Operationalizing Enterprise Ecosystems - Page 2
Innovation in most organizations was driven by R&D teams which was capital intensive and was restricted to the brightest minds in the world. This drove the thought that all product development is capital and resource intensive hence had to be centrally managed. With the internet and open source revolution we learnt that products can be loosely managed and allowed to evolve naturally, through mass innovation. Linux being the first of many successful open source products to prove products can be developed with no R&D teams and no executive boards defining go to market strategies or goals. It was the form of free enterprise that proved one does not need the restrictive corporate structures to successfully develop products.
If as in Fig 1.1, 80% of your organization was execution focused, 20% was ensuring goals set by the top 0.1-0.5% were met; the organization is wasting at least 80-90% of its intellectual potential. As the opportunities to innovate and generate value drops in the lower levels of the pyramid. This leads to typical idea bubble evaporation, where employees are forced to suppress ideas, either because they are so low down in the hierarchy to be heard or their job description doesn’t enable them to step out of bounds. Over time the lost bubbles cost organizations in terms of lost opportunities and employees who leave with their ideas to start off on their own or even worse hand it over to competition. The challenge can be addressed by creating the right Enterprise Ecosystems, a system that captures, develops and convert ideas into real world solutions.
A one hit wonder or sustained innovation
In the book The Element the author mentions an interesting anecdote where George Harrison one day got together with Bob Dylan and group of like minded musicians in a jamming session. What was a casual get together of music's greats resulted in Handle with Care which turned out to be Harrison’s greatest song in the post Beatles era. Is innovation truly a random event? Do we all have a Dylan or a Harrison in us? The answer in my mind varies based on what you set out to do. Do you want to be a one hit wonder or whether you want to create a system that consistently delivers?
In an ideal world George Harrison and Bob Dylan should have got together and started one of the greatest rock bands after their album Traveling Wilburys but that never happened. That’s because what got them together did not keep them together. Traveling Wilburys was like an affair or a fling and had all the flair and charms of one. Innovation in the enterprise is not a fling; it’s about creating a sustainable and a constantly innovating enterprise.Continued on the next page