Innovations and a company's boundaries.
One of the megatrends in manufacturing is that companies have changed what they make and what you buy from others. Way back GM owned rubber plantations in Asia to manufacture its car tires.
In the petrol pump company Ljungmans in Malmö, they used to manufacture their screws and in the pharmaceutical industry based their new drugs on their research. Today they often buy "drug candidates" from small innovative companies and focus on their marketing power. The list could be made very long.
Every business should ask strategic questions about what to produce, or if there is a smarter supply model? The answers are different for all companies, and these change over time.
I call this "Boundary Management".
Each company and business has its own style of innovation. It looks different in IKEA, SEB and in the municipality of Lund, although several features are undoubtedly similar. If one becomes aware that there are different innovation styles, it becomes clearer how to improve one's own. Read more about innovation style ...
The 'Seed model' and the Transformation model
In the Governments national innovation strategy 2012, (Follow-up of Vinnova 2014 Pdf), is stated that in the Swedish innovation system an improved collaboration between universities, society, and business is important and absolutely central to creating welfare and employment. There are at least two kinds of cooperation.
The dominant view in Swedish innovation policy I call the Seed Model.
You nurture ideas in schools and universities, and the most promising plants, preferably with the support of various forms of business policy and funding, will grow, create new jobs, and secure our welfare. Is the seed model successful enough?
Sweden is a small country, and most things are invented and developed elsewhere. We should become better at acquiring knowledge all over the world, finding new technologies and products and working methods, and then learn and implement these faster in our companies and organisations. This applies to both the private and public sectors.
I believe that our future prosperity mainly depends on our collective power for transformation . The models are not the opposite of each other, but the debate and the public support processes are more focused on the former than the latter.
Yes, but ...
Almost all new ideas are met with Yes, but ... interesting idea, but it is not possible due to ... have you thought ... and more suchlike. Most innovators recognise the situation, and the reactions and comments are almost like a reflex. It is perhaps in human nature that one or more objections come almost as fast as a wink. Nod if you recognise it. How can you handle this?
Ideas are not born ready, completely concrete, and feasible. They need to be developed, sometimes reimagined, and adapted to their organisation and market realities. Most ideas would need a reaction more like; interesting, one could perhaps change X or improve Y by Z? New ideas and products often need a protector. On the other hand, a lukewarm reception and resistance may bring about the improvements that were required in the first place.
Iteration is a great concept and is about getting to the next version of a product or service. The likelihood is that businesses with a more efficient (= doing the right things faster) iteration process will be more successful than those that are slower.
Listen a little longer
Try to postpone your spontaneous reaction, and start with some questions to better understand what the idea is basically about or try to achieve. You have to train yourself to react in this way. And as an idea creator, you have to respond with calm when the objections come and see them as input to improve your presentation an idea until the next time you present it.
It has always been done like this
Read an interesting article in the journal 'Strategy+Business' about organisationa change - That’s the Way We (Used to) Do Things Around Here