Archives For pillars of innovation

After reading these posts and looking around Innovation Commission, some useful questions are:
  • What do knowledge, skills, co-creation and values have to do with innovation?
  • How can I look to the ‘core’ of innovation so I can plan for the future?
Some theorists have tried to identify this ‘core’ by specifying ‘pillars of innovation’, so there are many views about what these pillars are:

In 2002 Douglas Watts identified 4 pillars (enabling pre-conditions), which have been applied to elementary schools in Canada (Pollack, 2008  “The Four Pillars of Innovation: An Elementary School Perspective“). These are:
1) people
2) culture and climate
3) structures and processes
4) leadership.

In a 2006 article, Larry Wendling at 3M identified 7 pillars (also pre-conditions):
1. From the chief executive on down, the company must be committed to innovation.
2. The corporate culture must be actively maintained.
3. Innovation is impossible without a broad base of technology.
4. Talk, talk, talk.
5. Set individual expectations and reward employees for outstanding work.
6. Quantify efforts.
7. Research must be tied to the customer.

More recently Ali & Bull (2012 ) identified 5 principles for successful business innovation:
1. Leadership empowers innovation
2. Interest networks are leveraged
3. Ideation and development occur as close to the customer as possible
4. Rewards and measurement systems are aligned
5. Underpin creativity with a structured process

These are all useful for devising checklists to see if your organisation ‘measures up’ now. However, they do not give a framework for devising future strategy as organisations evolve or a lens through which to view everyday developments and allow them to be fitted into your own planning framework.
The next requirement is to identify the foundation concepts or themes of innovation. Don Tapscott has used a succession of books, papers, blogs and speeches over many years to identify and track these themes, which I will call the ‘pillars of innovation’. A sample of these references will be available in the resources area of the site.

Tapscott (2012) Winning with the Enterprise 2.0 has studied the impacts of preparing for innovation on many functional areas of business and has identified ten main areas or ‘themes’ which he calls the ’10 Dimensions of Change in Firms’.
Theme 1: World View – Think Global, Act Global
Theme 2: Corporate Boundaries
Theme 3: Value Innovation
Theme 4: Intellectual Property
Theme 5: Modus Operandi
Theme 6: Business Processes
Theme 7: Knowledge and Human Capital
Theme 8: Information Liquidity
Theme 9: Relationships
Theme 10: Information Technology

Based on his book Wikinomics – How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, Tapscott appears to tie them back them back to just five ‘pillars’:
  • openness
  • collaboration
  • peering
  • sharing
  • acting globally
In Wikinomics he develops these, with many useful examples. There is an updated book entitled Macrowikinomics (2010). These pillars are very rich concepts which will be used repeatedly to analyse innovation strategies and innovation-related events. Simplified definitions are provided below:

A form of corporate transparency which can improve customer trust. It also summarises the increased likelihood, in this highly connected world, that companies doing the wrong thing will get ‘found out’. As Tapscott points out in the Huffington Post, compromise of individual privacy is not part of openness, which only relates to corporate entities.

Working with others to achieve outcomes not possible working alone. Collaboration can involve experts inside and outside companies for business as well as individuals pursuing social outcomes.

Collaborative production of innovative goods and services by self-organised groups who may gather for ideological reasons as well as economic gain. (eg Wikipedia as a competitor of Britannica).

A knowledge barter system which may involve knowingly trading corporate intellectual property for other business benefits.

acting globally
An understanding that the sizes of entities and their geographical locations are less important than the synergies or benefits they can bring. As a business, your customers, suppliers and competitors (large and small) are global and the barriers to entry have never been lower.

Afterthought: What do knowledge, skills, co-creation and values have to do with innovation?

These three parameters are a helpful way to audit your success as you you confront your own task of learning what you need to know about innovation for the benefit of yourself and your organisation. Educators are accustomed to breaking every learning episode into the requisite knowledge, skills and values required by the end. Innovation Commission is an innovation learning resource site designed to help you develop of these three elements.