I recently came across a blog post by innovation advisor Paul Hobcraft titled A New Integrated Innovation Engagement System.

Paul writes about an innovation ecosystem and process that expands outside the corporate walls to truly transform an organization to meet future needs:

We have this compelling need to have a new cycle of innovation design. A more integrated solution that takes our understanding of innovation and how to manage it, into the realms of ecosystems and platforms in its design and thinking.

He goes on to say:

We have been steadily learning to adapt what we knew inside an organization with what we should increasingly listen to outside it. There has been an increasing emphasis on linking concepts in new and novel products and services, increasingly closer to customer needs and desires.

We need to consider how big data and analytics, technology and a far more creative thinking needs to be applied collectively but in greater constellations of partners. We need to get far more comfortable with working in ecosystems, managed in platform designs to work more collaboratively.

His post includes a graphic to visualize the innovation ecosystem. I thought this was a brilliant piece of work and a great observation on future developments.

I too believe an Innovation Platform enabling multiple ecosystems is the way of the future that will advance many companies to leadership positions instead of being on the wrong side of the “digital divide” and market disruption.

In fact, I expect an innovation operating model where a single system supports multi-eco partners for innovation will become a required competency in every company to survive and navigate the massive disruption risk introduced by the evolving digitalized business model.

We at Sopheon, along with our most advanced clients, are living many aspects of the evolving Innovation Platform model he refers. One of the key learnings to share from our work is the need for governance and security in such a system.

I have experienced the need, especially in large global companies, for the Innovation Platform to provide a place that enables the ecosystem to collaborate and innovate with freedom while at the same time providing an operating model that manages a governance process to protect the innovation for its intended purpose. This becomes particularly important when the purpose of the innovation is to move strategic initiatives forward, which are often highly sensitive and proprietary to the company.

We also find that, when linked to and integrated with corporate strategic purpose and governance, the innovation effort across the ecosystem becomes significantly more productive and valuable; this can often be game changing when compared to “innovation for the sake of innovation”.

I believe these ecosystems are most successful when built for purpose and they have an active community mix of consumers, providers and suppliers coming together around areas of common interest to grow value.

How do you see ecosystems working together in the future? How do you see the innovation platform changing? Respond in the comments below.

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