The challenges of managing in today’s worlds are tough, very tough and demanding. It is so volatile, potentially disruptive and full of risk. Organizations are simply struggling to shed their clothes in the 20th century and find a way to smoothly manage to become more adaptable and agile in form. They are adjusting to offer consistent responses to instability in the most effective ways, to keep adapting to the consistent market challenges, and in so doing profiting from meeting that latest challenge or disruptive opportunity.
The problem is you simply can’t manage this smoothly, it will be highly disruptive as the organization re-equips themselves and learns, often in the hardest way possible, through failure, through experimentation, through risk-taking. Innovation is increasingly seen as the pathway forward in capturing growth and grabbing any advantage, even if these are increasingly transient. Yet as we look towards building our innovation capabilities we need to work in totally different ways and see ‘things’ in new ways.
Innovation in itself is also a force of instability and we need to find ways to embrace much of its uncertainties by understanding its dynamics. We need to have a major shift in our organizational thinking, needed to find the appropriate new balance within those dual ‘tensions’ of ‘stability’ through efficiency, with its opposite, ‘change’ driven by innovation. It is these dynamic forces within the world we work that need us to respond by building that capacity for managing those ‘dynamic’ innovation capabilities, that today’s markets are requiring and organizations are needing to master.
The emphasis needs to point more to building dynamic innovation capabilities
Dynamic capabilities emphasize management capabilities and the inimitable (unique) combinations of resources that are constantly at work across all functions to make them distinctive and valuable.
Distinguishing innovation capabilities that are relevant are based on the type of knowledge they contain. Functional capabilities allow development of technical, practical knowledge. Integrative capabilities allow firms to absorb knowledge from external sources and this is where absorptive capacity and its structure comes into our required thinking. Innovation requires us to constantly learn, develop, mold and manage multiple situations and challenges. This requires the integration of critical capabilities to successfully stimulate innovation for effective and improving performance.
Many of the identified resources in capabilities have some level of complementary, improving one triggers improvement in another. Equally ignoring one can impact negatively on others. So each component, on their own, have limited effect, it is the combined effect that generates the improving performance. Equally, the needs do change over time and you have to constantly ‘refresh, challenge and stimulate’ these, otherwise, you can have core rigidly set in.
Integrating back or making anew
To this end, I have produced a conceptual model of what I believe is the ‘make up’ for providing an ongoing innovation performance engine – the innovation fitness landscape and the dynamics of core capabilities. I felt it needed a dedicated website and this is where you have ended up to be the ‘go to’ source of reference. It is a work-in-progress so please recognize this when you find the time to explore it. The incentive to do this ‘exploring’ is quite simple, you are dealing in increasingly complex environments and you need to know your capabilities and capacities to innovate. If you don’t you will simply get lost and perhaps forgotten. Innovation offers relevancy and a path towards a sustainable future but it needs fresh approaches. I believe I can offer some insights to help.
The need for all of us is recognize and embrace the need to build an organization-wide innovation capability that should pervade all aspects of the organization’s existence, forming its new core innovation value.