Innovaization: Introducing a new strategy tool for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Innovaization: Introducing a new strategy tool for the Fourth Industrial Revolution


 


By Nicos G. Sykas, Strategy and Innovation Consultant

 

In his book Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder Nassim Nicholas Taleb states that «Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better. This property is behind everything that has changed with time: evolution, culture, ideas, revolutions, political systems, technological innovation, cultural and economic success, corporate survival…. The process of discovery (or innovation or technological progress) itself depends on antifragile tinkering».

  1. Taleb argues that «An option is what makes you antifragile and allows you to benefit from the positive side of uncertainty, without a corresponding serious harm from the negative side…. Let us call trial and error tinkering when it presents small errors and large gains…. The antifragile needs to select what’s best – the best option…. Trial and error… is not really random, rather, thanks to optionality, it requires some rationality. One needs to be intelligent in recognizing the favorable outcome and knowing what to disregard…. We can, from the trial that fails to deliver, figure out progressively where to go».

Steve Jobs warns: «You have to pick carefully…. Innovation is saying no to 1.000 things».

In his book The Signal and the Noise, Nate Silver indicates that «The goal of any predictive model is to distinguish the signal from the noise. The signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth».

Schumpeter, the father of the study of innovation, suggests that innovation should be defined as «new combinations».

Experts form diverse fields such as the mathematician Henri Poincaré and the neuropsychologist Antonio Damasio support that scientific discovery constitutes the most fertile combination of elements from different domains.

In her book Change Ahead. How research and design are transforming business strategy, Carola Verschoor sums up the creative process: «Mixing and matching to create new combinatorial possibilities».

According to Scott Page «By seeing problems differently (diverse perspectives) and by looking for solutions in different ways (diverse heuristics), teams, groups, and organizations can locate more potential innovations».

Beth Hennessey and Teresa Amabile argue that «Only by using multiple lenses simultaneously, looking across levels, and thinking about creativity systematically, will we be able to unlock and use its secrets».

David Perkins in his book The Eureka Effect – The Art and Logic of Breakthrough Thinking organizes breakthrough thinking into four logic operations: a)Roving – exploring the possibilities widely, b)detecting –looking harder for clues that point a direction, c)reframing – looking at the problem from a different perspective and d)decentering – moving away from approaches that don’t work.

In their book Exploring Creativity Brian Moeran and BO T. Christensen raise another challenge: « Is it possible to follow systematically ‘the invention and testing of multiple possibilities’ that are ‘the signature of creative activity’ (Menger 2006: 63)? »

Innovaization is a new strategy tool I developed in the midst of the Great Recession 2008–2017; it was born in crisis, at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Its purpose is to help both public sectors and businesses produce more and better innovations and tackle multiple challenges more effectively.

Innovaization’s combinatorial power encourages creativity through the synthesis of elements from different innovation types, domains and disciplines. This cross functional, holistic and systemic approach: a)Fosters the cross-fertilization of ideas and interlinks perspectives, b)increases the chances of discovering new facts, new relationships and new patterns, c)expands the range of options and d)identifies more opportunities and new ways of creating valuable solutions.

Innovaization is an analytical framework that:

  1. Combines ideas, elements and concepts from the four basic types of innovation: product, process, organizational and marketing – it may also involve the combination of innovations. This interactive process gives rise to thousands of possibilities. By overseeing the nature of the interconnections amongst the four innovation types we can zoom into the interface, focus on different aspects, iterate through all possibilities, discern alternative prospects and increase the probability for breakthrough innovation.
  2. Uses several sources of information and different sources of insight. Such a multi-layered and multi-faceted approach encourages creative exploration, creates extra connections, reframes problems and discovers new perspectives.
  3. Expands the ideas and widens the context to develop more meaningful, distinctive and durable concepts.
  4. Encompasses: a)Both phases of the creative process: diverging (exploring) and converging (synthesizing) and b)the full innovation cycle, from idea generation to verification.
  5. Employs built-in success factors/criteria for evaluating alternatives.
  6. Brings together all key innovation stakeholders.

Innovaization is a dynamic process that facilitates –through the use of metaphorical analogy– the creative configuration of the four basic innovation types (product, process, organizational and marketing) so that emergent innovations synergistically produce economic, social and environmental value.

Innovaization Lab encourages participants within and across the four subgroups representing the four basic innovation types to co–create by strengthening and complementing innovative ideas or proposing new ideas to stimulate the creative development process and offer new directions.

Jazz group performance, as a form of collaborative creativity, is an ideal metaphor for the concept of Innovaization – both, a jazz group and Innovaization rely on group interaction and collective creativity.

Keith Sawyer in his book Explaining Creativity supports that «Group jazz performance is perhaps the most well-known improvisational performance form in American culture…. During her solo, the soloist is the primary improviser; the remainder of the group is expected to direct their improvisations so that they support her by reinforcing her creative ideas or suggesting new ideas to stimulate her playing».

According to Huawei Technologies: «Following mechanization, electrification, and automation, we are now standing on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution – intelligentization».

Business cloud platforms speed the flow between idea and production and reduce time to market. The use of e-government cloud: a)Increases service quality, b)improves efficiency, c)strengthens the innovation ecosystem and d)drives industrial growth.

In his book The Zero Marginal Cost Society Jeremy Rifkin suggests that the intersection of digital communications, renewable energy and 3D printing is transforming the global economy, giving rise to what he calls the «Collaborative Commons» and the «zero-marginal-cost revolution». He underlines the need to unleash the creative potential of this new economic model.

Klaus Schwab –Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum– in his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution notes that «Digital connectivity enabled by software technologies is fundamentally changing the innovation landscape. The scale of the impact and the speed of the changes taking place lead to unprecedented paradigm shifts in the economy, business, society, and individually».

The shift from linear, rigid processes to cyclical, dynamic processes characterized by non-linear relations, broad, connected networks and fluid structures can lead to an exponential growth of ideas. Innovaization discovers the insights hidden in data by melding ideas, generating associations, anticipating their trajectories and opening up new channels of value creation.

The increased interconnection and the faster information dissemination and exchange that characterize 4IR enable Innovaization to harness the potential of the IoT, Big Data and real time analysis of that data by machines and systems. By combining data-driven artificial intelligence and insight-driven human intelligence Innovaization:

  1. Catalyzes the generation of novel innovations that are sustainable across time – antifragile innovations that get better with time.
  2. Accelerates government reforms and transforms business practices.

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