By Nicos G. Sykas, Strategy, Communications and Innovation Consultant
The tools and techniques of the 20th century have not succeeded in exploiting the huge opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Studies have shown that –on a global basis– up to 98% of innovations are retired from the market only 12 months after they were first launched.
You cannot tackle the challenges of 2020 and 2030 with the tools of 1970 and 1980.Boundaries between disciplines vanish. Competitive lines are redrawn. New players appear on the scene. Old ones disappear. There are new customers, different needs and new opportunities.
A dynamic approach to innovation is required for a changing ecosystem characterized by fluidity, uncertainty, randomness, variability, volatility, complexity, interdependencies, hidden asymmetries, catastrophic risks, irreversible damage,fierce competition and winner-takes-all effects. This is the age of Black Swans.
The New Innovation Model I have developed disrupts the international innovation landscape by offering a number of unique benefits and advantages. More specifically, this multifunctionalstrategy tool:
1.Follows a more holistic, polyparametricapproach which aims at:a) Ensuring the engagement of allstakeholders in co-creating new products and services, b) expanding creativity, deepening strategy, increasing connectivity and enhancing resilience and c)multiplying the possibilitiesof achieving successful outcomes by combining ideas, concepts, elements, symbols, features or capabilities from the four basic types of innovation: product, process, organizational and marketing.
2.Constitutesa blueprint for creating exceptional ideas andactionable insights and transforming them into valuable innovations. It is an end-to-end process: from the screening and selection of the original ideas by using a total of 31 creative, strategic, commercialization and sustainability criteria to technology and knowledge transfer.
3.Bridges the «Valley of Death» by focusing on the following critical factors: a) Differentiation, uniqueness (singularity), b) branding, c) strategic positioning, d) product / market fit and e) effective advertising during both the launch as well as the growth stage. The «Valley of Death» is the critical stage between proof of concept, product launch, commercialization and the success of the new product; the difficulty of covering the negative cash flow in the early stages of a startup, before their new product or service is bringing in revenue from real customers.
4.Facilitates cross–disciplinary, cross–sector and cross–actor innovation to achieve multiple, bottom–up solutions. This flexible multidisciplinarytool can be applied in practically all sectors (public administration, positive reform, cyclical economy, entrepreneurship, education, basic and applied research, social innovation, smart cities, National Security System, economic diplomacy, branding of the National System for Research and Innovation, political campaigns) and at all scales (products / services, startups – spinoffs, small and medium sized enterprises, large corporations, enhancing national competitiveness).
5. Uses the «Black Swan» and «Antifragility» theories developed by Professor NassimNicholas Taleb to produce innovations that are not just robust but get better with time and change –innovations that are «antifragile». The architectural design and structure of the new innovation should be such that it minimizes exposure and harm from negative –unfavorable– asymmetries (dangers) and maximizes exposure and benefit from positive –favorable– asymmetries (opportunities).
According to N. Taleb, a Black Swanis a rare, unpredictable event that has a major effect (large magnitude and consequence). A Black Swan carries an extreme impact (positive or negative asymmetries). The field of innovation is concerned with finding Black Swans, rare events that capture significant returns.
You cannot guarantee the success of an innovation. But you can increase your innovation success rate by ensuring that your business model links market needs with emerging and exponential technologies – this is where positive Black Swans can usually be spotted.
The proposed strategy tool leverages Artificial Intelligence and the potential of the Internet of Things, Big Data and rigorous real time analysis of that data by machines and systems to find statistical regularities, uncover and analyze more patterns, extract practical / actionable, value–creating insights, analyze real time a variety of scenarios, create multiple options and select the optimal innovation strategy.
The new Innovation Paradigmbriefly outlined above is presented analytically in a practical step-by-step Guide that helps Organizations: a) Produce more and better innovations and b) build a sustainable competitive advantage by focusing on how their business model can synergistically produce financial as well as social and environmental performance.
This powerful innovation management tool can:
- Generate local innovations with European impact and global outlook.
- Help Europe deepen its innovation edge.
- Ensure Europe’s global competitiveness – build AdvantagEU.
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