bringing forth ideas without judging them initially. Looking for the most unlikely and unimaginable. The creative process requires liberty and an open and relaxed environment. The creative process can’t be timed. Setting a goal and a time schedule to be creative will most likely freeze creativity. 

 3. Managing Creative People – 

Creative people have special talents, but some problems come along with them. Sometimes creative people have to be protected from the normal processes and approaches of the organization. They need time to think and study the problems deeply, talk with others, look for similarities in other organizations and in areas completely outside the field. They usually think in opposite cases when faced with a problem and reverse the problems. They think in different way. They ask what the most improbable thing is it could be, what the problem is not, what’s missing from the problem, or what the reflection of the problem is. Creative people can be playful and frequently come up with new ideas. Most creative people are not detail oriented, and to manage them, you have to give them space. 

 4. Getting Creativity from A Group – 

Sometimes the creative idea comes from a group, not individuals. When working on a new idea for a product or service, let them come up with several questions. Often, we tend to think too quickly of solutions. In problem-solving sessions, solutions exceed questions. Asking more questions helps people to think carefully about the problem and come to more and different solutions. Have the group take a current product you are not satisfied with and see if a different arrangement would help. Try different tests and trials to find something that will work. Have the group think beyond reach.  

 5. The Special Case of Line Extensions – 

Very few innovations are pure discoveries. They are changes on a theme, borrowed ideas from other areas, or putting old ideas together in innovative ways. Awareness and free flow of ideas increase the chance of new connection. Many innovations are errors. Creative ideas may be closer by than you think.  

 6. Selecting the Idea – 

Creativity depends on freedom early, but structure later. Once the unit comes up with its best idea of what to do, subject it to all the logical experiments and criticism any other option is treated to. Experimenting on creative ideas is no different than any other problem-solving or evaluation process. The only difference is in how the ideas emerge. 

 7. Develop a Thoughtful Attitude Toward Failure/ Criticism – 

Several innovations fail, many new products fail, most change efforts also fail, anything worth doing takes repeated attempts, anything could always have been done better. To increase learning, build in immediate feedback angles. Look for something that is prevalent in each failure and that is never present when there is a success. There will be many errors and failures in innovation. Initially, you may not find a solution. This leads to safe, less than innovative solutions. Many problem- solving studies show that the proceeding trials help in coming up with the best solution. 

 8. Moving an Idea Through the Organization – 

Once an idea has been chosen, you need to manage it through to the marketplace. Designing processes to get the task done most efficiently and effectively is a known science. Consult a book, go to a workshop or ask for guidance from the organizational effectiveness group in your company or engage a consultant. Have the teamwork with you to design the best way to move further. Teams work better when they are a part of how things will be done. 

 9. Dealing with the Politics – 

Sometimes creative ideas are stray until everyone believe they are going to work. In the beginning of turning the ideas into products, resources may be limited. You will also have to deal with many units outside your team to get it done. In most organizations, the best path to move forward is usually not a straight line. There is a formal organization where the path may look straight and then there is the informal organization where all paths are irregular. Since organizations are filled with people, they become all the more complex. The key to being successful in innovation management through complex organizations is to find your way through the irregular paths in the least amount of time while making the minimum noise.  

 10. Study Innovation Outside Your Field – 

Explore and study new products you buy and use. Find out the process that was applied to create it. See how innovation happens from the inside. Write down few things from your research that you can mirror in your ow behavior.Innovation management requires exceedingly different practices. Each idea listed below for fostering innovation is from a different business leader and lays stress on flexible mindset in managing employees – 

  • Define the problem and then find a solution – what resources are needed, who are the team members, how to inspire them as well as measuring and rewarding success. 
  • Re-organize often; restructuring encourages the employee to rethink, set high goals and remove barriers. 
  • Take risks and learn from setbacks; make sure that people are not afraid of downfalls. 
  • Engage people with diverse skills and talents; this helps in challenging situations. 
  • Motivate employees to spend time on innovative ideas; give them space to do things and create positive environment. 
  • Combine patience and passion. 
  • Remove negativity and hire people who are smarter than you. 
  • Create an environment that removes internal competition. 
  • Coincide business objectives with ideals. 

 Innovation management has become a formula for growth for most companies. It can drive revenues and profits to new heights. Doing better requires organizations to come out of their comfort zone. Innovation begins with someone being clever enough to sense a new need and then to improve or create new methods and sources to meet that need. Innovation management can be integrated throughout the organization with proper direction and leadership, clear focus, enough resources and competent execution. It involves getting people and the organization empowered to think differently, to be able to take risks, change and challenge conventional practices, processes and the way the business is approached and then to act.  

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Art Of Scheduling

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Commonality

Learning/Application: Icebreaker

No. Of Participants: 10-20

Duration: 30 minutes

Location: Indoor

Checklist of Items Required:

None

Procedure:

1.      Divide participants into pairs.

2.      Give each pair about 10 minutes to speak and get to know each other a bit and also find some commonalities they share.

3.      Instruct that the aim is to find some commonality that is not very obvious – for example, both of you like the same type of food or both of you scored the highest marks in language class at school.

4.      At the end of 10 minutes, have pairs take turns to speak, with each person introducing his or her partner and sharing the commonality they found.

5.      Ask for feedback about how everyone felt during this exercise.

Debriefing Notes:

Use this game as an icebreaker activity to help participants get to know each other during a training program. You may also use it to drive home the fact that we share quite a few things in common with others and looking for these is more pleasant that focusing on only the differences.

strengthscape designs and deliver customized team building games across India and other countries. Our team building events are highly innovative, full of fun, safe and provide a great way to break ice and build a high perforamance team. Unlike the usual team building events, we bring the best of facilitation techniques, and event management experience that makes your event memorable. We provide services in all major indian cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and many more.

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Inattention Blindness

Inattention blindness is a phenomenon where people fail to see an object or person in front of them since their mind is focused on something else. We would come across such instances in our everyday lives. For instance, we wouldn’t have noticed a friend or acquaintance in front us when we are seriously preoccupied with some thought process.

  • Our eyes are just a sensory input device. It does not register in the mind everything it sees. The conscious perception happens in the brain only when the information from the sensory input (i.e. the eyes) gets registered in the brain. Hence the significance of the focus or the attention comes into picture.
  • Inattention blindness is not negative phenomenon. It is a positive aspect for our brains to function effectively. William James, the founder of behavioral psychology states about attention in this way, “Only those items which I notice shape my mind – without selective interest, experience is utter chaos”1. Without the brain’s ability to block the irrelevant information, our brain would go through a chaos if it registers each and everything that the eyes see. Attention helps us to choose that which is important and that which can be ignored.
  • Since our brain has this ability to focus and give attention and also choose to ignore everything that our eyes see, there are possibilities for mishaps to occur. If the attention part of the brain wrongly discards that information which is important, it is possible for inattention blindness to occur leading to injury or accident. For instance, if an individual driving a car fails to see someone coming in the opposite direction, it can lead to an accident. Many of the accidents and injuries happen due to inattention blindness and not due to carelessness, stupidity or incompetency. The reason for the inattention blindness to occur is because people are not aware of inattention blindness or do not admit that they too can have inattention blindness. Even with improved training to achieve the attention functionality, inattention blindness can occur because many of the brain’s processing with regard to perception happens automatically and unconsciously.

Authored by Akash Chander.  Akash is currently the Principal Coach at The Orange Academy. He is the lead facilitator for Leadership training programs conducted by The Orange Academy.

Reference

CAMC (The Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council). (n.d). Inattention Blindness: Let’s not the Blame the Victim Just Yet, Occupational Health & Safety.

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Innovation is The Key

Innovation is the spice of life. Any business which fails to come up with original and innovative ideas soon falls in the eyes of its beholders and fades away into the darkness of failure. To remain in business one has to reboot and restart with fresh and unique ideas which would readily grab the attention and appraisal of the masses. This immediate urge to reinvent and grow oneself gives birth to what we call is the idea of ‘innovation.’ Innovation is regarded as the hottest and most wanted buzzword among business enterprises in modern times. It undoubtedly is the ‘mother of all inventions and a lifeline for all businesses. In this competitive world, innovation not is the key to success, but is also the last resort for survival.

Innovation can thus be defined as the method of utilizing one’s intellectual capital and skills to encourage generation of positive business results by creating and inventing newer, better products and services which would ultimately reflect in its financial reports and balance sheet. When a high rate of return on investment results as an outcome of introducing newer varieties of products and services, we can claim innovation to be successful and in favor of the company’s growth, success and progress. Hence, value creation, by adding a perceived value to a product or service, is the main driving force which supports returns on investment. It is the parameter which judges whether an innovation has been successfully and universally accepted and acknowledged or not.

Value Creation, on the other hand, is synonymous to customer input, satisfaction and feedback. Understanding customer needs and requirements and providing them with what they desire the most would automatically create value for a particular product or service. Ford Motor Company, for example launched the ‘Your Ideas’ campaign in which customers and the general public were asked to give in their feedback and suggestions for improvement in all spheres as to what they expected out of a newly formulated car, from the point of connectivity, convenience, comfort, safety and performance. On public request, Ford came up with its latest range of cars which had value added services like touch screens, USB connectivity, iPod, push start buttons, MP3 player, navigation keys, voice activated communication systems and so on. The result, just by adding a few innovative keys, Ford soon hit the top of the list with soaring sales figures and having achieved the highest percentage of customer satisfaction in the field of automakers.

To sum up, innovation is a balanced mixture of customer perceived value, cost and manufacturability which ultimately leads to higher returns, greater margins, improved loyalty and increased shareholder value.

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