“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.”
– Peter Drucker
Emerging technologies and innovative new business models are transforming life, business and the global economy at unprecedented speeds. As digital technologies reshape the modern world, businesses established in less fluid times are having to make increasingly complex and critical decisions against the ticking clock of change.
The importance of innovation to business longevity and the potential it holds for the African continent has never been disputed. Collaboration and connectedness now bring a truly external perspective – essential for organisations to respond to.
In the post-COVID-19 era, the way we work and interact with each other and the environment will forever be altered. Going back to how things were before will not be possible, and it will be innovation, and how we manage it in our organisations, that will help leaders find novel ways forward.
This article is the first of a two-part series and is based on the main findings of Innocentrix’s 2019/2020 Innovation League, and the information presented in the Innovation League Report.
The Innovation League
The Innovation League study examined collaboration within and among organisations: how it drives innovation in today’s challenging economic environment and what companies are doing to position themselves to compete more effectively. The research methodology is modelled on the Innovation Readiness Model (IRM), which was designed through research conducted by INSEAD (one of the world’s leading graduate business schools) and a UK based IT firm.
The IRM has been designed to focus on four pillars and four levels of capability achievement along each pillar. These pillars (Leadership and Ambition; Organisation and Collaboration; People and Culture; and Implementation and Measurement) form the four foundations on which successful collaborative innovation can be built. This measurement instrument will be replaced from 2021, as the Innovation League will adopt an approach and measurement instrument that aligns with the ISO 56000 series of innovation management standards.
The Innovation League recognises, rewards and supports innovation excellence in support of strategic innovation impact and innovation management across organisations. It exists, to identify the unsung heroes of innovation and to provide the tools, learning and local case studies that can support organisations to manage innovation sustainably. The awards are run bi-annually and focus mainly on South African and African organisations.
The findings from the Innovation League survey show that organisations, by and large, understand the innovation management imperative and many invest in innovation in pursuit of a more agile, competitive organisation. A conversation that is emphasised by the work being done globally with the ISO 56000 series of innovation management standards – an initiative that the Innovation League is aligned to.
The winners in any industry over the next five years will be those whose innovation prowess exceeds that of the competition – those who go to greater lengths to tap the creative potential embedded in employees, partners and stakeholders.
Winning organisations are forward-looking
Winning organisations place people and ideas at the heart of their management philosophy; instilling a desire to be innovative; creating the right organisational climate; and involving all employees and their knowledge about customers, competitors, and processes.
Innovation is about tomorrow, and business leaders need to be more forward-looking instead of overly fixated on maximising current proven products and services, a situation that the Innovation League results demonstrated this year, unfortunately, to be the status quo at many organisations.
Essential drivers of innovation value
In assessing innovation management approach and capability, the following elements as essential drivers of innovation value, are key:
- Leadership Enablement
- Process and Infrastructure
- ROI Tracking and Innovation Measurement
- Innovation Culture and Skills Development
- External Networks and Linkages
- Continuous Learning Loops
The study presented a truly connected picture, as the role of innovation as an enabler of future potential took prominence. In this first article, I have unpacked leadership enablement, process and infrastructure and ROI tracking and innovation measurement. In the next article, the remaining drivers, namely innovation culture and skills development, external networks and linkages, and continuous learning loops, will be covered.
The research showed that leadership by now really understands innovation, but a widening gap is evident between strategic intent and practical application.
Innovation is still viewed by many as…
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Read the full article by Henra Mayer, CEO, Innocentrix, as well as a host of other topical management articles written by professionals, consultants and academics in the August/September 2020 edition of BusinessBrief.
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