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Smart Innovators. You know the game has changed. (FREE PDF version)

Smart Innovators. You know the game has changed. (FREE PDF version)

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After 20 years of deep research and on-the-ground leadership, Smart People Magazine has asked me to explain our work in plain language. And I have to do it in two pages (give me three, please!).

The focus of our research has been on helping organizations realize the changes taking place in the business and economic environment that have lead to the rapidly ascending importance of innovators in a knowledge-driven, rapidly changing global environment.

It is not only a complex subject, but also a change that has transformed a relatively simple industrial economy into an extremely complex knowledge economy. In an introduction such as this, the details can be overwhelming.
After 20 years of deep research and on-the-ground leadership, Smart People Magazine has asked me to explain our work in plain language. And I have to do it in two pages (give me three, please!).

The focus of our research has been on helping organizations realize the changes taking place in the business and economic environment that have lead to the rapidly ascending importance of innovators in a knowledge-driven, rapidly changing global environment.

It is not only a complex subject, but also a change that has transformed a relatively simple industrial economy into an extremely complex knowledge economy. In an introduction such as this, the details can be overwhelming.

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Published by: Smart People magazine (FREE ARTICLES) on Jul 17, 2009
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05/15/2010

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CREATING 
24 
 
SMART PEOPLE 
     C     R     E     A     T     I     N     G
SmartInnovators
You know the game has changed. How do you fit?
By Debra M. AmidonAfter 20 years of deepresearch and on-the-groundleadership,
Smart People
 Magazine has asked me toexplain our work in plainlanguage. And I have to do itin two pages (give me three,please!).The focus of ourresearch has been on helpingorganizations realize thechanges taking place inthe business and economicenvironment that have leadto the rapidly ascendingimportance of innovators ina knowledge-driven, rapidlychanging global environment.It is not only a complexsubject, but also a change thathas transformed a relativelysimple industrial economyinto an extremely complexknowledge economy. In anintroduction such as this, thedetails can be overwhelming.
All about you
So let’s leap the barrier by acknowledging that the bottom line is all about you– smart people. For it isaround smart people that thisnew economy evolves.Leadership in theKnowledge Economy isdifferent from the industrialor even informationeconomies.It is an economy in whichthe innovation capacityof every human being,enterprise and nation is fullyengaged. It is an economy inwhich culture and heritageare respected, commonalitiesare more important thandifferences, and aspirationscan be shared across boundaries.Intellectual capital (IC)originally described the needto harness the knowledge base of an enterprise and inthe context of prosperousinnovation. Most effortsresulted in three primaryfacets: Human Capital,Relational Capital andStructural Capital.To simplify this, we have broken it down further withour Triple Knowledge Lens(TKL) – a triangulation of aKnowledge-based Economy(commerce and business), theKnowledge-based Society(networks, communities andculture), and the Knowledge- based Infrastructure(organization, technology andenvironment).And then into the 15‘capitals’ people need to be
Smart
innovators. See howmany capitals you have:
Inventorying your ‘capitals’
Knowledge Capital: Howwell respected are you for thepower, depth and breadth of the knowledge assets in yourpersonal portfolio includingspecialized know-how,experience and knowledgemastery?
Leadership Capital: Doothers generally recognizeyou as having outstandingleadership qualities, skills, andcapabilities?
Innovation Capital: Do youhave proven and consistentcapabilities regarding theincubation, development,production and of marketingof innovative designs,processes, and systems?
Entrepreneurship Capital:How recognized are you forexhibiting entrepreneurialinstinct, passion, zeal, drive,and success?
Reputation Capital: Towhat extent do you work to build a positive image and
standing in your field and how
are you perceived by others?
Diversity Capital: To whatextent do you proactivelymaintain, cultivate, andrespect diversity in yourrelationships, networks, andcommunity connections?
Brand Capital: To whatextent does the brandencompassing You.Inc havevisibility, presence andpositive mindshare in themarketplace?
Network Capital: Wouldothers consider you to havedeep, dense, far-reachingnetwork connections and
influence within those
networks?
Cultural Capital: To whatextent do others respect andtrust your unique constellationof values and the ethos
reflected in your mindset, way
of thinking, spirit, learningdesire, imagination andcreativity?
Social and CommunityCapital: Are you recognizedwithin the communities youinhabit to be an active highinvolvement contributor,participant, and representativeof all that’s good within thosesocial ecologies?
 
SMART PEOPLE 
 
25 
CREATING 
Strategic Capital: Do youhave formulated businessplans in place, businessdesigns, business models,that provide you with asuperior and strategic businessadvantage?
Organizational Capital:Do you have organizationalstructures and capabilities inplace that provide you with acollaborative advantage?
Intellectual PropertyCapital: To what extent are youin explicit control of valuableintellectual property assets?
Technological Capital:How do you think anindependent outsider wouldrate your technologicalsophistication and prowess?
Environmental Capital:How do you think otherswould assess the extent towhich you have internalizedsocially responsible,sustainable, and green valuesinto your current practice?Again, if you have lots of these ‘capitals’, don’t get a bighead. You don’t have themall, so you need to collaboratewith others to complete thelist.
SmartInnovator’s guide
After two decades of dedicated research, wehave evolved a blueprint– an integrated andinterdependent series of stepsfrom idea-creation throughconversion and ultimatecommercialization of newproduct ideas and services– the seven Ps:
Smart
Innovatorshave a sense of 
Purpose
.Explore a fundamentallynew mindset of how best toapproach the kaleidoscopicchange of a knowledgeeconomy. It is not the speedof change as much as it is thecompounding effects creatinga dramatically new landscapefor innovation.The Triple KnowledgeLens (TKL) provides thatmindset. You need a timelyunderstanding of emergingtrends ranging from the warfor talent, effect of networks,new business models forcommerce and delivery,virtualization of markets,globalization, the value of visualization, and zones of innovation. Such a mindsetmust be holistic, integratedand complete.
Smart
Innovatorsguide their effortswith a set of 
Principles
.Root your strategicdirection with a corevalue system, sharedvision, and standards of operational excellence.You need to appreciate theinterdependence amongvariables: performance,structure, people, processand technology. You needto be savvy about the neworganizing principles – howthey are different fromindustrial management – andthe implications for your ownaction-based planning.There are new formsof wealth-creation, newconstellations of networks andsocial media, and an evolvingknowledge innovation gridor mesh supporting real-timeinnovation dynamics. Thereare new rules of the game. Theold ones do not apply; andthe new ones have yet to beinnovated. So, become a partof the action. Ground yourplans amidst the uncertaintyand do not be afraid to iteratenew solutions. The knowledgeenvironment is one thatdemands constant adaptation.
Smart
Innovatorsunderstand thefull
Process
forinnovation and theirrespective roles.Appreciate how innovationusually takes many players– several even outside thewalls of the organization– to bring an idea to market.The impetus for change –incremental and breakthrough– begins with the individual
every
individual. Value isrealized when joint insightsare crystallized into actionableprojects and services.Innovation is idea creationthrough full application. It istheory in practice. It involvescreation, conversion andcommercialization. It includesmonitoring the competition, butnot where they have been . . .where they are headed.In other words, how arethe competitors innovating?You need to help developstrategic alliances, customer/stakeholder image andinterface, leadership visibilityand leverage technology andcommunications.
Smart
Innovatorsgauge
Performance
 
with financialand non-financial
measures.Building upon the TKL,identify those relevantparameters of what wouldconstitute success – however
that might be defined.
Enterprises are increasinglydependent upon valuecontributed to the bottom-line
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