The Fourth Industrial Revolution has put innovation at the center stage of discussion across the world since 2015. We need an open mind and a suite of processes to develop, adapt, and apply digital technologies that are rapidly fusing with the physical reality. The global pandemic pushed everyone out of their comfort zone, providing a strong motivation to innovate. Every community scrambled to manage the health of the population, while trying to juggle the economic realities of social distancing. Creativity at home and innovation in the workplace witnessed enormous opportunities coming out of human survival instincts. The next few years will be an era for the innovator to bring a new normal to the world.
Structured Innovation is clearly the need of the hour. This brief article is synopsis of the first volume of a 4-Volume Book series on innovation, focused on Purpose (why). We will bring Portfolio (what), Profile, and mindset (how) in coming months.
Volume-1 Inspiring Next Innovation Purpose
Innovation and strategy are often mistakenly viewed as separate approaches, and I hear CEO’s saying “let’s get our strategy first, and then we will work on innovation.” That is as good a sign of an aging organization as any. Leaders realize purposeful innovation ought to be the strategy, not just a keyword or an action item to support strategy. It is the way for an organization to be forward-looking and deliver true lasting value, besides financial responsibility and sustainability. Ray Stasieczko says, “Innovative organizations understand the importance of relevant products; while dying organization stay obsessed with selling the relevancy of their soon to be obsolete products.”
The purpose generally comes from the heart of the leadership, and it can be at various levels, broadly classified below:
Financial Drive: Where the purpose is to provide enough sales and profit margins, to stay in business, and perhaps grow. I find this to be the lowest level of purpose, although mostly described, justified, and referred to under the context of Business decisions. I would prefer to call it merely an objective so you can exist for a larger purpose, … to create value in some form.
Technology Push (Industry 4.0): When the purpose is to successfully develop, leverage, enable, exploit the cyber-physical integration into process, product, service, or business application. It is OK to have a technology development as a defined purpose, but it makes a lot more sense to connect it with an impact on everyday living.
Social Pull (Society 5.0): When the purpose is to create a better life for human beings. This is the Japanese perspective and response to Germany’s Industry 4.0; Cyber-Physical-Human confluence to create a smart society. This is the onset of purposeful innovation and it now makes sense. Technology for the sake of technology or money only brings us halfway. Application for the benefit of humanity is where it ought to lead us.
Sustainability: This is where your purpose goes beyond humanity and addresses the sustainability of life on our planet for a long time to come. True sustainability requires a balance of economic, social, and environmental factors in equal harmony. Sustainable development is defined as ‘Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’
I submit that the purposeful innovation is the right way to go. The purpose around sustainable planet and smart society, through a balanced use of technology should be at the core of every business, community activity, and personal actions, while financial objectives are just a means to the end. I also understand sustainability may not be your purpose. It is OK as long as it finds place in your strategy as a limitation or a constraint, and there is an appreciation of how your decisions might impact society of the planet.
If you are interested in learning more, please register for our webinar here.
If you wish to purchase our books, they are available on Amazon and Kindle worldwide; and all author royalties go towards ocean cleanup.
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