Entovation International - Delivering Knowledge Innovation Strategies for the Millennium
ENIM engineering students (France) talk to Debra M. Amidon
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Q1: Would you please first give us a brief idea about your professional carrier, especially dealing with innovation?

DMA: You can read the highlights in my Biographical Sketch -
http://www.entovation.com/amidon/biographical.htm and Curriculum Vita -
http://www.entovation.com/amidon/cv.htm. In short, I have spent several
years in academia, government and industrial management. I see more
similarities than differences. They all have in common a focus on knowledge
and the need to put that knowledge into action (i.e., to innovate). What
good is knowledge if it is not put to the use of society? In 1982, we
researched how people planning integrated with business planning. In 1989 -
http://www.entovation.com/timeline/timeline.htm, we convened a Roundtable on "Managing the Knowledge Assets into the 21st Century" and  wrote about
'harnessing the intellectual capital of the nation.' Now the innovation
agenda is what provides the common language and shared vision of "a new
economic world order based upon knowledge, innovation, stakeholder success,
and international collaboration" - http://www.entovation.com/gkii/.

Q2: In your book:" Innovation and Knowledge Strategies for Today's Economy", you have considered the innovation as the pre-eminent strategy for the competitively. In your opinion, what are the main criteria that the innovation has to be based on?

DMA: You provide me with a dilemma. Although your conference topic and my
books, such as Innovation Strategy for the Knowledge Economy -
http://www.entovation.com/backgrnd/art.htm - and Creating the Knowledge-Based Business - http://www.entovation.com/backgrnd/practice.htm - do provide a rationale and methodology for creating a competitive advantage, this may not be the primary point. Progressive enterprises understand the fundamental nature of managing the 'future' and have realized that being competitive in the future is a matter of building collaborative (not competitive) advantage - http://www.entovation.com/backgrnd/future.htm - the focus of my third monograph. I know this is a very difficult set of concepts to understand, but they are the essence of economic viability for the future - whether you pursue the profitable growth of an enterprise, the vitality of a nation's economy or the advancement of society-as-a-whole.

Q3: According to your own experience, what are the several practices of "the
knowledge management" and the corporate innovation?

DMA: Personally, I am not interested in "best practices" as a way to manage
the knowledge agenda - never mind innovation! Organization leadership is better advised to focus on creating an 'enterprise-to-emulate' and set the 'standards,' rather than following 'best practices,' which - in my opinion - may be a prescription for failure. That being said, I have outlined in Chapter 10 of my book what I believe the 10 managerial standards of the 21st Century might be:

  • Manage the collaborative innovation process with a designated chief
    officer/office.
  • Perform systematic performance measurement: economic, behavioral and
    technological.
  • Centralize research and education facilities for new business
    development.
  • Establish a distributed learning network of innovation centers.
  • Incorporate 'real-time' intelligence capabilities.
  • Create a steam of value-added products and services.
  • Leverage collaborative innovation practices with alliances and joint
    ventures.
  • Design congruent advertising campaigns which reflect intellectual
    competencies.
  • Lead by visible example - internally and externally - to share learnings.
  • Use the cyberspace as an electronic learning tool for new ideas.

Q4: On which moderation can we consider the "invention" as a way of innovation? What about copying intelligently (adoption and adaptation)?

DMA: Few people understand the difference between invention and innovation.
We have captured 40+ definitions and published on the Website -
http://www.entovation.com/innovation/10definitions.htm. Invention is the
first stage in the full process of innovation that includes: (a) creation, (b) conversion and (c) commercialization. Invention only embodies in the first stage. And so, I guess, the answer to your question is 'No.' One has not innovated until customers begin to put demands upon the technology or invention.  Our own definition goes well beyond technological innovation and
focuses upon the flow of knowledge throughout the process. And of course, it
operates as a system dynamic, not a value chain as many would propose. I
would consider your suggestions of adoption, adaptation or re-use (as it is being defined in some of the EU research) - is still only invention and must pass through the second and third phases of the innovation process to be fully 'innovated.'

Q5: What advice can you give to the future engineers?

DMA: Enjoy the rigor of your profession. It is a skill-set necessary for succeeding in the future. Explore all other disciplines and make connections in the concepts, thinking and practice that do not yet exist. Hold fast to your own values and do not compromise your standards. Learn from others - especially those from other cultures - and rapidly put those insights into practice. Innovate in the truest sense; and in doing so, you will effectively innovate - move your own knowledge into action! Yours is a future to innovate...!


Purchase Innovation Strategy for the Knowledge Economy: The Ken Awakening online from amazon.com

Puchase the book at amazon.com

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Last updated: 24 May 2001