What exactly is an “ENGINE” of Innovation?
An engine is a device that generates power from fuel. An ENGINE of INNOVATION uses two sources of fuel for its energy:
- The Co-Creative Power of Differentials in Thinking
- The Aligning Power of Best Practices and Best Processes, which prevents these differentials from colliding in conflict, and instead generates new levels of thinking.
Based on your company’s strategic goals, when we construct the ENGINE, we design a set of:
- Strategies & Policies that Inspire your Organizations (Internal & External)
- Leaders and Champions to Put the Program into Operation
- Legal Instruments and Contractual Arrangements that will spur on the formation on Next Generation Technologies
- Organizational Relationships and Frameworks that insure a great flow of continuous innovation along the value chain
- Performance Processes and Practices that are driven down into the operational ranks to produce results
- EconoMetrics that measure your results, link rewards with performance, and diagnose problem points early
How extensive is an Engine of Innovation Project?
Some companies like to start on a large scale, others prefer smaller scale, like a pilot project, or a three day action planning program. It just depends upon how much support, vision, and resources you have in the organization.
The important thing is to do something, large or small. If you don’t, your competitor will eventually capture the high ground.
Could you give some examples of what an Engine of Innovation Project looks like?
The Case Study section of this web site will, in the future, some very meanful examples. Here are some vignettes:
- Established a Flow of Innovation between Bio-Tech Firms and a Global Pharaceutical company resulting in an abundance of new technologies being transformed into new products.
- Reengineered an Insurance Industry firm to enable new Innovations to turn a money-losing product line with dissatisfied customers into a highly profitable venture with very satisfied customes
- Reoriented Global Procurement to establish flow of Innovations from Suppliers into new products and new processes, resulting in jump in new sales, reduction of costs, and faster speed to market.
- Transformed Vendor Relationship in Major IT Global Outsourcing into Co-Creative/Innovative interaction, resulting in new processes, cost reduction, and win-win business model.
- Developed strategies and best practices for Global Pharmaceutical to enable producing quantum in Innovation Streams
- Strategically and Operationally Shifted Alliance between two Global High Tech companies to focus on new, joint innovations for customers resulting in jump in sales and customer satisfaction.
You talk about the “Architecture of Innovation.” What do you mean by “architecture?”
Just as architecture in constructing a building enables you to construct a wide variety of buildings that are both aesthetically pleasing and will last through storms, heavy usage, and the ravages of time, so does Innovation Architecture. Architecture simply means a set of strategies, policies, methodologies, principles, processes, practices, and tool kits that enable you to successfully manage and create innovation over and over again.
Great architecture should have a foundation in Best Practices which have proven over time to produce outstanding results.
How can I get access to these Best Practices?
During the last 15 years, we have conducted a number of Best Practice studies on the subject of strategic alliances:
- Strategic Alliance Best Practices: This is an ongoing analysis. The results of this program have been donated to the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (A.S.A.P.)in the form of a Best Practices Workbook. While we do sell this document, we recommend you join A.S.A.P. and get a copy as a benefit of membership.
- Outsourcing Best Practices: This study focused on what made a great outsourcing relationship and practices that produced great results. Our clients have access to this material in the work we do. If you would like a free copy of the CEO’s Pocket Guide to Outsourcing, contact Debi Gordon at the Warren Company. The more extensive Best Practices Practicioners Guide is also available for sale.
- Engines of Innovation: This study is the latest of our examinations of how collaboration creates competitive advantage. The overview of the results are published on this web-site in the Best Practices section. Because of the expense of doing a study of this type, we give clients access to the detailed practices through our Consulting Services.
How exactly do you define “Innovation?”
- Transformation of a New Practice, Product, Process, Or Paradigm
by an organization (company, team, alliance, etc)
- Unique collection of ideas or assets that synergistically yield new solution or result, unanticipated and unexpected
- Adapting, adjusting, or altering that which already exists
for the purpose of adding value.
- Innovation can be triggered by an Invention, or occur without a technological invention (see next question)
- The Creation of a New Idea, Object, or Technology
- To cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or would not exist via ordinary processes, resulting from originality of thought.
- Co-Creativity is to create with one or more people, particularly using the synergy of compatible differences.
How is “Innovation” different from “Invention?”
Innovation is much broader than Invention.
- Sic Basic Kinds of Innovation: (we consider these of equal value)
1. Technical Invention
- – Product Creation & Development with a New Technology
- – Next/New Generation
2. Product/Service Improvement
- Continuous Improvements making Existing Products/Services more:
- – Efficient
- – Effective
- – Useful or User Friendly
- – Integrated with other products, technologies, or systems
- – Valuable to users
3. Process Innovation
- – Innvovations that make existing Process:
– More accurate
– More Reliable
– Less Expensive
– More Integrated
4. Systems Solutions
- Unique Combinations of Highly Integrated Products & Services which may incorporate existing or new innovations to solve a customer problem in a new way.
- On-Star is a good example
5. Market Extension
- – Develop Services to:
- – facilitate Product/Technological Adoption and create value from usage
- – Introduce new value streams in existing customer bases
- – Serve Customers in New Ways
6. New Business Models
- -- Create new frameworks for doing business by redesigning how the customers, consumers, suppliers, or alliance partners do business with you .
- Dell & IBM Global Services are good examples
How do you define companies being "Proficient in Strategic Alliances?"
There are three main criteria to judge whether a company is proficient in alliances:
First: Does your company see alliances as “strategic” (as a major contributor to its ability to create competitive advantage in the market place?)
Second: Do the alliances have senior level support/commitment?
Third: Has the Alliance initiative in your company become professionalized, with first class management and the commitment to build real capability in alliance best practices in the staff.
The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) exists to support companies with aspiring to achieve world class alliance capabilities. Does your company belong? We have been providing powerful capability building programs and systems to many of the best-in-class leaders of alliance oriented companies for almost two decades.
If you are interested in the Development Stages of Companies engaged in Alliances, be sure to download this PDF file.
How do you define & what metrics do you see as important when reporting "strategic and economic" value ?
Metrics are simply the ways we measure output, such as performance. Because metrics typically align and drive performance, the absence of effective metrics can result in poor performance.
Metrics should be carefully designed to ensure they support strategic goals.
Without good metrics, energy will be scattered and often dysfunctional.
Companies typically make a number of mistakes with metrics, including:
- One Dimensional Metrics, with a myopic focus on finances
- Metrics that are at cross purposes with Rewards structures
- Metrics “spaghetti” that has to many disjointed metrics
Our approach to metrics has been carefully refined over the last 15 years, and focuses on five critical inter-active dimensions which we call Strategic Return on Investment:
In all our projects, we spend an appropriate amount of time ensuring these five dimensions of metrics are aligned and implemented to support the strategic objectives. We conduct a very powerful Metrics Workshop that brings all these five interactive dimensions to bear.