Perspectives from digitally transforming ventures
I attempt to reflect upon my observations and experience on how digital venture leaders can use innovative and inventive intelligence powered by fusion principles to initiate, empower, and deliver solutions. I highlight the importance of a particular thinking mode as an empowering factor for digital ventures' success. I also introduce some critical points that enhance and harm innovation and inventions in these ventures.
Let me clarify what I mean by innovative and inventive thinking.
My definition is the use of creativity and productivity for generating novel ideas, new methods, new approaches, new techniques, new processes, and new tools and improve the current environment to gain insights from existing capabilities.
Innovation adds compelling business value, reduces unnecessary costs, and increases desired revenue by focusing on investment return.
While invention relates to novelty, innovation focuses on improvement, iterations, and ongoing steady progress.
Innovative and inventive thinking generates novel ideas, focuses on improving ideas, and strives to make continuous iterative progress.
To achieve these goals, innovative and inventive thinking can be powered by agile delivery principles. Innovative and inventive thinking mandates a pragmatic approach.
Innovative and inventive thinking feeds the culture of digital ventures. This unique culture embracing innovation and invention can naturally renew themselves to survive and thrive in fluctuating conditions.
These ventures can extend to the next generation with constant progress, renewed image, improved services, and stronger capabilities.
Innovation, inventions, technical excellence, pragmatic agility are interrelated concepts. Innovative and inventive thinking ignites technical excellence, and technical excellence can be empowered by agile delivery.
Digital venture leaders serve as natural innovators and inventors, producing results incrementally. They practice innovative and inventive thinking in all aspects of their daily lives and motivate people around them.
Innovation and invention require multiple modes of thinking in different ways. Traditionally, most of us think vertically, linearly or in binary. We usually use vertical and linear types of thinking for problem-solving.
Applying logic and streamlining thoughts are some techniques in this type of thinking mode. Linear thinking goes deep down, layer by layer, and in a logical manner. Binary thinking consists of simple terms such as yes or no, black and white, good or bad.
As opposed to vertical thinking, horizontal thinking covering more breadth rather than depth and aims to generate unpredictable ideas by breaking out rigid thought patterns. Horizontal thinking challenges the assumptions. This type of thinking looks for alternatives and goes beyond the ordinary, creating radical solutions.
Horizontal thinking can be used to produce creative ideas. There are different techniques that can leverage horizontal thinking. Some commonly used techniques for horizontal thinking are randomisations, distortions, reversals, exaggerations, metaphors, analogies, dreaming, theme mining, questioning the norms, and creating contradictions.
One of the practical techniques to generate innovative and inventive ideas is to use mind mapping. We can articulate our thoughts using representative maps. We can also use other visual representation tools, such as drawing pictures on a whiteboard while explaining abstract ideas. People can visualise abstract ideas better by looking at the drawing as the proverbial single picture can tell a thousand words.
Many digital venture leaders attempt to create an innovation and invention culture embedded in their modernising and transforming ecosystem. These leaders catalyze the formation and maintenance of this empowering culture. With the support of their technical leaders, team members of these cultures continually challenge the status quo. People embrace changes and challenges in these cultures.
Employees collaborate better in work cultures embracing innovative and inventive ideas. They see themselves with the changing conditions in new positions.
These employees do not resist as they know that change can be helpful for them. In these enriching cultures, digital venture leaders encourage participation and collaboration using excellence centres and ideation labs for employees to try new ideas.
These empowered employees perform ongoing trial and error to create and test their compelling ideas. They may fail at times, but they fail quickly and come back to reality with improved knowledge. They see the failing tests as new definitions. These simple yet powerful experiences can enhance their digital intelligence.
Harnessing and driving creative thinking results in new cultures. The best way to ignite innovation and invention is to be a role model for followers. Digital venture leaders encourage the team members to innovate, invent and reward their achievements.
In modernising and transforming ventures, innovation and invention become habitual. Team members strive for excellence by creating new ideas in their day-to-day tasks. No one is judged and discouraged. Instead, new ideas are welcomed, praised, and even rewarded in different ways. Collaborators embrace constant change and new ideas, even if they can be painful at times. They learn how to turn the pain into pleasure with rewarding achievements.
Metaphorically, innovation resembles air and water for the survival of ventures. In addition to survival, these ventures need to use innovative and inventive thinking to thrive.
Digital Venture leaders create innovations and inventions at a personal level and through collaboration both with the immediate and extended teams. They keep asking how to deliver innovative and inventive experiences moment by moment continuously.
They use various methods to achieve results. One of the methods they use is design thinking. Design thinking allows the team to be intuitive and logical at the same time.
Design thinking enables team members to be more creative to recognise new patterns. As design thinking is part of agile delivery, practitioners propose their ideas pragmatically. Digital venture initiatives require the adoption of design thinking to its core culture.
Mindset is an essential factor for innovation and inventions. Digital venture leaders focus on a growth mindset to ignite innovation and invention in the ecosystem. They help team members convert team members with a fixed mindset to get a growth mindset.
A growth mindset can lead to success when it includes a wide variety of characteristics in the ecosystem. Visionary digital leaders lead to a mindset shift in different personality types. They usually hold a positive can-do attitude for any challenges they come across.
This positive attitude makes them customer-centric. They put themselves in customers’ shoes with strong empathy. Using design thinking techniques, they can develop empathy maps. The mindset shift, including empathy, is part of the design thinking practice.
To ignite innovation, these leaders consider market conditions and the needs of clients. These conditions can help them generate new ideas. Listening to the clients carefully and collaborating with them can open new solution paths. Many innovations can be co-created with clients.
A client-centric innovation and invention approach is invaluable for digital ventures. They can link client concerns, requirements and aspirations to the organisation's capabilities then define the focus areas for innovation and invention agendas to enable competitive solutions addressing specific client needs.
Digital venture leaders must be aware of roadblocks. There can be many visible and invisible roadblocks to innovation. Thus, it is critical to recognise potential roadblocks as early as possible. The roadblocks can be in various forms and from multiple angles. One of the main roadblocks is keeping the status quo. Traditional enterprises and business processes maintain the status quo. There is a strong resistance to change in traditional cultures.
Many digital ventures nowadays recognise the importance of innovative and inventive thinking. However, there is always an unknown fear and resistance towards novelties by some people who may have hidden agendas.
Leaders of these ventures need to recognise those in a team who may sabotage innovative and inventive thinking. Even though these people with a negative mindset may be in the minority, they still can have a tremendous adverse impact on desired progress and achievement of end goals.
One way of dealing with resisting people is to be transparent to them and have intimate face-to-face conversations. Digital venture leaders must find ways to engage those types of people and show the value and benefit of new ideas to these types of people. If those people can see the value for themselves, then they can be converted to supporters. The critical point is asking them, making them feel important, and encouraging them to think positively as role models.
The business-as-usual (BAU) mentality can be a roadblock for new ideas. Cumbersome business processes can be deterrent factors to success. More importantly, tired employees can hardly be interested in innovation and inventions as they cannot see the immediate need. The best way is to separate new and old business as usual as two different departments. However, responsible leaders must find some collaborative ways to bridge them.
BAU might be necessary for some ventures to continue their current business functions; however, these ventures also need innovation and invention for transforming to the digital world with new insights, market competitiveness, and revenue generation.
As an intelligent practice, modernisation and transformation initiatives must be kept separate from the BAU practices in these ventures to prevent traditional thinking's adverse effects. However, they can integrate BAU and transformation activities to avoid the old thinking models' undesirable effects.
Thank you for reading my perspectives.
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