Our profession has evolved beyond a focus on the flow of technology or finances. Knowledge, in the form of ’intellectual capital’, is now the strategic resource to be leveraged at all economic levels. Indeed, the flow of knowledge must be visualized and incentivized from the point of origin to the point of optimal need or opportunity; and the process now operates more as innovation value-system ecology than the traditional, linear value-chain.
Knowledge Innovation – the one competence needed for the future – can be defined as the creation, evolution, exchange and application of new ideas into marketable goods and services for:
Knowledge Innovation – from productivity to prosperity measures of performance – can now be applied to enterprises regardless of size or profit status to build a foundation for future sustainable growth. It is how people learn, enterprises thrive and nations prosper.
Knowledge flow, by definition, is a human activity; so the focus needs to be on the environment within which knowledge is created and applied. Over the years, Knowledge Innovation management architecture and standards have evolved.
Understanding of these complex facets – and the interdependencies thereof – provides a solid foundation for modern innovation management. The prosperity of individuals, enterprises, and nations relies upon knowledge as the resource and innovation as the process.
A critical mass of leadership has emerged; and globally, innovation is treated as a new industry. We’ve now a plethora of new business models for knowledge markets: knowledge (and know-how) banks, auctions, stores and malls, expert exchanges, idea challenges, social capital networks, knowledge grids, predication markets, competitive venture investments for start-ups, idea management systems and more.
The Knowledge Economy first spawned Chief Knowledge Officers (CKO); but now we find Chief Innovation Officers (CInO) in all industries, levels of government and even academia. The good news is that innovation management has become a profession. The fear is that organizations will – and they already are – racing to establish standards for the profession. Innovation strategy is NOT an extension of business planning; and it is certainly not an evolution of quality or best practice methodologies.
This is a new mindset requiring us to bench-learn more than benchmark. Know how your competitors are innovating, not what might be their market or product positioning. Make investments in start-up companies according to how likely they are to be able to innovate – not on a particular technology silver bullet. We’ve made great progress; but we are all at the base of our new learning curve.
We have reached the law of diminishing returns with competitive strategy. Executives now understand the need for new performance measures to track intangible (or knowledge) assets. They also have realized that innovation strategy IS the business and are no longer asking ‘if’ they have a need for a knowledge innovation strategy; but they are asking ‘how’.
The global economic meltdown has left us suspended between the old, outdated traditional financial measures of the past, and the new foundations for sustainable development. Old rules do not apply, but the new rules do not yet exist. Whether or not you believe in a ‘flattened world’, we can agree that knowledge flow – enabled by extraordinary advances in Internet and mobile technology – has led to a rapid leveling of the global playing field.
Regardless of our managerial level, we are operating on new assumptions:
Technology and social media have driven a coalescing of resources – human, physical and financial – for mutual benefit. These factors are becoming increasingly knowledge-driven. They provide a foundation for unprecedented global innovation in what are communities of shared interest and goals, or zones of knowledge activity.
These variables have complex inter-locking dimensions – better understood by viewing through three lenses – a triangulation of the Knowledge-based Economy, Society and Infrastructure. This Triple Knowledge Lens facilitates a new common language and shared vision for progress and sustainability.
Various economists have written widely on the concepts of knowledge production, entrepreneurship and the economics of knowledge. Regardless of the label, we need more comprehensive measures to calibrate this unprecedented kaleidoscopic change. So my own focus is three-fold:
Now is the time to strengthen and increase our capability – as individuals, enterprises, sectors and nations – to innovate a new era of ‘collaborative advantage’. Let the learning begin…
About Debra Amidon
A global innovation strategist, Debra M. Amidon, founder of ENTOVATION International, is an architect of the Knowledge Economy and “Drucker operationalized” in demonstrating how his theories can be applied for practical results. An international thought leader and author, she has published 8 books that have been translated into several languages, including Knowledge Economics and The Innovation SuperHighway – acclaimed as the “Innovation Book of the Decade”.
Debra has delivered hundreds of keynote presentations in 38 countries on 6 continents. Her clients are diverse: Fortune 50 companies, government/community organizations and enterprises such as the European Union (EU), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations and The World Bank. Her seminal concepts have become the standard-to-emulate; and “Innovating our future…together” has been her mantra.