Innovation beyond the ‘IT Crowd’


Business leaders around the world of late have reported not only a lack of innovation capability in their organisations but also a sense of not feeling prepared for a future where continuous innovation is needed.

Jochen Schweitzer and Joanne Jankovich make a case for the innovation industry to opening up and embrace creative intelligence.

Maintaining and expanding the capacity to innovate is crucial, especially in increasingly complex and uncertain business environments. What’s more, technology companies have come to realise technology alone cannot solve the big and convoluted problems of our times.

Although technology is still one of the most important drivers of innovation, new dynamics are emerging that could determine which firms get the competitive edge.

While the internet is already a solid infrastructure supporting the economy, it is on the cusp of a much larger expansion with emergence of IoT – the internet of things – where objects, and information about those objects, is connected to the web. This raises many important socio-economic and political issues for stakeholders, as economies and societies become increasingly inter-meshed.

Governments, businesses, the cultural sector and civil society are caught up in a historical switch to digital and are looking at the opportunities that brings for innovation, creativity, economic development and jobs leading to a proliferation of crowd-funded, open-sourced and horizontally-distributed solutions to systemic challenges, and in turn redefining organisational and governance paradigms.

With radically overhauled business models and industry dynamics comes a trend for much more open, and closer, relationships between businesses and the communities they serve. Organisational boundaries are becoming more porous, enabling greater collaboration with employees, customers and partners. Where once a company would go it alone, and be successful doing so, it must now open up its innovation processes for feedback from the wider community.

Priorities are shifting from intra-organisational efficiency to a new model that emphasises outside engagement, transparency, collaboration and dialogue with multiple audiences and all characters within them.

Creative industries are comprised primarily of many small, dynamic firms that increasingly refuse to play with the big establishments in the conventional client-creator-consumer framework, and are instead innovating new ways to co-create value amongst their networks. The growth potential of this style of ‘value creation’ is emerging as greater number of entertainment, media, design, and lifestyle experiences are produced by a variegated army of mini-agencies.

The emergence of social, mobile and digital networks is playing  a big part in democratising the relationship between organisations and their stakeholders.

Innovation is no longer technology-driven by engineers and the IT crowd it is coming from colliding ideas and inspiration from a variety of sectors including the interested, active, informed, amateur expert and expert crowds whose ideas and views about how a field evolves become a valuable source of innovation and strategy development.

Adapted from a piece written in 2013 for The Conversation by Jochen Schweitzer and Joanne Jakovich published on October 31, 2013

Image sourced from Joannae Jakovich LinkedIn
Last updated December 1, 2016