“Everything-as-a Service Unconference” & “Lean Innovation Summit” Rotterdam – great trip!
Last week I had the super cool opportunity to attend the Unconference "Everything-as-a-service" and the "Lean Innovation Summit" in Rotterdam. For me conferences are always extremely exciting as they provide motivation, inspiration, impulses, the opportunity to meet many new people, and primarily to generate a lot of ideas!
I learned a lot about services and how they can be super valuable for a circular economy. I had the pleasure of learning from Alexander Osterwald, the insights in his book "The Invincible Company" which will be published in 2020, on how companies can manage a successful portfolio and at the same time explore which innovations could be future growth engines. I experienced how large corporates such as the bank ING have established agile methods, a diverse and open mindset and an effective innovation process.
There is one talk from the Conference that excited me the most and I wanted to take time to share highlights from the Ignite Talk by Sharkbite's co-founder Daniel Groos. The topic was “Good Enough Innovation”, about innovations that can help us solve big problems – sharkbite big – sustainability challenges and I want to share the insights with you.
Good Enough Innovation is an alternative to many commonly known innovation methods like Design Thinking and Lean.
It is meant to create big impact. As innovators, we know that true innovation requires us to consistently look at problems in very new ways, and through new lenses – right? However, the established structured innovation processes often seem to prevent us from being really creative and innovative on the one hand, whilst suggesting that there is a standard tool for generating innovations!
The cost of structured innovation in corporates is huge. When we look at research and development (R&D) divisions and innovation budgets we see the highest spending in IT, healthcare and the automotive industry to a total of $600 billion a year.
Why is this a problem?
Because it prevents us from looking through new lenses and thereby having massive impact. Sustainability challenges for companies, organizations and societies have grown so big that they require - Sharkbite-sized solutions - not incremental nibbles.
For example: the iphone was a radical innovation when it was launched in 2007, and the initial development costs totaled $150 million. Today the iPhone follows an incremental innovation path, improving only on itself - bringing us to the 11th generation iPhone to date. For every new model millions of dollars more are invested - How many of us have had three or more iPhones during that time?
So the question is - when is a product good enough? When do big companies need to change their field of innovation from disruptive, to transformational, to incremental? Wasn’t the iPhone 6 good enough? The problem stems from the fact that once these companies have developed real cash cows or even stars (according to the BCG matrix) like the iPhone, it makes sense for them to continue to develop new.
So actually WE are the problem!
We are at the top of the social economic pyramid, who can afford to pay the necessary premiums to fund the R&D expenses? The people in the bottom layers of the social economic pyramid do not have big resources to invest into incremental changes for luxury products, but solving problems in an innovative way is a basic requirement in societies where over 700 million people are poor by the global definition and life is challenging. This is where the concept of Good Enough Innovation comes in. It was born from the Hindi word "jugaad," meaning “an improvised solution born from ingenuity”.
Basic structure for the Good Enough Innovation
Good Enough Innovation methods vary, but there are six basic principles that are similar across all methods.
It’s about solving real problems that are challenging you and your community. Don‘t give in or accept the status quo, but SEEK OPPORTUNITY IN ADVERSITY
DO MORE WITH LESS is the opposite of the „bigger is better“ approach used by the western R&D departments. Good Enough innovators use less resources to deliver higher value to a greater number of people. Innovators are using existing products and transform them to solve new problems.
THINK AND ACT FLEXIBLY - Good Enough Innovation is the antithesis of structured processes that fosters incremental innovations. Combine your assets in new ways and keep flexible for permanent improvement by integration of new assets.
KEEP IT SIMPLE – Focus on one clear value proposition. Think about how to reduce, repair, reuse and recycle your innovations
INCLUDE THE MARGIN - Essentially this means innovate for the masses and not just the elite. Innovate for the blind, the physically challenged, the poor, the sick, the lonely, the natives in rural environments…globally their quantity is huge as is the impact on the societies
And finally - #6
FOLLOW YOUR HEART- which essentially means allow your passion and your intuition to take the lead.
Most of the employees in corporates are already Good Enough Innovators. They have found work-arounds and simplified solutions to master their daily tasks. As a CEO or Head of Innovation you should activate their potential by including Good Enough methods in your standard innovation processes.
It can be done!
Innovate for our planet.
Thanks Lean Innovation Summit, for having me, it was great fun!
Together into a better future.