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Vassilis Trapezanoglou LinkedIn =========================== 29/3/2011

Developing a culture for innovation: Mission Impossible !

Innovation: the real meaning
Understanding the real meaning of innovation At first the Definition (Aristotle)
Innovation: an original or substantially renewed idea, which is applied and brings value

Innovation: a substantially renewed approach of a product, service, function, technique, procedure, practice which
is successfully applied and is massively adopted by the customers (or citizens)  adds value

Both characteristics (original, applied / adopted) are needed Innovation creativity , Innovation invention Innovation = creativity applied to a purpose to realize value = blending knowledge, experience, practice and improvisation
“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes” (Marcel Proust)

The 3 dimensions of innovation

The problem
The most difficult part …

A problem, A need, An expectation

The successful implementation Innovation
Original approach Implementation / Adoption

The innovative idea


Innovation: challenge and renew established perception
Every person, organization, company or economic sector is inspired by a number of “beliefs”, which are related to general but also to specific aspects and issues of the operation, working as a common business perception, as a kind of «orthodoxy». These beliefs have as origin previous experience, traditions, assumptions, habits, dogmas and they infiltrate all aspects of the corporate business model and operation. Many of these beliefs have been incorporated in the business life under completely different conditions, but they continue to function as a “filter of thinking”, becoming barriers to change traditional operating models in every social or economic activity.
Τhe Key for innovation is • to challenge established perceptions, assumptions and dogmatic beliefs (established orthodoxy) and • to review every single component of the operational model in place (used to offer services or products).


Greece falls behind…


Why innovation is an imperative for the country
“The red Queen effect” – a metaphor of American biologist Leigh Van
Valen, who was inspired by the Red Queen character from Lewis Carroll’s "Through the Looking Glass." evolutionary principle that regardless of how well a species adapts to its current environment, it must keep evolving to keep up with its competitors and enemies who are also evolving.

Thus, the “Red Queen” effect:
Do nothing and fall behind, or run hard to stay where you are …. If you want to go somewhere else, you have to run at least twice as fast as that …

Greece belongs to a globalized, “flat” economic universe
Competes with a lot of stronger, faster countries / economies Recent economic crisis revealed that it has fallen behind… Adaptation is not enough. It has similar “species” going faster Innovation facilitates to speed up evolution to catch “competitors” …

Innovation is both a vaccine against market slowdowns (recession) and an elixir that rejuvenates growth

The innovators’ DNA: 5 “secrets“ of innovators
Associating Questioning Observing Experimenting Networking

(HBR, 12/2009)

• Put together ideas and information from different areas in unique combinations. “Creativity is connecting things”.
• Ask provocative, challenging questions (the important and difficult job is never to find the right answers, it is to find the right question).

• Scrutinizing common phenomena, particularly the behavior of potential customers, to produce uncommon business ideas.
• Try out new ideas by creating prototypes and launching pilots. Construct interactive experiences & try to provoke unorthodox answers.

• Devoting time/energy to finding and testing ideas through a network of diverse individuals. Go out of our way to meet people with different kind of ideas

Skills of action are more important than skills of thinking

Innovation can’t be structured: similarity with Jazz …
Jazz Music has a grammar Innovation Innovation has a grammar  the mechanism that allows innovative ideas to be expressed and applied Algorithmic but also heuristic thinking

Jazz = improvisation respecting musical rules and based on experience and practice ……  rules of thumb

Combine and balancing control and freedom

Innovation is a cooperative task
Innovative ideas come from individual, but implementing innovation to create value demands collaboration/ collective work “The 10 faces of innovation” (Tom Kelly)
The organizing roles (personas)
The Hurdler The Collaborator The Director

The building roles (personas)
The Experience Architect The Set Designer The Storyteller The Caregiver

The learning roles (personas)
The Anthropologist The Experimenter The Cross-Pollinator  the T-shaped person

Innovation must be organic: similarity with motivation
Innovation is like motivation
You don’t motivate people  you create the appropriate environment in order to facilitate people to motivate them-selves You can’t “enforce” or “push” people to innovate  you create the appropriate environment in order to facilitate people to be more creative and to implement effectively innovative ideas

Innovation must be “organic”
Cultivate innovation spirit and behavior Accelerate the natural process of innovation


Nurturing the innovation reef (Mario Marino)

Metaphor: Innovation is like a coral reef. Marine biologists don’t fully understand what causes reefs to form, but we do know that human actions can nurture or harm the process. The same is true for innovation— a natural, chaotic, unpredictable process that is hard, perhaps even impossible, for well-meaning outsiders to foster. If we try to control or micromanage innovation, we risk squeezing out the very life forces that give rise to successful new ideas. Instead, we must focus on finding ways to nurture and accelerate the natural processes of innovation once they’ve begun grow organically.

Innovation is not easy
Innovation is not easy. Not a function. A way of leading people Gary Hamel
Companies don’t have innovation DNA It is like to ask a Dog to stand and walk on two feet ! When you turn your head, it turns to its normal position It is made to be a quadruped animal, not a biped…

Changing a mechanical watch to a digital one .. Innovation needs
Open mind Fantasy and dare Initiatives Result orientation Passion

Is innovation a matter of luck ? In some cases yes, but
Luck = Preparation X Opportunity

The pillars of innovation

Adopt the right incentives Remove barriers Commitment & courage

Right incentives for innovation
Facilitate organic growth of innovation giving “right” incentives
Establish creative environment
Leaders give the example Innovators need time and basic resources (tools, access to knowledge bases etc) in order to have the chance to be creative Ensure adequate financial support

Cultivate and develop skills (the 5 “secret skills”) and roles
Facilitate open communication and networking Form teams with mix of diverse profiles Allow observing close to customers Facilitate experimentation Train to improve creativity (alternative methods, means of training)

Encourage in difficult times and especially after a failure Recognize
Publicity for positive results

Reward success stories (communicate, celebrate, promote…)

Managing corporate innovation
Top management commitment (the culture of entrepreneurship and risk taking can only be driven top down) Leaders promote innovation much more than managers
Leaders are willing to open new directions Managers are more focused on specific goals

Large organizations are populated by managers Clear direction and organization (innovation czar / R&D / coordination unit, clear procedures to process innovative ideas and initiatives) Decentralized ideas conception, but centralized management of ideas implementation (it is a collaborative task) Don’t focus only on products. Innovative ideas can come from every function or process (networks, marketing, support  customer experience) Open and sincere communication Coherent policy for recognition, rewards and compensation Risk and failure tolerance «Creative abandonment” (Peter Drucker) of projects, processes and practices that have failed

Barriers to be removed
Tight or dysfunctional processes, procedures and inflexible polices (the “veto” of various management layers for the adoption and implementation of new ideas strangle innovation) Established beliefs (“Orthodoxy”) Intolerance against failure and risk aversion Rewarding conservative behavior Silos autonomy – High walls Lack of self-reliance / fatalism Stubborn
Prefer to fail than to change

Considering that every disadvantage/problem is a sign of failure “Command and Control” attitude: everything must be controlled and everything must be counted

“Externalize” innovation
Adopt customer-centric or citizen-centric operational models
Easier access to products and services  better customer experience Interaction allows to record customers’ problems, barriers to overcome, needs and expectations Transparency and flexibility to adapt services (segmentation, personalization)

Exploit the facilities offered by Web 2.0 technologies, Social Media and “Consumerization of IT” to implement innovative service combinations (public, corporate). Customers / citizens can
have access to information and services and participate to collaborative initiatives (mix knowledge and experience)

This operational externalization is extremely important to expand target market  exports of goods and services

Public innovation is more difficult
To implement an innovative idea you need the agreement of 3 teams of interest
The team which exercise power (authority to change things) The team which owns / manages the necessary financial resources The team which will be invited to implement the idea

In Public Sector these 3 teams are separate and dispersed. They have their own agenda and they are under different pressure and influence (economic interests, ideologies, political intentions and goals, personal agendas etc)
 difficult to reach decision, frictions during execution

In Private Sector all these 3 teams are expressed by the top management (in many cases completely decentralized)
 easier to decide and to implement


Some social prerequisites
Politicians’ behavior
Adopt medium to long-term planning horizon pro-innovation governance Introduce processes facilitating innovation Avoid misperception of innovation (i.e. simple introduction of ICT) Avoid innovation as “decoration” Radical changes, where needed, and continuous improvement Important: adopt Human Resources flexible policies

Acceptance of diversity / differentiation is crucial
In public dialogue Inside the political parties In mass media


Some social prerequisites (2)
Institutionalizing / Socializing Innovation
Promote collaboration and networking, national competition / prices for innovation

Support third sector’s initiatives
Financial or administrative support to independent, reliable organizations working as catalysts (incubators, accelerators) in the process of organic development of innovation NESTA (UK) is a great example

Tolerance to failure (not to negligence…) Bankruptcy legislation (a project law is ready ?)
Greek reality: one failure  failure for ever “Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”, Winston Churchill


Some policy directions for innovation
Infuse innovation in all investments in priority sectors
Web services mash-up, content for thematic tourism, location-based mobile services, augmented reality applications, smart tags

Energy - Environment
Smart grid networks for energy consumption (real-time monitoring) Wireless sensing applications

“New” agriculture (entrepreneurship, added-valued products, remote sensing, etc) Food (smart tags, traceability of goods etc) Health (digital monitoring services, digital communities etc) Culture (virtual reality, mobile services, rich content etc)

Embed all new highways, roads and bridges with fiber-optic cabling and micro-sensors to create an interconnected “nervous system” (control traffic congestion & maintenance) Promote cooperation between public and private sector to establish e-government infrastructure

Can public organizations innovate?
Yeeeees !
Universities, Research Centers, Schools KEP Electronic services OpenGov Manage the risk of high expectations

Many innovations coming from private sector are funded by public sector Public innovation must be well organized because
There is no mechanism to evaluate and implement innovative ideas No resources are dedicated to innovation inside public organizations, except Research and Universities Public innovation isn’t always a good thing. It must be treated seriously Public sector fails to innovate fast enough to cope with so many challenges (economic, social, technological)

How innovative changes could be implemented
Implement the new technology / operating practice in a new space, isolated from the old workforce and old physical surroundings
Get the system work quite well in this new location Propagate it to other locations

Standardize and decentralize services and policies
Reuse infrastructures and service platforms

Use service integrators/ aggregators (easier with serviceoriented IT infrastructures) New “scripts” of service Copy successful innovations from private sector (contact centers, relationships management, web interaction etc)

KEP (Centers for Citizens’ Service) is a good example

Areas of innovation using ICT
Combine cloud assets and service mash-up Exploit smart-phones and tablets functionalities Smart-boards 3-D Printing Quick Response Code – QR Code (Augmented reality) Human augmentation (portable or implanted devices
which improve human physical or mental functions)

RFID / contactless applications Internet TV

Multichannel service Viral marketing E-books Health self-monitoring applications

Consumerization of IT. IT applications are incorporated inside consumer’s devices (smart-phones, GPS, video/ audio devices etc)  easy access to personalized services

3-D Printing  Production on Cloud !
Someone designs an object (a perfume bottle, gear or airplane wing)on a computer and then sends that design to a 3-D printer. The printer does not draw a picture of the item on a piece of paper, as an ordinary printer would do. Instead, it physically builds the object, by squirting melted plastic, glass or liquid metal out of nozzles. The material follows the computer design, and layer by layer, the printer constructs the object. 3-D printing enables the full realization of mass customization, which feeds our insatiable desire to own one-of-a-kind things.


Open innovation: customers’ or citizens’ participation
Innovation: from light improvement to radical, disruptive change
Level of innovation

Improve efficiency

Improve effectiveness

Change business model

Customers can’t offer radically new innovative solutions
Henry Ford is quoted as once saying: “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said, faster horses faster horses”

but customers can trigger innovations:
Can express comments on products and services Can describe their problems, needs, barriers, expectations Can evaluate innovative solutions

Customers’ participation
Data analysis  behavioral patterns / clusters Service simplification / alternative ways of … Personalization And much more…. but it is like Janus ….
Powerful tool to listen and influence customers

Effective tool in customers’ “fingers” to exercise pressure

The double face of Janus

You create high expectations Cost and effort to manage expressed ideas (“the $ 12.50 idea) Pressure to change many things and quickly

Fail ! The road to succeed !

Fail ! Fail ! Fail !


Some Greek initiatives supporting innovation (indicative) ELTRUΝ Lab of Athens University of Economy and Business (AUEB) Microsoft Innovation Center Companies Effect Communications SA και AvantBrand SA, with Initiatives: ennovation by ELTRUN, SmartBusiness, Open Coffee, Open Fund, “H Ellada kainotomei”(“Greece Innovates”, by Eurobank EFG and SEB Cluster of Cooperative Schemes “Corallia” “Zeyxis” network (Ministry of Education)