Pasher - Amidon Interview
|What do you
think of the balance between reuse and innovation?
||The most important
thing is to have a clear definition of terms. The innovation
process includes three phases: invention, translation and
commercialization. The first phase can focus upon creating
something ‘new’ – usually considered an invention - or
identifying something already known that might be reused – or
used in a new way. Both feed the innovation process. Both could
be considered as part of the creation stage – knowledge
The second stage of the process
is the conversion process – where knowledge – sometimes in
the form of technology - gets translated into production,
manufacturing. At stage three, the knowledge – now in the form
of some product or service – can be commercialized.
|What stage would
you consider as the NPD (new product development stage)?
can include prototype development or the NPD might be considered
the first part of the conversion process.
|In what way can
NIMCube add value to both processes – innovation and reuse?
||In my definitions,
‘reuse’ is not a separate process. It is one way to look at
the innovation process (i.e., reusing something rather than
creating something new.). Whether you are inventing something
new or reusing something that already exists, the intent is to
have a result in the marketplace.
There are many ways to measure
the effectiveness of the process - output, time to market,
quality, cost, performance, competitiveness, market share. These
are the traditional results of any innovation process. Your
project can make a contribution toward understanding the value
of the intangibles (e.g., quality of conversations, receptivity
to new ideas, viewing old things in new ways, etc). You can have
a dual entry (i.e., new and reuse) into the conversion process
and calculate the differences.
|What is the
framework for understanding innovation?
||For many years, the
innovation process has been managed as the linear sequence of
events, such as in the value chain - gathering technology an/or
material, converting it into some kind of product or service and
commercialize it. However, knowledge - new or reused - can be
added anywhere along the process (e.g., R&D, Engineering,
Manufacturing, Marketing, Sales, and Service). Similarly, value
is added throughout the entire process. And so, the innovation
process operates more like a value system than a linear chain of
events/activities. The real challenge is not the function
in-and-of-itself, but how it relates to (adds value to) the
others. How is knowledge created and shared between all
stakeholders in the process, including customers themselves?
This can only be understood by employing concepts and
methodology of system dynamics (i.e., the innovation value
People always looked at
innovation as equivalent to creativity. Although innovation may
be perceived as a creative process; creativity alone will not
lead to prosperous innovation. It is not enough to have a good
idea or an invention – or knowledge to be ‘reused.’ The
real innovation process includes effective application through
high quality management methods. Thus innovation is a
combination of creativity and quality, long- and short-term,
strategy formulation and operations.
|How would you
||There is a new
knowledge value proposition emerging that goes beyond the
traditional metrics of cost, quality and time. Not that these
are not important; they are. But, they are just not enough. To
manage the process effectively, one should understand the
difference between traditional management and the "I
form" – the innovation form, which is a dynamic,
networked organizational form. Traditional management is
multi-divisional and hierarchical, where business units are
independent (SBU’s) as opposed to the human knowledge form
which focuses on strategic business networks and intangible
assets. Successful management of innovation requires a
combination of both.
The organization should adopt
management architecture to integrate the economic, behavioral
and technological aspects of the firm. This may require a
replacement of the current performance metrics - output, cost,
quality, time, market share, competitiveness, which represent
the old value proposition and to find new variables, such as the
quality of a conversation or how quickly an organization adapts
to market changes. In short, the firm may have to migrate from a
strategic planning to innovation strategy approach that provides
a more robust utilization of tangible and intangible assets. The
whole organisation must be engaged in the innovation process.
One might use the analogy of an
Atlas to describe the new management elements:
- Mapping considers all the
resources – human, financial and technical – to be
integrated as a continuous learning system
- Scaling measurements consider
the intellectual capital of an enterprise – often described as
the difference between book value and market value
- Compass provides a coherent,
common vision within which internal and external variables are
leveraged to optimal value including the flexibility to
capitalise upon unexpected market changes.
Structures should be developed
and must be custom-made to the specific needs of each business.
Procedures should be created and management should enable
stakeholders to take part in the process.
|How could we
||We have created an
innovation assessment that includes ten dimensions of the
process. There are a series of defined management
responsibilities: internally and externally. The internal tasks
are coordination of the process, measurement of the process,
education/development capability, distributed networking and
competitive positioning. The external tasks deal with new market
products and services, collaborative alliances, market image,
leadership competencies and use of cyberspace.
Each set of questions includes
the economic, behavioral and technological dimension.
Traditionally, assessments are performed by function (i.e.,
R&D, Manufacturing, etc) rather than being seen as an
integral part of the innovation system – knowledge creation,
conversion and commercialization. In this assessment, the
questions are designed to stimulate a dialogue across the
functions in a way that competencies are brought to the fore,
not whether someone holds a specific function title. Once people
use the assessment systematically, new and relevant measures
|Did you have
some measures in mind while creating the assessment?
indicators, which will make each of those ten dimensions more
effective; and there are other indicators that will optimize the
interrelationship. Only when people put the assessment into
operation (i.e., build and implement the strategies to close the
gaps) will the real critical success factors evolve. Based on
our research, new managerial standards appear to emerge. In my
book Innovation strategy for the Knowledge Economy - The Ken
Awakening, I reference some of them. There is considerable
follow-up activity underway worldwide that is crafting new
measures based upon the intangibles of the organization.
Strategic conversations are one example. Balancing the rate of
internal change with the rate of external environmental change
is another. Below are some management strategies from which
modern performance measures might come:
||Management of the
collaborative innovation process with a designated chief
measurement of the economic, behavioral and technological
||Centralization of research
and education facilities for new business development.
||Establishment of a
distributed learning network of innovation centers.
||Integration of "real
time " intelligence capabilities.
||Creation of a stream of
value added products and services.
innovation practices with alliances and joint ventures.
||Design of advertising
campaigns that reflect intellectual competencies.
||Leading by visible example
– to share learnings.
||Use of the cyberspace as an
electronic learning tool for new ideas.
What real indicators will make such an
innovation value-system successful? Those are the questions that have yet
to be asked.
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