Albert Einstein is broadly credited with exclaiming “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.
In the construction, energy and defence sectors, many public organisations and private sector businesses face ever-diminishing margins and yet some appear to be just doing the same things again and again. The margins keep diminishing. In the defence sector, the MOD is well-aware that to get different results, it has to change what it buys and the way it operates – resulting in a major push to adopt innovative technologies, management techniques and processes to achieve a transformation.
However, managing innovation is not a standard management skill. Why?
- Innovation is disruptive – it is not “Business as Usual”. It may well result in changing or even discarding current business practices as “not fit for purpose”. It may well change what the business does, how it does it, and what is delivered.
- Innovation is not straightforward – it probably won’t work first time. However, that is not necessarily a reason to abandon it, but to be prepared to try out alternatives and persevere.
- For any innovation to succeed, the opportunities must outweigh the threats. Many innovations fail simply because these are not understood, assessed and dealt with appropriately throughout the innovation implementation and deployment.
- Many innovations are killed by lack of communication of the net benefits to stakeholders. Thus a key stakeholder may just see a deficit in his/her area, without understanding the net gain to the business.
Based upon our experience of managing innovations in a wide range of applications, we support organisations to manage innovations by ensuring that these are all addressed:
- Collaborative Management - Each innovation needs to be incubated, developed and managed throughout its lifecycle by collaborative management involving all stakeholders – a “Team around the innovation” approach enabling all stakeholders to see the big picture
- What Will Happen - Each innovation is planned as a programme that includes iterative elements e.g. Agile
- What Could Happen – use best practice risk management to understand the threats, opportunities and associated actions (to minimise threats and maximise opportunities) and provide powerful decision support and what-if scenarios to explore alternatives
- What will ensure that it succeeds – wherever the innovation requires change, incorporate change management into the programme to facilitate the transition.
We achieve all this by
- Identifying the problems needing solutions - primarily within defence, security and aerospace market sectors
- Locating suitable funding streams
- Identifying the key technlogies that could contribute to the solutions
- Finding the like-minded technology companies who are prepared to engage in collaborations
- Creating consortia or partnerships to collaborate
- Assessing the Threats and Opportunities, then identifying the actions to take to minimise the threats and maximise the opportunities and show the net benefits
- Providing the innovation management expertise, tools and techniques that encourage and motivate everyone involved to collaborate, succeed and gain the anticipated business benefits of innovation.
For an outline of how we achieve this, see Innovation Management Approach.
We do this ourselves, for our own innovations in Defence and Security, so we practice what we preach, and can make it happen for you!
Do book an online discussion for an informal 30 minutes chat to find out how we do it, and how it might help you.