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Innovation is trending these days. Companies are considering innovation as a single most powerful competitive advantage. Industry researchers and software vendors are responding to the trend – all products are re-positioned as innovation platforms. You can see it in one of my earlier articles – Sweet dreams about product innovation platforms.
When it comes to innovation one size doesn’t fit all. Take the same product suite in a different place and it will probably perform differently. Economist article Global Innovation Index is comparing innovation between different countries. Check the article. I found the following picture interesting, but not surprising.
Product Innovation Platforms are coming from Solidworks, Autodesk, Siemens PLM and other vendors. But do you think these “innovation platforms” can really help companies innovate?
The following article caught my attention earlier today – So many innovation labs, so little innovation is speaking about complexity of bringing innovation into existing environment. Especially when such environment is driven corporation with existing business models and products. Here is my favorite passage:
Innovation labs will launch with lofty rhetoric from CEOs about transformation and thinking out-of-the-box. But as soon as line executives and business unit leaders get control of the lab’s agenda, it is destined to produce only tweaks. This shouldn’t be a surprise, because corporate innovation labs are structured, resourced and governed to produce incremental improvements to today’s business models.
Lab projects are prioritized and funded to produce new products, services and tech-enabled capabilities that will improve performance of today’s business. The projects compete for resources based on financial metrics relevant to the current business model.
Thinking about product lifecycle, what can be a role of engineering and manufacturing software in the innovation process? It is not about the tool, but about the feedback that tool can give to people. The feedback can come in a way of finding new design approach or placing focus on a specific information that can trigger innovation thinking. Software vendors are placing a special focus on the aspect of collaboration and communication between people. I have my reservations about how critical is that. In my view, if people can innovate, a communication won’t be a problem for them.
What is my conclusion? The innovation platform is important, but not a critical element in the story of innovation. The environment, constraints, business goals are the most important elements that can make or break the whole innovation process. The goal of innovation platform to put a spotlight on the problem and become a tool to unlock people imagination. But at the same time, these tools won’t make people more innovative. Just my thoughts…