Innovating like it’s 1999

1999-partyTo borrow a phrase from the musician formerly known as Prince, we are innovating, at least in regards to platforms and ecosystems, like it’s 1999.  This isn’t to suggest innovation is making beautiful music, but to take you back to a specific point in time and think about the conditions.

In the late, late 1990s and very early 2000s, many individuals and corporations were experimenting with ecommerce, learning what the “web” would do to and for commerce.

Thousands of startups obtained billions of dollars in venture capital money to exploit the new idea of e-commerce.  We were assured that this would be the end of brick and mortar stores.  Every industry would be disrupted by the web.  Pet owners would go to Pets.com, famous for its sock puppet mascots.  The CEO of Accenture would leave his post to become CEO of Webvan, which would revolutionize grocery shopping and delivery.  And so on.

Mostly what happened in that period was a vast blooming of a number of experiments on the web, which led to the “dot com” crash only a few years later and drove many of these startups and some larger, established companies out of business. Most of these crashes happened because no one had figured out how all of this new ecommerce stuff was supposed to work, or because of vague promises of the ability to monetize eyeballs.

New technologies or capabilities will always create a “land rush” of companies, new and established, who seek to stake their claims.  Continue reading

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The Building Blocks for Managing within an Ecosystem Design

building-blocks-for-ecosystems-2The recognition that most business organizations are in need to form both new and connect into diverse ecosystems is growing. These are offering the potential of new pathways to a greater ‘connected’ innovation, expected today, one that gives increased value to the consumer.

Yet the understanding of what this means in commitment and structuring  has some clear implications behind this. Managing in ecosystem arrangements I feel requires a far greater understanding of the potential design, so you can achieve a more robust, open, dynamic and highly collaborative environment.

Jeffrey and I have argued in previous posts that working in Ecosystems will change the nature of business activities.Let me take four of these:

  • Ecosystems will have the potential to expand capabilities and enable experiences beyond anything possible today in the present world that most of our business organizations operate in; one’s that are operating in their own ‘disconnected’ world, internally focused, constrained by limited technology connection and resources.
  • Ecosystems open up the world. They connect it for a richer access to diversity and different sets of discoveries not possible within one organization’s current capabilities or capacities. It is highly collaborative and interactive.
  • It is by this very nature of opening up and interacting building a growing interdependence in relationships, that is driving the new innovation potential. One, that is looking to create and explore new business value by acting together, that offers a potential for outcomes to be greater than the sum of the individual parts.
  • As our world becomes more complex, ecosystems offer ways to coalesce around those sort of challenges, that brings together within the ecosystem community the potential to build, solve, share and exchange around goals and concepts that help solve these complexities,  achieved in highly collaborative ways.

We presently seem to lack a process of evaluation on what forms the building blocks of ecosystem validation and why entering into one can be significantly different.

Let me offer some thoughts here in a fairly long, rather detailed post that explores six critical parts: Continue reading

Are you thinking about Innovation Ecosystems? You Should

All around us, we are faced with new challenges. One of those is a profound shift taking place relating to innovation. Increasingly we are seeing a growing dissatisfaction on the impact that innovation is having; in growth, in returns, in market and customer impact.

One of the implications is this growing recognition that innovation is rarely succeeding in isolation but is growing on a more highly dependent type of complementary innovation. This will have a significant impact on organizations innovation management design and approach.

Innovation ecosystems are being established that fundamentally are challenging the way we are managing currently and in the future our innovation activities, setting about our innovating of “doing things” in very radically different and more connected ways.

These are threatening to dismantle the way innovation is being managed today, and due to this, we require a radical adjustment in our approaches to achieve a far more collaborative one built on innovation ecosystem thinking.

So what is this change occurring for us to consider the value of Innovation Ecosystems? Making the case. Continue reading

Innovation is simply not working anymore.

connecting-ecosystem-1We seem to be facing a major crossing-over point in innovation. We can either switch tracks and allow innovation to go on the slower line that continues to stop at all stations, picking up and dropping off, steadily working towards its final goal of “incremental delivery” or, we can decide to keep innovation on the fast track, picking up momentum because we need to treat innovation as ‘core’, essential and needed, to be delivering the growth engine our organizations are requiring today.

Let’s face it, innovation isn’t working successfully for many companies for a variety of reasons.  We are faced today with a changing market. The customer is demanding and their expectations are changing, industry lines are blurring, there are disruptive forces constantly at work 24×7 and even the constant steady drip of new business models are simply not working as well as they should be, so as to gain that elusive growth.

Some speak of VUCA used is an acronym to describe or reflect the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of general conditions and situations we all seem to have become caught up in.

Yet these are all symptoms of a larger problem that innovation is simply not addressing and this is why this growing dissatisfaction on the delivery of innovation solutions is occurring. We are not recognizing the changes occurring but more importantly the opportunities that can be grasped by thinking in different ways. We have many of the solutions right in front of us if we care to look, to understand them and make all the necessary connections and ready ourselves for a change. Continue reading