Innovation is a Cultural Action

Having a strategy in business is critical, but a business without a focus on innovation and an understanding of how to do it efficiently and effectively won’t survive. This articles talks about innovation being based on a truth and how it can be done efficiently and effectively. There is a huge amount of information about Innovation out there, please read it all, but more importantly TAKE ACTION. Take small action not grand plans, actual innovation can’t be planned, only the frameworks, funding, people and physical resources, the outcomes can’t be planned.

Innovation Culture is a Strategy

Below is from the Huawei Europe Innovation day in Paris, this is the only example I have first hand, as I was invited to attend. What’s really impressive here is the commitment to innovate being backed up with money and not words. #HuaweiHID

Innovation is Based on Knowns

Innovation is about building on something you already know to be true, even if that truth is just geographic, cultural, brand bases, technology based, time (date relative) or customer based.

A truth in time is essential for innovation to succeed, always test your truth to ensure its not a perception, a lie or a dream

Karl Smith

An example of a truth may be drawn from quantitative or qualitative data. For example “customers do not buy when the journey to buy is more than three clicks”, “in the cluture of xxxxx country, this product won’t sell”, the next big thing is 5G “our 4G product will sell well in 5G as its just about speed”.

Once you have a truth there are three ways to respond to it, either by Progression or in Counterpoint and rarely but interestingly sometimes by Accident. As its very easy to get wrapped up in ownership over value principals, someone not involved also needs to conduct Triage (prioritisation, relationships, backlogs) and Due Diligence (similarities, copies, brands, people, etc.) at this point to avoid waste.

Progression Innovation

In Progression Innovation, the most common way in business and technology you need to set what your values are then look at what are the success factors currently delivering value to your organisation.

EXAMPLE: If your value is P&L then shipping millions of low margin high complexity products is not a success, especially if you have not properly understood the supply chain costs and risks, you may be working for free. Your innovation attributes should then included a full lifecycle cost, margin and profit valuation.

EXAMPLE: If your value is Market Penetration, then your innovation attributes need to include regulatory, tax, political, killer product

Counterpoint Innovation

In counterpoint Innovation the focus is taking any truth and seeking to invalidate it and reviewing the by products of that invalidation as a starting point for a new branch of thinking products or services. Just think if you could go back in time and get their touch screen mobile to market in 2001 when it was ready instead of waiting till 2005 for the iPhone. How different would the world be now. Counterpoint invention allows companies to think this was and to discover hidden catalysts for invention.

Accidental Innovation

This is perhaps the one most organisations hope for, like the invention of a new stronger glue by 3M that was a failure. In fact it let you stick things and remove them constantly without much degradation in its effectiveness as ‘sticky’ but not bonding enough to be a glue. The product Post-its.

Quick Innovation

I have seen various posts focused on tightly structuring innovation that include top level components of Incremental, Disruptive, Architectural and Radical, to me these all sound expensive and time consuming. There are much quicker ways of doing innovation, in fact it can be done to a level of confirmation to proceed or not in just eight hours.

The following film shows a process for quick innovation based upon both Progression Innovation and Counterpoint Innovation both exposed through the Innova8™ process.

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Organisational and cultural transformation in Business Agility

The UX, UCD and HCD code explained

User Experience has become the solution focused end of User Centred Design, being based in normal practice on usability, accessibility and user research over time.

The Term User Experience/User Centred Design and Human Centered Design are interchangeable because the International Standard changed from being User Centred Design to Human Centered Design.

Some Background

In my other posts it should be clear by now that I have been involved in what now called UX for some considerable time. I have previously mentioned how UX moved from the strategic and its equal status to enterprise architecture into software development and becoming visual design for a time. Well it’s on the move again, just as UX incorporated marketing components with repeatable science at its outset and seeded Agile with user stories and human context, so now it has moved into organisational and cultural transformation.

Organisational and Cultural Transformation

There are now in 2019 many people talking about organisational and cultural transformation and change however it is clear that what they mean is everyone below the C-suite needs to change. However organisational and cultural transformation is the whole organisation otherwise it is just a rebrand without actual change. More especially culture is born from action not just intent and this is what organisations who want to change are discovering. They want to take their staff on a transformation journey and to evolve their engagement not simply recasting them with new role titles and responsibilities. They also expect to evolve the transformation in flight gaining a true understanding of what already works well and folding it into the new culture. This kind of transformation takes a highly adaptive and pragmatic mindset in its leadership and enablement.

Organisational Design

The historical focus of organisational design has been to establish one standard structure across a whole organisation. The value of this is to standardize command and control mechanisms which is supposed to simplify reporting and oversight. It forces all work through it regardless of its priority or type of work it is.

The old four types of organizational structures are;

  1. Functional Top-Down
  2. Divisional Structure
  3. Matrix Organizational Chart
  4. Flat Organizational Chart

However the New Ways of Working in adoption of HCD, Agile, Lean and DevOps don’t utilize these structures. In fact instead of starting with organizational structures it focuses on work to define the structures needed to deliver it. This is very intensive consulting activity and often led by external consultants not vested in internal politics and previous alliances.

And this explains why most new organisational transformations will fail before they start because they are focused on hierarchies not getting work done efficiently with a culture that rewards and honours people who deliver.

Karl Smith

Work Formats

The common structure of work is linear and directional often following the concepts of grouped specialisations handing work to each other having completed their activities. This creates a slow flow of work with bottlenecks around capacity. When unexpected work arrives and depending upon its priority it can destroys the whole flow of work and create ripples impacting the whole organisation. This behaviour with work is derived from industrial production techniques often related to the Ford production model of manufacturing.

In adoption of HCD, Agile, Lean and DevOps, work types are defined first and then the organisational structure is derived from the work types. The consultancy around the organisational design should be unique to each organisation in order to both facilitate taking porfilio work into viable and validated and measured delivery.

Psychology of Transformation

In large organisations there have been lots of transformations and people are used to dealing with them, adept at absorbing language and funds without actual transformation or the derivative cultural change. So as far as possible the psychology of transformation is defensive for the mainstream of organisations. Delivering long term cultural change therefore requires a top down adoption in order to establish an authoritative perspective of We Change rather than You Change.

In new ways of working YOU change is not the way to succeed it must be WE change together

Karl Smith

Human Centred Organisational Design TOM

At this point I’d normally publish the exactly how to do it, but to be honest in the wrong hands it’s a stick of dynamite, so I won’t just hand it out. Below is the Portfolio Planning for Business Agility for an Organisation focused on a Work Type Taxonomy rather than hierarchies.

Business Agile activities at Portfolio Level

If you’d like like to find out how to do this from someone who’s done it in an organisation with 80,000 staff contact me.

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Ego Ideas and the Failure of Design Thinking

Design Thinking is Not a Design Process for Designers it’s for Executives

Like many great ideas that come along Design Thinking has been perverted into a one size fits all toolkit. The inception of Design Thinking as a light weight coalescence tool for executives to work on strategy has been shifted once again showing the greed and gullibility of the mass market constituents and vendors ability to divert methods into money and activities they can’t deliver on.

Design Thinking as a light weight Strategy Coalescence tool and does not create products or services only high level thinking and prioritisation

Even well known Design organisations has jumped on to Design Thinking but changed it into linear processes, how embarrassing!

Correctly used Design Thinking

Design Thinking has over the past few years been used in many enterprise to reenergise and reengage business people with the strategy needed to drive their organisations forward.

Design Thinking has been used by charlatans to make executives think they can design products and services at arms length from their customers

Design Thinking is not Human Centered

Design Thinking is specifically structured around a set of thinking exercises. No customers are involved or engaged in the Enterprise activity of Design Thinking, so it is not Human Centered.

Ego Ideas

Unfortunately the attempted extension of Design Thinking as a top down directive on requirements for products and services only creates Ego Ideas as the level of detail to set direction is not the level needed to setup work.

Design Thinking needs to be filtered by the actual customers of products and services before it can be converted into services and products

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