Updated: May 17, 2019
How much does innovation cost? Where does it happen?
One thing is sure; it is impossible to maintain and strengthen efficiencies while disrupting the current business model. Simply put, sustaining competitive advantage requires a different (opposite) mindset than creating a new one.
Conventionally speaking, innovation enables organisations to create and deliver more value to the final user. Business innovation requires the work of a team of specialists focussing on the latest developments in the industry and applying them to the internal processes and the final product.
While there is still space for failure, this type of innovation (which is characterised by an incremental nature) is quite safe. Think for example adding a third blade to a razor that already has got two - not a big challenge after all.
Failure is much more likely to happen when experimenting with something new; for example, an unexplored opportunity for value creation.
In this scenario, teams are facing uncertainty - in here the path to innovation is not incremental, but somewhat disruptive.
If ideas (for value creation) are free of charge, what makes innovation risky? The innovation effort of a company turns risky when the investment required in generating and testing new ideas is expensive.
To de-risk innovation, therefore, we need to minimise the cost of generating and testing new ideas.
To do so, firstly we need to separate ‘routine’ work (running an organisation and delivering the current proposition) from work necessary in creating a ‘different’ type of value for existing or new users.
The second opportunity to lowering the cost of innovation is running virtual creative sessions. In here team members can play with ideas, start conversations and build new concepts. Embracing the power of visualisation in a team is critical in speeding up their capacity for innovation.
Lastly, and this is a significant obstacle, we need to turn this type of innovation into a continuous effort in parallel, and not disconnected from the current capabilities of an organisation to creating and delivering value.
In the next posts, I’ll share more about creating and running virtual creative sessions, which are a powerful way to make disruptive innovation not only possible but more affordable within existing organisations.