Thursday, October 06, 2016

New innovation realities require new mindsets and tools

Paul Hobcraft and I have been writing a series of blog posts about innovation, ecosystems, platforms and what we believe customers will ultimately demand:  seamless experiences.  As products and services proliferate and basic needs are met, customers become more sophisticated and more demanding, desiring products, services and business models that work together and don't require configuration, integration or effort by the consumer to "make them work".  Customers and consumers increasingly expect a seamless experience when using a new product.  If the product or service requires the customer to combine products, read manuals, acquire other products or services to make the solution work, the new product is likely to receive far less acclaim.

Understanding that, we should understand also that the tools that once helped innovators create new products aren't the same tools that we need today when customers demand seamless experiences.  Or, put another way, those original tools are still valuable, but by themselves they solve only a small portion of the overall challenge.  Take, for example, "jobs to be done" methodologies.

Jobs to be done

First developed by Clayton Christensen and expanded on by Tony Ulwick and others, "jobs to be done" is a nice methodology to understand customer needs.  Christensen and Ulwick propose the idea that customers hire products to do jobs for them.  If a product does the job well, it is "hired".  To help customers accomplish tasks, we need to understand the jobs they are doing.  This methodology has worked well for years to help innovators find unmet needs that can be addressed.  However, the focus for today's innovation needs may be too narrow. Traditionally, the "jobs to be done" were relatively discrete and narrowly focused, often leading to product features or benefits.  In a market where seamless experiences become more important, a too narrow application of "jobs to be done" risks solving only a fraction of the total customer need. 

Paul and I have suggested that perhaps we should move from "jobs to be done" to "experiences to be had" - that is, widening the aperture of the question to encompass the entire experience, rather than narrowly focusing just on discrete jobs.

Whole Product

This is an "oldy but a goody" as my father likes to say.  Geoffrey Moore developed the concept of the "whole product" in the 1980s and the concepts are still true today, especially in high tech fields.  Whole product refers to the idea that the majority of customers don't want to buy untested, unproven technologies.  Early adopters and tech enthusiasts will buy new technology, but the larger market waits for demonstrated proof of viability, compatibility, product support, complementary products, good support services.  Thus, Moore suggests that a "whole product" is one that combines all of these capabilities and features.

We'd like to adopt this thinking by saying that customers want more than "whole products" they want "whole experiences".  The product focused thinking is valuable, but must be combined with the larger context of what the customer is trying to accomplish, what experiences they want or need from a new product and the ecosystem in which the new product or service must operate.  A fantastic stand alone product that fails to work within the customer's ecosystem of products and services, or one that forces the customer to make compromises or work diligently to integrate to other solutions is not going to be successful.

Customer Experience Journey

This methodology is increasingly gaining popularity because it requires an innovator to think about the entire "life span" of a customer's interaction with his or her products.  The journey considers the awareness, acquisition and use of a product, and done well also considers aspects like omni-channel experience and the eventual disuse and discarding of a product or service.  Customer experience journeys highlight "touchpoints" or moments of truth where the use of the product can be combined with experiential factors like additional material, contact by a support center, access to the product's web site and many other interactions that build the experience of the product.  Those touch points can improve a customer's experience or degrade it.  The customer experience journey is a valuable step toward understanding the experiential aspects of the product in the customer's life.

However, even this isn't enough because the customer experience journey can be a very narrow perspective, taken from the aspect of the product and not fully considering how the customer views the product in relation to its ecosystem and the experiences the customer is hoping to achieve overall.

Design Thinking

Increasingly, design thinking is percolating into the innovator's toolbox.  IDEO and others have been proponents of design thinking for years, and I'm happy to say that design thinking is growing as an innovation input.  The risk with design thinking is again that it becomes "product design" thinking, focused on the design of products, rather than design thinking meant to help innovators and customers design products, services and experiences.

A seamless experience is almost by definition a designed experience.  There are very few accidents that result in a perfectly seamless experience that meet or exceed customer expectations.  To do this effectively, we need to understand the customer's "whole experience" expectations and map customer journeys, and then use design thinking to craft the anticipated experience.

Once we understand the designed experience, we can then begin to understand how, or even if, such expectations can be met by the existing ecosystems and platforms.


Unless your company name is Apple, you are very unlikely to build a completely integrated, designed experience that is a closed ecosystem.  Apple did accomplish this by creating a small range of products (iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc) that are basically extensions of the same core product and surrounding them with the same sets of features and services (iTunes as an example). 

Without this defined, closed ecosystem, most innovators must rely on third party partners, channels, data streams and other capabilities to provide the aspects of a seamless experience. This means that innovators must 1) understand what the existing ecosystem can offer and 2) reach accommodations and  partnerships with third parties to create more seamless experiences.  Thus, innovation isn't just about a new widget, its also about understanding the role the widget plays in a consumer's life and how to make that role as seamless as possible.

Innovating in the new expectation

All of this explanation ultimately means that any one of these tools simply provides a narrow glimpse into what customers actually want - we need to use them all.  Further, we need to move quickly beyond the narrow focus of product innovation to experience innovation, because that's where customers are moving - if they aren't already there.  The shift in the use of tools and techniques isn't overly difficult.  What will be difficult is the shift in mindsets, as innovators recognize that products play only a small portion in the expected experience.  This will mean that product organizations and budgets may give way to experience organizations, where companies craft experiences that products must fit into, rather than the other way around, which is the norm today.
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 6:42 AM 0 comments

Monday, October 03, 2016

Automobiles demonstrate the path to seamless experience

In an earlier post on the Ecosystems 4 Innovating site I suggested that innovators must understand the expectations of customers.  As such that's not new or especially insightful.  Innovators are supposed to find new and unmet customer needs, and solve them for customers in ways that benefit the customer and create value for the innovator.

What's important about this idea is that innovators must begin to understand the maturity and expectations of their customers.  Henry Ford could offer an exceptionally basic black Model T Ford because there were no other options.  He was fulfilling the most basic sets of needs for his customer - efficient transportation.  When people didn't have cars, they didn't care much about the color or other features.  As other automobile manufacturers entered the market, they realized that the basic needs were met, and began to add features, colors, options and eventually a family of models and styles.  We can look back over 100 years ago and realize that customer expectations and needs morph as basic needs are satisfied.  Ford was overtaken by Billy Durant, who created a range of options and models.  Durant recognized that many consumers wanted more than basic transportation, so he solved those needs.

Over the years, automobile manufacturers created a wide range of different types of cars - convertibles, trucks, vans, SUVs, etc to meet the expanding needs of consumers.  Other factors became important - safety, as seat belts became an option, and then a requirement.  Or gas mileage, as the oil embargo of the 1970s forced customers to care about gas mileage. Or quality, as the Japanese manufacturers demonstrated a much higher quality vehicle in the 80s and 90s.  Today, we have very different expectations about our cars.  They are more customized to our needs, offer a wider range of choice and are more reliable, dependable and predictable than ever before.  What they don't yet do is meet expectations for seamless experiences.

As consumers move from basic product needs to elaborate product needs, they take another step up the needs hierarchy and shift from product needs to service and experience needs. GM, Ford and others are waking up to this now, and in fact have done some service and experience innovating before.  For years GM has made more money from financing and leasing cars than from building and selling cars.  Financing was one of the first and most logical steps the auto manufacturers addressed as the tangible products matured.  Strangely, they haven't gone much further.  Today we see the inklings of the next steps - lifetime maintenance, so the customer doesn't have to worry about servicing the vehicle. Why should a consumer care when the oil is changed?  Why don't the experts at the dealership do that for them? And we can go much further.

A truly seamless experience for a car owner would be to consolidate all of the aspects of car ownership, car financing, car maintenance, even car insurance, into one seamless experience. Why bother to shop for maintenance or insurance?  Why can't the dealers (or another firm) offer these features, along with roadside assistance?  What about parking for city dwellers?  A seamless experience would mean the car finds its own parking nearby.  Eventually, a seamless experience will be a car on demand, ready to take you to where you need to go.  Fractional ownership, billed by the mile or the hour, transportation as a service, with different vehicles available depending on your needs.

A truly seamless experience is increasingly what customers expect and what innovators need to strive for.  Providing a discrete product into a customer's life and asking them to integrate it with their other products and services simply frustrates the consumer, who expects more from product and service developers.  Apple and others have taught them the power of seamless experiences, and they've grown to expect the ability to "plug n play" anywhere and everywhere.  The companies that understand this desire and have the ability to "build, catalyze or join" ecosystems (to quote Stephen Elop) that provide these seamless experiences will be the winners.

Tesla could lead the way to this nirvana of seamless experiences.  Already they are changing the dynamic between company and owner, removing or at least attempting to remove the dealer.  As they experiment with autonomous vehicles one can imagine a day when your car picks you up, takes you to work and then goes for maintenance.  Or perhaps goes to serve someone else as part of fractional ownership, staying productive while you are at work, rather than parked and unused in the company parking garage.  Innovators who aren't tied to the past concepts of product-driven innovation, who understand the consumers' expectations for service and experience, will radically alter the nature of competition, and will do it by innovating services and experiences, leveraging ecosystems.
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 6:38 AM 0 comments

Friday, September 23, 2016

Innovation, ecosystems, platforms and more

I'm pleased to announce that Paul Hobcraft and I will be working together on a number of posts that relate to some discussions we've had about innovation, more specifically how innovation must evolve from creating interesting but incomplete solutions to understanding how customers want to have interesting, seamless experiences.  Over the next few weeks we'll be writing posts on a new shared website that examine the state of innovation, and provide a reason we think so many innovation outcomes fail to achieve their goals.

From that assessment we'll look at what customers really want:  solutions and experiences, not discrete products.  People are too busy, too harried, have too little patience and cannot keep up with technology advances.  They don't want to be forced to "stitch" disparate solutions together, and expect products, services, business models, channels and experiences to work together to provide a complete solution.

In the course of several interrelated blog posts Paul and I will be talking about innovation, the necessary "ecosystem" for success, why good innovators won't think about products, services and business models in isolation, and how platforms contribute to greater innovation success.  If you are interested in:
  • Disruptive innovation
  • Ecosystems
  • Platforms
  • Seamless experiences
  • Open Innovation
  • The "whole experience"
This new site and our subsequent posts on the site will be on point.  What's more, we hope you'll contribute your ideas, feedback and suggestions on what we are talking about, what we get right and where you think we've missed a concept or an idea.

In the longer term I hope we'll convince you that interesting innovation relies on ecosystems and platforms, and disruptive innovation creates new ecosystems.  In fact we believe that along with a product manager, a new role or position will emerge that is equally important: the ecosystem manager.

But, one step at a time.  I hope you'll join us on our shared Wordpress site:  Ecosystems 4 Innovators, where we'll be publishing our thinking on these and other topics.  Paul has done a great job of pulling together some of our other joint material, which I hope you'll take the time to review.
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 4:48 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Shifting budgets from advertising to innovation

OK, I don't have a self-driving car and already I'm sick of hearing about them and their potential.  Just like I don't have a virtual reality headset made out of cardboard and an iPhone, but I'm tired of hearing about virtual reality.  The reason I'm tired about hearing about VR and autonomous vehicles is that they are overhyped technologies that don't yet solve important problems.  And this is one of the biggest challenges that innovation faces:  creating shiny new technologies that are interesting but don't solve society's challenges or problems.

We can ask ourselves a few questions about VR and self-driving cars, as examples of overhyped technologies.  The first one is an old one: quo bene?  Who benefits from the constant stream of hype that emerges around Virtual Reality (which isn't even all that new) or autonomous vehicles?  Why, surprise, the hype is being driven primarily by the manufacturers of these technologies.  VR, which as a technology has been around for at least 20 years, has simply repackaged itself for a new audience unaware that VR wasn't able to solve many problems two decades ago, and has simply repackaged itself as a "new" technology released from the mainframes.  Like Google Glass, the overhyped technology that didn't solve a problem and left the wearer looking like a dork, Virtual Reality so far doesn't solve mainstream needs.  Of course there are niche applications for VR, but right now the backers are making a much bigger play - trying to bring VR into the mainstream markets, tying it to iPhones and Androids.  Noticed many people out in the street with the gizmo fixed to their faces?  Even an application like Pokemon Go, which might benefit from this kind of technology, relied on the basic handset, and even it's flash in the pan moment seems to be ending.

This is a big problem for innovation, and why so many corporations distrust innovation as an approach to create new products and services.  Far too often innovation is led astray, to create shiny new technologies or promote technologies that have been on the shelf for a while.  Rather than do the real work of identifying needs and building solutions that solve real world challenges, innovators and technologists often build what they want or desire and try to sell it as a cure-all, a modern snake oil salesman.  This discredits real innovation, which has its basis in needs identification and validation, building solutions that matter and create value for people.  Right now these innovations, like VR and autonomous cars, are packaging technology and a lot of marketing to convince you that you NEED these capabilities.  Will the masses come?  For VR the marketing spend is past and it looks like the answer is: no.  VR has real applications in niche needs and industries, but so far we haven't seen a broad societal need that VR fills effectively. That's also because VR is a technology and not a solution.  We innovators must remember that the availability or discovery of a capability or technology is not an end to itself.  Good innovations must "cross the chasm" in order to get to the larger and more valuable markets.  Google Glass is a great example of a product that caused the early adopters to swoon, and left the early majority cold.

For innovation to add value, you've got to start with customer needs and expectations, what others call the "job to be done".  Then, create new technologies or repackage and repurpose older technologies to provide the benefits, and finally create a solution that provides value, don't simply offer a technology.

There's an adage that marketing and advertising the price you pay for being unremarkable.  I'd say aggressive advertising is the cost you bear for promoting a technology, rather than addressing a problem or need.  What if only a fraction of the money spend on advertising these technologies was spent on need identification and good innovation practice?  The outcomes would be incredible.
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 6:32 AM 0 comments

Monday, August 29, 2016

Innovation: management versus enablement

I love innovation.  I love all facets of it: the discovery of new needs, the creativity to discover new solutions, the realization of those new ideas as new products and services.  What concerns me sometimes is the way in which we attempt to implement innovation, because we are likely to constraint it at just the time we need the most innovation.

You'll see a lot of talk about "innovation management".  This is not necessarily a wrong idea, but in the wrong hands will severely limit innovation activities and outcomes.  We managers and executives, trained in the school of efficiency and with our MBAs in tow believe we can "manage" anything.  In to some degree that is correct.  We can manage and improve things that are well defined and understood.  To some degree we can even put guardrails around things we cannot fully understand or define.  But the risk we run when we talk about managing innovation, is that we become entranced with the idea of "managing" and not with the idea of "innovation".

In many corporate settings where we've done innovation consulting we see this play out over and over.  Managers and executives want and need stability, repeatability, predictability.  They want the outcomes of exciting, disruptive innovation without the variability and costs associated with what happens in the wild.  As experts in managing things, their first habit is to codify, define, and provide governance and structure to an activity that most don't fully grasp or understand.  Rather than attempt to fully explore the innovation possibilities, managers first attempt to get a handle on what they believe innovation is, and how it should be conducted, managed and governed.

As I've said, this is a very fine knife edge to walk.  Large corporations cannot survive with wild hare ideas sprouting everywhere and little definitive structure or guidance.  They simply don't work that way, and funds and resources don't flow to exercises that reflect those attributes.  But on the other hand, focusing too much on the managing aspect leads to constraints, rules and bureaucracy that will close the aperture for innovation and result in a well-governed, well-defined process that cranks out predictable ideas.  Which sounds something like your product development process, and that's a problem.  Most firms can't get well defined solutions out of their product development process fast enough, much less generate new and interesting ideas quickly enough, yet their first notion is to place the same "management" and overhead on innovation as they do on product development.

Now, this diatribe may sound interesting from a person and team that has argued for years about defining an innovation process.  And that's the other side of the coin.  You need to have just enough defined process in order for people to innovate effectively without creating bureaucracy and limiting exploration and risk.  Since there's exceptionally little commonality about how people generate ideas or shepherd them into new product development cycles, some definition is needed, some skills and tools are required.  Perhaps we should call this "enablement" - we are enabling people to learn new skills, define new processes, explore new needs - rather than "management", which seems like adding overhead without adding benefits. 

It's in our nature as managers, executives, experienced in the ways of business and pounded into our heads as MBAs that we need structure, process, governance, details.  These management attributes limit variability and exploration, and constrain innovation.  While we need just enough of these to be - wait for it - minimally viable for innovation, we also need enough enablement, expansion, divergence to allow people to come up with and explore great ideas.  There's more than enough management attitude in our genes and experiences, and not nearly enough enablement.
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 7:56 AM 0 comments

Friday, August 19, 2016

The basket of bad ideas scenario

So, over my resistance, my teenage son encouraged, no demanded, that we go to see Suicide Squad, the latest in a series of "superhero" movies intended to entertain us and drive profits for Hollywood.  Much as I expected, the movie was poorly plotted, poorly acted, a virtual pastiche of every hero movie ever made.  You could basically predict every scene, what key actors would say or do.  The movie made no sense, had no suspense and key characters (what was that crocodile thing anyway, or why does a guy with a boomerang qualify as a superhero) had little or nothing to do.

This is what you get when you scour the back catalogues of comic books, looking for ways to extend the franchise just a bit more.  This is what it looks like when you've run out of good ideas, out of plot lines and say to yourself - well, we have a number of not so hot ideas, let's throw them into a blender and see if they look better all mixed together.  A good movie, The Big Short, noted that this same philosophy, mixing up a number of bad loans into a new package, is what caused the sub-prime lending disaster.

So yes, I come to complain about Hollywood, which has lost all of its sense of creativity and wonder in search of ever larger CGI work and explosions, who can take good actors like Will Smith and have them sleepwalk through their roles.  This increasing reliance on comic book characters fighting ever increasingly improbable extraterrestrial monsters has reached and surpassed the tipping point - we've exhausted the concept.  But I'm sure there's more coming.

This concept of a basket of weak or bad ideas is not practiced just in Hollywood, however.  Far too frequently we see the same concepts practiced in corporations and in governments, where people and processes are too exhausted to identify new needs and generate new ideas.  Rather, they scour the back catalogues and overlooked ideas to come up with a melange of past due or weak ideas that can be baked into a "new" concept and offered to the world as a new solution or idea.  It's often far easier to simply package a bunch of outdated and barely relevant features, concepts and options and pass it off as a new solution, rather than do the interesting and valuable work of understanding trends, gathering needs and generating new insights and new ideas.

I'm concerned that some of the firms that were once good innovators are heading in this direction.  Two decades ago Steve Jobs cut the lion's share of Apple's product lines and bet the company on the iPod, iPhone and iPad, along with major upgrades to the Mac.  Today, we are getting tired, repackaged "smart watches" and hints about Apple cars and other devices.  Did Apple runs its innovation course when Jobs left the scene?  Do they have the energy and enthusiasm to create some really incredible new products and solutions?  Time will tell, but the iWatch and the lack of pronouncements this year fuel speculation that Apple has exhausted its good ideas.

Why do firms, like movie production houses, balk at creating new ideas and go back to the well so often, relying on poorly conceived ideas that were passed over in previous projects?  Why does a movie company feature a number of second and third tier "superheroes" in a movie whose plot appears to be stolen from Ghostbusters?  The answer lies in misunderstanding the audience, and in the fear of failure.  First, the audience for movies has rewarded Hollywood in the past for good superhero stories, like the reboot of Batman and the first Iron Man movies.  These felt fresh, new, well conceived.  They were main characters that were reasonably well known, with a history and backstory.  In both cases the producers went back to the origins, showing how Batman and Iron Man were created and why they exist.  As we move forward in time, the movie producers lost focus, cranking out more and more superhero stories which have increasingly little empathy, backstory or even coherent plot.  They are exhausting themselves because they are offering what it appears customers wanted.  But we customers have become more sophisticated, and the superheroes have become less interesting.

But the main driver for Hollywood and other industries is the fear of failure.  They'd rather fail by overextending a storyline or overusing the superhero theme than in creating a new concept or story.  If a movie like Suicide Squad fails, the producers can act surprised and claim that other superhero movies have worked in the past, so this one should have as well.  If a new idea fails, then you've got little foundation or past to stand on.  These last few years all we've gotten from Hollywood are reboots, reworking of old movies (a new Ghostbusters as an example) but little that's fresh, interesting or new, and certainly nothing that's innovative or tells a good story.

We typically counsel our customers that the first activity of any innovation project should be to clean up the zombie ideas.  These are ideas that no one has been willing to fund, and no one has been willing to kill. They simply hang around, taking up space, requiring further review, without ever moving forward.  In any innovation activity management will first require the team to review and consider the zombie ideas, since they exist and are often like other, more successful ideas from the past.  The mere existence of the zombie ideas gets in the way of doing something new, and makes doing new ideas seem more risky than it really is.  Further, packaging a bunch of really meager ideas into a new solution and calling it innovation is almost certainly a recipe for failure, and not a good failure where you might take a chance and learn something.

At this point the movie producers either need to go way back and find new characters that can become interesting main characters and build a backstory and create a real story line, investing in the development of characters or stories, or perhaps find a new genre to mine and exhaust.  Perhaps its time to go back to Westerns or sandals and togas for a while, because repackaging minor superheroes seems tired and outdated, it isn't working.  It won't work for Hollywood and it won't work in other industries either.
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 6:39 AM 0 comments

Monday, August 08, 2016

Do you speak my language?

I stumbled upon a nice article that deals with a very important issue for any corporate innovator:  how to communicate what you are doing, why you are doing it and why it matters to executives.  The article was published in the MIT Sloan Management Review and is entitled When innovation meets the language of the corner office.   The article notes that innovators often use different terminology when describing their work or tools (eg customer experience journey) and have different deliverables, project expectations and time frames than other, more traditional projects.  Because of these differences innovators may never succeed in communicating to their executive team or corporate executives or may simply sound like they are using new, unfamiliar languages when they seek financial investments or approval on new ideas.  Is communication a big deal?

I think so.  Paul Hobcraft and I built the Executive Workmat, which outlines 7 key factors for sustained innovation success.  While factors like Strategy and Culture were important, the factor that we found knit all the other factors together was communication.  Communication is a top-down and bottom-up issue, as well as a function to function horizontal issue as well.  Innovators, executives and others fail to communicate effectively in all of these dimensions.  The author of the article I referenced above is really only considering one aspect of communcation:  bottom-up, innovator to executive.  This communication is about planning, progress and accomplishment. Innovators must report regularly to executives, to identify projects, outline progress and report results.  Many times these communications are difficult, because innovators use new and unusual tools, have unusual deliverables.  Executives expect to hear about definitive outcomes and potential ROIs, so the two seem to talk past each other.  This communication failure is important.

Just as important, and not covered in the article, is top down communication, executive to team, which is about scope, priority, expectations and permission, communication that creates an opportunity for innovation and restraints or refocuses the culture.  This communication doesn't happen once, but should happen constantly if executives hope to build a culture and sustain innovation.  This means they need to be talking to innovation teams, of course, but also to the corporation at large.

The third type of communication that is important is what I'll call horizontal communication, team to team, function to function, which is often about setting expectations, getting help or assistance, understanding existing customer needs, helping to prototype ideas and attracting people to assist on an innovation activity.

Think about the plight of the corporate innovator.  It's a tough job, trying to create new things in an organization and process model that's honed to sustain existing things.  Expectations, language, rewards structures, strategies, personnel, everything is aligned for sustaining not inventing.  It may seem strange to focus on communication, but good communication is perhaps the most powerful motive engine.  What executives communicate, and follow up, changes what managers emphasize.  What innovators communicate (effectively) changes what executives invest in, regardless of other priorities.  Communication, top down and bottom up matters, because communication impacts culture, and culture influences both formal and informal decision making, resource allocation and a host of other activities.

When any team is doing something new and risky, they first perfect their language.  No one wants to be guessing about the meaning of a word or phrase in the heat of an important activity.  Clear, concise communication, readily provided and easily understood is critical.  Thus, if innovation introduces new language, innovators need to put their requests or communications into language that their executives understand.  Likewise, if communication influences culture, then executives must make clear where they stand on innovation and the risks and commitments they expect.  Good communication matters when setting the stage, establishing the need and communicating the results.

The problem with this is that no one "owns" language and everyone has their own interpretations about what words and phrases to use, and even their own definitions and expectations about what words or phrases mean.  If you doubt this, consider the last corporate meeting you attended.  Afterwards attendees picked apart the discussion and interpreted the meaning and nuance.  If this happens in the course of your regular, day to day operations, imagine how difficult good communication must be for innovation.  This diversity of opinion suggests that unless a company is INTENTIONAL about its language, unless it specifically sets out a way of communicating, defining channels, messaging and intent, language won't change, and communication will be less than adequate.

Good communication must be sponsored by the executive team, which is another bone to pick with the attached article.  Of course innovators must put their tools and methods into context, but there are many potential innovators and each faces a unique set of challenges.  One of the last things they are likely to think about is communication.  On the other hand there are few executives and they should be encouraging innovation.  Executives shoulder the larger communication burden when it comes to innovation, defining their expectations and outcomes, providing permission for people to try and fail.  If you want to know why executive commitment and involvement in innovation is so important, look no further than these three aspects of the Workmat:  Strategy, Culture and Communication.  If executives aren't engaged in these, they will not change.

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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 5:46 AM 0 comments