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To compete in an innovative market, our profiles as knowledge workers has to change if compared with 10 yrs ago. We talk about T-shaped persons using the T as a metaphor of our competences:
The vertical bar on the T represents the depth of related skills and expertise in a single field, whereas the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one’s own. . Wikipedia
I think this vision is not enough. Nowadays the horizontal bar need to be extended: there are so many competences that are adjacent to your business, interests that no one has time and memory enough to acquire all those skills.
Where does this extension comes from? Easy: your network! The Extended T-shaped person actively extends his competences with the competences of his network. I say actively because being part of a network is something that need the most precious resources we have today: time and attention.
When we don’t give our people the space to take calculated risks, learn, apply, and iterate, we are really risking our future. While there is a risk to improvising and spontaneity, control brings its own insidious dangers. In our push for perfection, we over-engineer. We add so many bells and whistles that it takes a Ph.D. to use the product. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Just because we can practice to perfection doesn’t mean that’s best.
Serial innovators tend to use their connections and networks to mobilize resources and build strong alliances, both internally and externally. Popular accounts of entrepreneurship tend to glorify innovators as independent spirits and individualistic geniuses, but innovation is always the product of teams. In line, entrepreneurial people tend to have higher EQ, which enables them to sell their ideas and strategy to others, and communicate the core mission to the team.
[…] few assumptions about innovation that underlie […] contest
- The main problem the firm has with innovation is that they don’t have enough ideas.
- The reason that people aren’t innovating is that they aren’t being paid enough to do so.
- Idea generation is the best place to invest money to improve innovation.
All three of these assumptions are false, and that is why this initiative isn’t going to work. This is the most common innovation mistake that I see: acting like innovation is all about generating new ideas.
So, the long and the short of it is, you too can become a designer. I suggest you try it using these three steps:
#1 – Pick one among the challenges you face daily. It can be as simple as refining the best way to commute to work, or as complex as designing your own methods to put your baby to sleep with minimum crying and maximum speed. Just pick one.
#2 – Develop an awareness for the process you follow to tackle that challenge. In particular, notice some of the changes you’ve made recently to improve your outcomes. Be mindful about what works and what doesn’t, and how you iterate your solutions to make continuous improvements.
#3 – Now comes the hardest part. Say this to yourself: I am a designer.
This confusion happens all the time. Quality is not an absolute measure. It doesn’t mean ‘deluxeness’ or ‘perfection’. It means keeping the promise the customer wants you to make.
From Misunderstanding quality
It’s ironic that two industries who are highly reliant on collaboration often have the most siloed legacy systems, processes and IT infrastructures. As one aerospace executive told me recently, the industry sees cloud computing as solution to what many call “silos of excellence” that slow down progress. Aerospace executives also speak of security concerns, especially in the area of globally-based defense support and logistics platforms.
full article here
…. mmmmmm: my spider senses are tingling ….
We have a practice at home: one day per week we have a ‘reading evening’. No TV is allowed: after dinner we take a book and we read all together.
Now what’s happening lately is that my 8-yrs-old digital-native heavy-iPad-user computer-enthusiast son started saying:
“OK Dad tonight we have our reading evening and you cannot read with the iPad, you have to use a paper book”
So I asked:
And he said …. ok I don’t want to tell you the answer immediately :).
You guess: why he doesn’t want me to read with the iPad?
I’ve heard, in different moments in time, different definitions of how an IT Manager, a CIO, should look like. Which are the most important skills, the background she has to have.
At the beginning, it was all about technology:
IT was too far from human beings
and IT was available only in big corporations. The IT Manager was the guy with the white coat: an expert of her matter. An IT guy.
Than IT became more commodity and it was the time of business:
IT was too far from the business
and IT decided it was time to talk the language of the business. So the IT dept moved under the CFO or the COO, and the IT Manager became a ‘business man’. Technical skills were no more important for her: there was the outsourcing and the SLAs to cope with the ‘technical stuff’.
Then the internet came, and Google, and Facebook, and Twitter … and all of the sudden
IT, inside corporations, is too far from real life
and people inside the company use to have such a bad IT experience that he would never accept at home … even for free.
To manage all of this we need a new race of IT Managers: they must have deep understanding of both parties. They must know a lot about IT and a lot about making business. But today it’s no more enough. Nowadays IT tech skills and management skills can be an obstacle, sooner or later, if they are not enriched with good design skills.
In the innovation and design era, to move IT at the right speed (maybe 10xFaster) and at the right level of innovation, IT + management + design have to be carefully used, melted, weighed out.
p.s. Thanks to my friend Nico Bigi for the inspiration of this post
One thing that I took with me from the speech is that:
“user’s need are verbs and not nouns”
Let me explain that: when you have to understand people’s needs, because you have to design something to service them, ask them to describe the need as a verb.
So I don’t need a STAIR (noun), a stair is a already a solution, “I need to go up (verb) to …” .
I give you an extra tip for free 🙂 : the most the description of the need is ‘open’ (= less constraints, more general), the highes is the number of innovative options you can get back.
p.s. Thank you Matteo for teaching me that 🙂