Innovation for a pre-defined purpose amounts to finding effective and intelligent solutions to a known set of problems. Boundaries of innovation and its application are either pre-defined or established early in the process of innovation. But in technology companies and for technologists, innovating for the sake of producing new technologies and solutions turn-out to be an exciting opportunity.
They may have a clarity on the piece of technology or solution they are building and totally lack how it can be put-to-use to extract economic value. Some of them may be ahead of time. A few may be incomplete from deployment point-of-view. A few may not have any obvious fitment to current customer situations.
Finding a problem to solve with this innovation becomes the challenge. Monetising innovation then hinges heavily on finding those problems and customers willing to pay for the same. When it becomes too difficult to find possible problems and application areas for these innovations, the value perception fades away. This hurts further innovation programs and pursuits. Innovation efforts turn out to be happy-engineering programs.
Pursuing technology innovation is important for overall progress. New Industries and businesses are formed due to intelligent application of technology innovations. It is hardly the same company innovating on both dimensions. To realize the true potential of the value of technology innovation, product, process and business model innovations become necessary.
When you are proposing, pursuing entrepreneurial journeys within a company or outside, make sure that you are clear about the innovation dimension relevant to your company and industry you are addressing. To monetize, you have to look for options for licensing, productizing, process-reengineering and building new business models as appropriate to the dimensions – technology, product, process, and business respectively. Else, the entire value of the innovation remains illusive.
When Technology innovations are easy to integrate & deploy, specific to a set of identified users and work on simple business models, finding appropriate problems and customers might become easier. Since the value of a solution/ innovation is seen only in the use of it, finding and engaging with potential customers and users early in the cycle is very important to keep your pursuit on track and build a remarkable craft.
be a #dreamerdoer
Digital organizations are the current generation of transformations at work. In these organizations, people and things are connected. They communicate via a decentralized, highly distributed infrastructure intricately woven into every aspect of their lives. With distributed infrastructure, you are increasingly eliminating standard framework of communications, social and economic landscapes. Communications amongst people today is more diversified, more emergent and often unpredictable. In this distributed work environment, small bits of work – micro-contributions coming from many people, mostly unconnected to the hierarchy of the organization is at the core of the next wave of value creation.
With the reduction of the distance between creation and consumption, decision making and collaboration is turning into dynamic and inclusive. People do like to explore newer pastures of work and showcase their interest and talent to a larger group of people than just their bosses and peers.
Creating platforms to harvest micro-contributions from a larger set of people on a volunteer basis helps in building the nest of opportunities and ready-to-use solutions – a true social wealth. Look at how current digital natives like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Flickr, Instagram and the others have created social wealth – for themselves and others. They couldn’t exist without our content, our unpaid, fun, and labor. It is we who create everything they are valued highly for. Without making these daily contributions, none of these platforms could exist, let alone thrive. Likewise, if you let people at work, including partners, customers, and external collaborators become micro-contributors to shaping your craft, the unbelievable and remarkable craft will emerge.
It is essential for every current generation entrepreneur and intrapreneur to learn the skill of harvesting micro-contributions from a large set of people to build their venture and a remarkable craft. Explore, design well and implement a catchment for micro-contributions.
be a #dreamerdoer
Shrewd wisdom advises you to be indispensable at work so that you are always in demand. You can do it in two ways. Become an inevitable-middle-man or a go-to-person. Both of them take a good amount of hard work.
Middle-man-tactics include a combination of
- using the position of power, or access to the people-in-power
- holding access to key information,
- pleasing the customer so much so that they won’t let them move out of their project,
- building a follower-base through politics, power and “taking” capability and so on…
They essentially become the strong-hold. Most of them are hated privately and avoided as-much-as-possible. They also tend to attract-bad-company. In this era of instant gratification, the distance between creation and consumption of value is reducing too fast. Digital technologies promise to make it as-close-to-zero-as-possible. This potentially can eliminate middle-men to a great extent. Companies deal with these guys in different ways as well.
Go-to-persons are those who are always in the top-of-the-list of everyone around them. They do it by being
- Subject Matter Expert
- Troubleshooter, Problem Solver
- Pleasing personality to work-with, friend to everyone around
- building a fan-base through their work, craft and “giving” capability
Most of them are praised privately and recognized publicly. They become the first-choice of people in key projects and initiatives. They also tend to attract-best-people-to-work. Digital is catching up with them too. It is creating access to several people like them outside the company, on-demand and in a cost-effective way. Digital creates the illusion of abundance. Companies embrace it to insure themselves.
If you want to make people depend on you, focus on the value. 10x is the minimum value you should achieve to stay relevant and be significant. Every interaction with people around you and the customers should yield significant value to them. You need a portfolio of niches to be valuable. Use the power of digital. Build your portfolio of skills and niches that is useful to you and your company. Do the opposite of what middle-men do. Be free to work with anyone in the organization. Share key tips, ideas, and information, freely and proactively. Be a good learner and sharpen your go-to-person skills. Be found and easily accessible. Make and keep promises. This helps in making people depend on you!
be a #dreamerdoer
Excelling at work comes naturally to a few folks. They appear at the top of high-potential-talent-list. They get considered for the most important and challenging jobs at the company. Their projects and ideas get the best-sponsor-support and of course, best results too. They are considered and treated as the-most-worthy. How does this happen? What determines how much you’re worth at work?
Value you add to things – tasks you work-on, artefacts you build – your craft – irrespective of how small or important it is. It reaches all people-in-the-chain, and of course, the customer, the user and beneficiaries. It has the most latent reach both in distance and time you can imagine. Valuable articles are kept well, used well and distributed well! Your work-product becomes your signature at work!
Value you add to people – those who work with you, those who work for you, your bosses and the customers, users. Every interaction with individuals should be a value-adding-experience to remember. Keeping it short, sweet and focused makes it highly-valuable. How you learn, share the learning and genuinely help others excel in their jobs and goals, makes you more valuable. They in turn, add value to your career.
Value you add to yourself – the skills you learn and use, the subjects you master, the promises you make and keep to yourself and that big-smile you carry on your face all the time – makes you more valuable for yourself. When you realise the self-worth and its impact on you, the people and the things, you get to the flow-of-performance. A freewheeling effect prevails. This takes you places.
Practice adding value to things, people and yourself. This determines how much you’re worth, at any point of time.
be a #dreamerdoer