Whether your organisation is simple in architecture or structured in multiple business units and whether it continues to grow or is challenged by shifting markets, new fast-paced competitors or pioneering start-ups, the need for corporate innovation capability and a culture of innovation has never been more important.
And for most, that means organisation-wide transformation in pursuit of innovation. Based on the two bestselling books, ‘Building a Culture of Innovation’ and ‘The Corporate Start-up’ by OUTCOME founders Cris Beswick and Dan Toma, our approach to innovation-led transformation has enabled some of the world’s most complex organisations to drive new growth and begin to shape the future.
“Probably the biggest change, however, is the speed of change. It’s higher now than ever before. Digital transformation will ‘kill’ legacy business models like ours as we’ll no longer be able to price our products and services to the customer in terms of time and material. I know that investing in innovation will have a negative impact on our short-term CAPEX but if we don’t invest at all we can’t hope to get any new revenue in a couple of years or even later. I think you have to look at yourself in the mirror and understand that it’s about, ‘change or be changed’. You have to accept that change is happening without you or your company’s consent. And hiding behind traditional spreadsheets and analysis, focusing primarily on the history, will most likely not be sufficient.”
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TYPICAL CLIENT PRINCIPLES FOR OUR TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMMES
To achieve the goals of any transformation programme, we follow a tried and tested approach which begins with agreeing transformation principles. These principles represent the core of the required transformation and are visible in everything from core approach to processes to artefacts to culture. These principles represent the ‘how’ to the mandate and become the bedrock of the company’s innovation ecosystem.
SHORT DECISION CYCLES
In a world where the only constant is change, adaptability and speed become the competitive advantage. And the decision cycle time is at the heart of this.
FACTS VERSUS OPINIONS
We must recognise the need to adapt our way of thinking to address the VUCA world and global challenges at any given time. This also means challenging the mental habits, paradigms, and assumptions that have been successful so far.
EXPERIMENT – LEARN – IMPROVE
We don’t know what we don’t know – especially when building a new product or capability. However, if we are willing to learn through experimenting and adapt based on facts, we will be successful.
TRANSPARENCY & TRUST
Create an atmosphere of trust and psychological safety through inclusiveness and transparency and leadership based on doubling down on purpose and understanding creativity as a strategic capability.
Just like venture capitalists have investment theses, our approach starts with creating an innovation thesis. An innovation thesis clearly sets out a company’s view of the future and the strategic objectives of innovation. A thesis also sets the parameters for which innovation projects the company will or will not consider investing in.
Executing on an innovation thesis then requires robust portfolio management of new products, services and experiences. So, we build pragmatic innovation frameworks for managing the journey from searching to execution across both exploitation of today and exploration for tomorrow. Having an innovation framework provides a unifying language for the business and underpins how a company manages investment decisions and product development practices. This also represents the bedrock for the innovation accounting system of the company, and it serves as the physical manifestation of a new way of working and the required culture.
We develop the innovation framework following a unique process starting with understanding core market and customer problems and opportunities, identifying success factors to ultimately, scaling capability across the organisation. It’s an approach based on the bestselling book, The Corporate Startup.
LEADING FOR INNOVATION
Our approach to the leadership component of transformation centres around our unique ‘Leading FOR Innovation’ programme based on our ‘ODC’ framework.
This centres around the cascaded and interconnected nature of an innovation culture and the differing ‘look and feel’ of innovation at different levels of an organisation. The leadership component focuses on ‘Owning’ the innovation agenda and what that means in terms of the physical and psychological components required. Some of these components include accountability, collaboration, creativity, purpose, empathy. All key pillars of a growth mindset and key to leading an innovation-focussed culture.
We help shift culture by following the belief that it is not possible to change individual behaviour without changing the core context of the organisation.
So, we help unpack the differences between ‘current state’ and the desired and required ‘future state’ to create a set of bold and ambitious questions around how to build a culture of innovation and what the business could do in the future. It’s about making the art of the possible a real destination! The resulting questions become a set of hypotheses for testing across various parts of the business to ascertain the most suitable way forward for reshaping the current culture in pursuit of innovation but also stress testing how ambitious the company could be as it’s innovation maturity increases. It’s an approach based on the bestselling book, Building a Culture of Innovation.