How to Prioritize Your Innovation Budget

Harvard Business Review:

A great piece to the innovation puzzle; the challenge that drove us to develop the Strategic Innovation Canvas.

Originally posted on HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review:

Here’s the scene: A problem has come up with one of your supply chain vendors, threatening to delay timely shipment of your product. At the same time, a potential opportunity appears that, with some exploration and investment, could lead to a new generation of products down the road. Which do you respond to first?

You probably reach for your firefighter’s hat to extinguish the short-term problem. And therein lies a bigger problem. Leaders and organizations are under more stress than ever to do two things simultaneously: deliver on today’s pressing commitments by troubleshooting and refining processes; and find and invest in innovation opportunities that will create tomorrow’s success. How your organization responds to this stress in allocating scarce resources is a crucial but often unaddressed issue. The natural bias is to respond immediately to what is in front of you (like answering endless emails as they come in, for instance). The…

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The need for new strategy tools

What strategists need _ Engage Innovate Blog

Since 2010, we’ve been on a misson to “develop and share new strategy tools”. Our work goes under the title, ”Strategy Tools for the Next Generation“. In the the latest McKinsey Quarterly, the consulting firm lays out their case for a world in need of new strategy tools. It’s a strongly recommended read

The evidence is abundant. The world needs new strategy tools. The process of strategy; how companies shape their own future is rapidly changing. Yet the challenge remains; how do we solve tomorrow’s challenges using yesterday’s tools. Well, simply put. We don’t. Most of the strategy tools in actual use around the world were built for a time of slower change, less integrated markets, a more stable industry structure and a far longer life-time of most large companies.

This is just the reason we are in need of new tools, new thinking and a fundementally new logic around strategy. We’ve been proposing this for a number of years through “Two Lenses on Strategy“.

Two lenses on strategy

Two lenses on strategy by: Engage // Innovate’s Strategy Tools for the Next Generation

With this background in mind, we found McKinsey’s recent “What the Strategists Need: A Meeting of the Minds”, to be an incredibly valuable contribution to the field.  In a lenghty conversation between Strategy Officers, CEO’s, Strategy Professors and McKinsey’s Head of Strategy Practice, we get a great look into the current thinking around ”the state of the discipline,…with an emphasis on innovation in a changing world”.

We’ve chosen a few sections for summary of the talk (in italic) and our own comments below.

Old tools are actively misleading

”Yes, I think we may need new tools or frameworks. When the environment changes profoundly, the maps with which we navigate it may need to shift as well. For instance, from telco to healthcare to computers, sector boundaries are changing or dissolving, and new business models are redefining the competitive landscape. So tools such as Michael Porter’s five forces, created for a more stable, more easily definable world, don’t just lose their relevance—they become actively misleading”

This is a crucial point. The stable industry structure most strategists are comfortable with is increasingly getting challenged. Rita McGrath suggests “arenas” as fields of competitive thinking. A failure to acknowledge and understand these forces, will lead executives to view the world through wrong and directly misleading lenses.

We use what we know

”One reason our frameworks often seem out of date is that managers persevere to the point of desperation with the familiar things they learned 10, 20, or 30 years ago”

This is something we see often with clients and workshop participants  – and it also explains why the field of strategy is moving slowly in established companies. Today’s top executives went to school 20-30 years ago, and the theories and tools they learned were already getting out-dated. It’s no wonder, and quite a natural explanation on “the stuff we learned, is the stuff we feel comfortable using”.

Our tools are getting out-paced 

“A major problem is that the theoretical and empirical research in strategy has moved so quickly… that its distillation into intuitive concepts and frameworks applicable to strategy-making processes of firms has lagged far behind”

Yet, the challenge is not only the executives learning slowly (see our previous point). It’s also very much a problem of academy moving too slowly. A typical strategy research project can take years to design and complete, and yet several more years and multiple reviews to get published. In the meantime, the research and emerging tools simply get out-dated. Erik Wilberg, a senior lecturer on strategy at BI – Norwegian Business School and a long-time researcher on the media industry stated, “by the time my research gets published, it’s already out-dated”. Yet, this is changing. Crowd-sourcing, built on an open, global platform is now driving speed in academic research and time-to-market. The best example has been the “The Capitalist’s Dillemma“, with it’s unique approch to research. We can expect to see more creative, disruptive models of research in the future.

First, think. Different

My view is that we need …to help executives rethink what they do”

A key starting point for any strategy process; what’s our mind-set.Our starting point is always to help explore existing dominant logics and thinking modes. Without this, most teams simply fall into the mental trap of “more of the same, within our hidden, predominant view of the world”, i.e. trapped deeply in the box.

Innovation Thinking Modes -by Strategy Tools for the Next Generation

Innovation Thinking Modes -by Strategy Tools for the Next Generation

There’s a superb selection of books, helping Strategy Officers challenge their existing mind-set. We recommend:
Creative Confidence, by the Kelly Brothers
Creating Minds, by Howard Gardner
Mindset, by Carol Dweck

Questions drive creative thinking

”Framing questions is the other tough challenge, and it’s one of the most important yet underappreciated parts of strategy development”

Yes! A core skill for any Strategy facilitator, Strategy Officer and CEO, is the ability to find and ask the right questions at the right time. The skill to ask mind-opening, exploring and energizing questions, while most people around the table simply expect another PowerPoint presentation is a trigger for good stratey processes.

Strategy is fundamentally a creative excercise 

”A strategy is not the obverse of an analysis. It usually comes from some creative insight”

Gary Hamel, Clayton Christensen, Rita McGrath, Bill Fischer, Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, Costas Markides, Scott Anthony and Mark W. Johnson are just a hand-ful of the strategy experts arguing strategy being a fundementally creative excercise. Yet, few executives are trained in the skills and tools to make this happen. Yet.

Strategic innovation is challenging 

”…but it’s darned difficult to create truly innovative strategy options.”

Strategy; from "linear plan" to "a portfolio of business models"

Strategy; from “linear plan” to “a portfolio of business models”

We see the field of strategy moving from “a linear plan” to “juggeling a portfolio of overlapping and competing business models”. Rita McGrath calls this “balance a transient portfolio” of business models.

Developing a series of strategy options is one thing. Developing and running a series of business models, and reinventing the company again and again around these various business models, that’s a whole other challenge. Today, Amazon and Apple are the two leading examples. Tesla Motors is emerging as another. Yet, the truth is, for most strategy executives today, ”…it’s darned difficult to create truly innovative strategy options.”

This is why we find our work around Strategy Tools for the Next Generation to be highly energizing and a fantastic challenge. The world is learning to work differently with strategy – and we hope to contribute to that movement. The McKinsey Roundtable is another great conversation on the topic and we will see more of these in the future. For us, the next will be in Vienna, in November, we’re we’ll be joining the 6th annual Global Drucker Forum, The Great Transformation. With many of the world’s leading strategy academics in session, we’re looking forward to the conversations on changing how the world works with strategy and innovation.

FT.com: Business Model Innovation

Note; 

This article by Dr. Oliver Gassman was so spot on, we just had to share it….. A very precise, brief explanation of business model innovation. Thanks FT.com! 

The danger in missing the innovation moment

Companies fail to identify future opportunities because they do not have fresh business models

Have you ever wondered why hyper-successful companies like Nokia or Kodak suddenly lose their edge? How companies such as Commodore Computers, Grundig, Nakamichi, Newsweek or Polaroid could possibly fail?

They all had abundant research and development resources, top employees and a profound knowledge of their markets. But they had another thing in common: they all missed the moment when they should have left their successful path to rethink their business models. They missed out on radical innovation because they were too busy managing daily business and serving current clients – instead of looking for future opportunities.

 

ON THIS STORY

It seems the business model

Products and companies do not differentiate winners from losers; it is the right business models that do. Of BCG’s 25 most innovative companies in 2013, 14 are business model innovators. For example, Apple became the biggest music retail seller without selling one CD; Netflix reinvented the video business without operating a single video store. Google continues to attack new industries with its data-based services and devices; Google’s products from glasses, to self-driving cars to smart thermostats are just a means for increasing and leveraging Google’s data-based consumer insights.

Business model innovation is more profitable and more sustainable than product innovation and is badly needed in Europe today.

How are we addressing this issue in business schools? Too often business schools preach interdisciplinary research and team thinking while teaching in functional silos such as strategy, marketing, operations or finance. Global competition requires a more holistic approach to business development that typically reflects business model thinking.

Managers taking a business model view ask who-what-how-why questions for every new product, for every new company and for every new process they develop. Who is our target customer? What are we offering our customer? How do we deliver the value proposition? And why does the business model generate profit? These questions are interdependent and often touch the dominant logic of an industry.

Business model innovators like Google, Amazon, Nestlé, Hilti and Daimler revolutionised their industries by overcoming its dominant logic. Amazon has become the biggest bookseller in the world even though it does not own a single brick-and-mortar store; Skype is the largest telecommunications provider worldwide even though it does not own any network infrastructure.

But overcoming the dominant logic of their industry remains the biggest barrier for experienced managers. Some innovators do it accidentally, some intuitively, but rather seldom as a systematic leadership task.

Compare this to engineering and engineering schools. Every engineer learns design rules for new product development in their first year, but business schools do not teach how to design new business models. Business engineering still seems to be an art that only a few gifted entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Larry Page have mastered.

There are design rules and patterns for business model innovation, but they are rarely actively developed and taught. Developing a business model is a craft that can be learnt.

Research at St Gallen on more than 350 of the largest business model revolutions within the past 50 years found that 90 per cent of all business model innovations are based on 55 core patterns.

For example, when Nestlé invented Nespresso capsules in 1986 it revolutionised the coffee market and today 5bn capsules are sold annually. Nespresso’s strategy of selling its coffee machines for very little, while charging €80 per kg for coffee is based on Gillette’s razor-and-blade business model. Nestlé combined it with a lock-in pattern, where customers cannot switch to competitors’ cheaper products.

Executives, business engineers and innovators have to learn systematically how to develop new business models. Our action research as well as in-house company projects shows that executives can learn these patterns by being confronted with concrete and challenging questions. For example, how would Nespresso run your business? It is amazing how creative managers become once they begin to think in this way.

The biggest challenge is learning how to unlearn. This is a challenge that should be taken up by business schools.

The author is professor of technology management at the University of St Gallen

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Welcome Inger Hanne

Welcome, Inger Hanne

It’s a sincere pleasure to welcome our latest team member, Inger Hanne Vikshaland. She joins us from the position as Social Media Manager from the start-up IT-consultancy, Peanuts – by brilliant people. She’s joining Engage // Innovate to strengthen the company’s international growth.

Inger Hanne Engage Innovate

Big ambitions – and even bigger expectations
Since day one, Engage // Innovate as always been about “Dreaming Big – and execute successfully”. Today we are shifting gears and accelerating further. During this month’s strategy seminar in Brazil, we’ve developed our “9 Ambitions”, our call to action for developing a series of highly diverse business models. Our “Strategy as stretch” is highly motivating and gives us tons of energy.

In this driven, high-performance environment, we hold huge expectations of Inger Hanne. This is not a job, it’s a 24/7 lifestyle. “Perhaps, the most challenging job you’ll ever hold”, we once discussed.

Multiple role ….and Head of global events

Inger Hanne will have multiple roles at Engage // Innovate. Primarily, she’ll be working on our consulting projects for clients both locally and abroad. Here, her focus will be helping our clients increase innovation and drive strategy and change. This also includes a strong focus on marketing, social media and digital business model innovation.

One of Inger Hanne’s strengths is her natural talent for speaking and workshop facilitation. She’s a natural facilitator, handling both large and complex groups with ease. As Engage // Innovate runs a large number of in-company and open strategy & innovation workshops every year, this is one of our core company skills and will be put to good use in the coming years.

Second, in line with our international expansion, she will be heading up our global marketing and events. Starting late 2014, Engage // Innovate will launch a series of open workshop and events on strategy and innovation. Oslo, Dubai and Copenhagen are the first cities we are looking at. She’s also leading up the work for our Strategy Summit, taking place in Stavanger, Norway in January 2015. Over the following months, she’ll also be heading up our upcoming “Banking Innovation Workshop” and “Digital Business Model Innovation seminar”, both taking place in 2015.

As a core part of our growth strategy, she’s leading our work with global speaking agencies. We are currently represented in the US by Speaking.com. In Europe by Speakers Academy and in Scandinavia by Athenas. Working with speaking agencies is a great way to reach interesting audiences around the world, and Inger Hanne is actively growing our network of partnerships around the world.

 

A great start – in Italy

While planning for the future, she’s already hands-on with several clients. During her on-boarding period, she’s been deeply involved with our work for Reckitt Benckiser in Venice, Italy. Her insights and case studies on digital and social marketing was a perfect fit for our client looking to grow their digital business.

“Case Study and examples opened our mind to the digital business world: Alibaba, Twitter, Klout, You tube, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook shall be included into our thinking while working on projects’’, and, “Eye-opening examples and high quality time spent with the team creating many digital ideas”, were just two of the feedbacks she got after the client workshop.

Engage Innovate Italy

Fantastic speaker

Inger Hanne is also a superb speaker, speaking on marketing, social media and leadership of Generation Y. ‘’My real passion is engaging with large audiences’’, says Inger Hanne. This fall she’ll be speaking at public events in Bergen, Haugesund, Stavanger. While she’s scheduled for a Vienna event in February 2015.

Inger Hanne Speaking ONS

 

We are very much looking forward to getting her on-board and up to speed at Engage // Innovate.

You can follow Inger Hanne:
on Twitter at @vikshaland
On Instagram @ingerhanne
On Linkedin @Ingerhanne

On Tesla’s TV

It’s kind of cool to get picked up and featured on Tesla Motor’s internal tv stream.

Earlier this year we held the Strategy Summit: Learning to Work Differently with Strategy.
29 CEO’s and business leaders gathered in Stavanger, Norway for a full day of hands-on strategy tools and strategy cases. One of these tools, and one of these cases was Tesla Motors.
We used the company as a case study on the “Three Levels of Business Models” tool.

Today, we noticed Tesla Motors is running this on their company internal smart tv solution.
Cool.

A must-read; The Capitalist’s Dillemma

The June issue of HBR carries an article that will resonate around the globe and impact business thinking and education for decades to come.

A fantastic piece of work (and crowdsource) by Clay Christensen and Derek van Bever, plase enjoy the The Capitalist’s Dilemma or watch the early video below.

 

 

Workshop slides from FEI Venice 2014

The Hand-out toolkit can be found here