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Innovation! An Obsession

"52% of Fortune 500 companies have merged, been acquired or gone bankrupt since 2000." Perhaps this is why "38% of the largest 200 global companies by revenue, across sectors, have set up Innovation centers across the world today."

As the drumbeat of innovate, innovate, innovate keeps throbbing across global enterprises, Digital and Innovation Chiefs are among the most in demand C-Suite Jobs. Executives who can help companies navigate digital and technological change will be among the most sought-after candidates.

Let's stop for a moment and think about the fundamentals of innovation. We humans have always innovated, It's what we are born to do, this is what got us out of the caves! But when we think of innovation in business context, we often conjure up visions of Steve Jobs wowing the crowds at Mac world, but the truth is that innovation is a messy business. Part of the problem is that we mostly see successes, while failures often go unnoticed or are swept under the carpet. We get taken in by myths and gloss over the realities.

Here are 5 Things Every Organization Needs to keep Innovation center-stage:

1) Seek out Problems

There's no set path to innovation. Most people think that innovation starts out with a great idea, but the truth is that it starts with a Genuine Problem. So hiring smart people and encouraging creativity are not enough. If you want to make your organization more innovative, the best thing you can do is to think seriously about how you seek and search problems.

See the problem before you find it in the board room!

2) Choose Problems That Suit Your Capability, Strategy And Culture

Every organization's innovation playbook is different. Organizations, like their people, must learn to repeatedly reinvent themselves, and not be set in permanent molds or cast in stone. It is hard to think of successful, disruptive or breakthrough innovations without an individual, team or leader taking a strong personal risk. Therefore, one essential ingredient of innovation is Courage.

Have the courage to FAIL

3) Where to find innovation

Too often, we picture Innovation labs with guys in white coats developing the next breakthrough. The reality however is, great ideas are often found in universities or coffee shops, or even over a beer after work. Innovation mavericks often thrive best in organizations which have a structure and top-down approach, yet maintain the necessary agility to accommodate Experiments.

Experiment - Experiment - Experiment: Be a prototype driven company

4) Leverage Talent, Technology and Information

Traditionally, business strategy was largely seen as a game of chess in which leaders need to think about ways of winning against opponents (competition). Now, the dynamics have shifted towards Collaboration, Alliances and Partnerships and at core of the business is the customer. Today, the nature of power has changed and advantage is not determined by what assets you control, but what talent, technology and information you can explore.

Don't think Winning - Think Win-Win

5) Build A Collaborative Culture

“No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else or for themselves”. Therefore, to leverage global talent, collaboration is key. A Digital Transformation Special Task Force (STF) is often led by the Chief Digital Officer assisted by other C-Suite executives. However true innovation happens when the process is joined by external experts or innovation consultants, agencies or even customers for that matter.

Competition makes us Faster, Collaboration makes us Better.


According to The Wall Street Journal Organisation, in just one 3 month period, more than 250 books were published with the word "INNOVATION" in the Title. And in the same year, Quarterly & Annual Reports used the work "INNOVATION" 33,528 Times.


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