The 3 Ways Innovation Is Changing (And How To Adapt Fast)

One of the oddest aspects of innovation writing is how little time gets devoted to how innovation itself changes. Haydn Shaughnessy believes there are three key shifts going on and each requires a different response from innovation leaders. They need to focus on long term, pervasive innovation and on the continuing externalization of enterprise functions.

First, Shaughnessy recommends that companies begin looking at innovation in terms of a 10-30 year timeline. Bain Capital predicts that the world will be awash in low-interest capital for years to come, which companies can leverage to invest in long-term, far horizon projects as part of a balanced approach to their businesses. Also, as companies continue to evolve into service platforms, leaders need to have a long-term vision for the roles of their employees and how work will get done in the future.

Second, leaders must build capacity to innovation everywhere and always. Lean innovation methods provide a good platform for continuous, incremental change and just-in-time adaptation, he suggests.

Third, leaders must innovate their company’s processes. As companies continue the transformation from traditional structures to service organizations, advanced companies will become conduits of innovation with no internal capacity for production or marketing but with a very high capability in relationship-engineering and data applications. A handful of platform companies will own and develop key technologies, supported by a constellation of small, nimble firms that develop new ideas and services to support them. The bottom line is that enterprises need to be innovating all their processes with a 10-30 year time horizon in mind, Shaughnessy suggests.

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