Collaborative Innovation

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Collaboration

FountainBlue’s October 6 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Innovation Collaborations’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Techlab Innovation Center and 888 Steps, who provided on-site support and helped lead the interactive discussion.

Below is a compilation of ideas and thoughts from our conversation.

‘Innovation’ comes from many surprising backgrounds, roles, faces and places. Below are some best practices to facilitate and encourage that openness to innovation for your team and company:

  • Begin with the end in mind, and persevere to gain measurable returns, despite the obstacles.
  • Create collaborative solutions to complex problems which would benefit all parties. Measure outcomes, communicate wins, and engage larger ecosystems of partners and people.
  • Have a curious, humble mindset and be eager to learn from those not-like-you. With that said, make sure that the technology and strategy is validated by the data before adopting.
  • Be customer focused. Innovation won’t mean anything if it’s not solving something of interest to the customer.
  • Build traction and credibility by enlisting the support of partners and customers. The ‘fre-nemies’ mindset should be focused on win-win results, and repeatable processes, and based on clear and transparent communication. 
  • Choose a range of professional experiences – between roles, between companies, between industries. It will help you be more inter-disciplinary and connect the dots.
  • Be clear on the type of innovation you’re working on. It’s not always just about the technology innovation. Process, business model, operational, communication and other efficiency upgrades can also lead to great results.
  • In this global world, you must work with companies and leaders from other cultures. Knowing tendencies of others will help people, products, teams and companies to succeed.
  • Established companies must embrace new technologies to stay relevant and current. In turn, emerging technology companies must understand the processes, people and operational challenges which stymie the adoption of new technologies for established companies. 
  • Recruit and train people who work hard, produce results, AND are open to change. Four free ways to encourage team members to get training for new technologies and processes include: 1) talk about the new materials, 2) explain why learning new materials need to happen, 3) organize and index the training materials and 4) highlight successes. 

Below are predictions for some innovation opportunities ahead.

  • Open source solutions will be a big part of innovations of the future. Services behind the open source solutions will be where the money is.
  • Security and cryptographic solutions will be integrated into all solutions.
  • Practical IoT use cases will be adopted by companies looking for the next level of automation and efficiency, provided they are convinced of measurable and early ROI.
  • Blockchain solutions and the decentralized-network thinking behind them will start a new paradigm for innovation. The challenge now is to develop practical, easily-implemented applications for blockchain in many industries, from healthcare to finance to banking.
  • Artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics will be integral to most solutions. We need the data in order for the automated programs to run.

Innovation is occurring at an increasing pace, making it difficult to adopt. It will continue to take experienced, open-minded leaders connecting in transparent conversations and projects to facilitate collaborative innovation across teams, companies and industries. 

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