In thinking about innovation, executives would be well served not to focus exclusively on finding talented product design maestros or even process design experts, but rather creative institutional designers who can challenge and re-think their existing institutional arrangements from the ground up.
These institutional designers will unlock a steady flow of product and process innovations. Without their help, executives will continue to struggle with isolated innovation initiatives that show great promise at the outset, but rarely deliver on their full potential. Even when the full potential of these initiatives is realized, this potential is inherently limited. Far better to re-think the innovation opportunity at a much more fundamental level – a level that keeps on giving.
For those who doubt the power of institutional innovation, reflect on what has been the single most wealth creating innovation over the past several centuries. The steam engine? The telephone? Ford’s assembly line approach to manufacturing? Fuhgeddaboutit. It was the development of the limited liability joint stock company – a profound institutional innovation.
This backs up what I’ve been trying to articulate about Design Led Innovation. It can do a whole lot more than just design better looking products. Hagel’s thinking fits rather well with the stuff going on with co-innovation and business network transformation here at SAP (thanks Prashath for an excellent summary of the Sapphire talk). Product centric innovation is simply not enough.
At the last Chief HR Officer roundtable we discussed the workforce of the future and design led innovation, so we figured we’d bring these together into a hands-on workshop. . We have put together a hands on workshop on the worker of the future and its impact on HR lead by the DST. It will be held at TeliaSonera in Stockholm on the 28 and 29 of November. TeliaSonera has played a key role in helping us get this together.
We are expecting roughly 20 folks, and would like participating companies to bring along 2 people -one senior HR person,and a young sparky person just out of University or school. We will also be connecting with the local university to tap into more youthful wisdom.
Perhaps we can start to shift the HR institution a bit. Drop me a email or a Tweet if you’d like to know more.