Sunday, November 11, 2012

Innovation and Creativity Matters

Well, it’s been a long time since I had the chance (let’s say priority) to write on my blog. The last year I worked with many terrific people in different projects and initiatives. Interesting thing: all the topics, all the ideas, all the discussions ended up around innovation and creativity.

There is the innovation startup scene. Young and fast going ideas, supported by the crowed; getting fast feedback from the crowd, open innovation, crowd sourcing; leaving the conservative, by risk and distrust marked path from hardcore business case towards lightweight approaches of lean startup.

There is the effect in agile organizations that the ever and ever fast turning wheel of sprints is killing creative thinking. The horizon of everything is the next sprint review. Mid-term and long term value creation in form of ideas turning into innovation is claimed to be dying in this agile type of ecosystem. In sports nobody is able to chain up sprint by sprint by sprint by sprint by … well you got the idea… without drain in the end.

Product development is an evergreen. Problem is: There are so many ideas around in the heads of the crowd of terrific individuals in our companies – but money is limited. The lifecycle of ideas – starting in the heads of a group of creative thinking people, maybe at a beer in the evening, maybe under the shower – this lifecycle of ideas needs a new kind of hotbed under the reality of turning agile, the culture of generation Y, social media and changing views on what intellectual property is in society. Interesting is that producing good and many ideas is not an issue. Making ideas visible is the point. To culture and age ideas is the point. To make them visible and tangible towards maturity is the point. To turn ideas into innovation is the point. To invest into the top two or three best innovation proposals is the point. To throw away very good ideas and proposals is the point. To not frustrate engaged individuals is the point.

All that applies not only in the cool and young scene where smartphones and apps are around, catchword: market driven products. I am convinced that applies as well in – I hate that word – legacy environments, old school development of products and services. I am convinced that migrating an existing IT-platform of a large bank, insurance or telco provider into something that is more handy and felxible for the business people needs creativity like hell. These environments are demanding, interesting, complex, so much room to improve! That leads to a last point: Why are these scenarios not seen as place where creativity and innovation helps?! Maybe that is a better approach then just cost cutting actions.

Well – to come to the point: these are the topics that many of my colleagues and me discussed in different engagements, projects, initiatives, workshops in the last year. I learned a lot and discovered – at least for me – a lot of new insights, coherences and interrelations.

So I will start sharing my personal insights with you starting with a new series I call for myself Innovation and Creativity matters.

I am convinced: Innovation and creativity are fundamental elements to be successful. No matter how the term “successful” is defined in a specific context. We have to discover new approaches to combine innovation and creativity with speed, time2market, stress, pressure and limited resources.

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