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Make Innovation Happen


When managers understand what they want from the future, they are already much of the way down the path to understanding what kind of innovation is required to realize their goal.

Innovation can no longer be understood in terms of new products alone. It concerns new services and processes, new business models, new markets, new forms of organization, and even new tools, methods and practices of management. It is a complex series of collaborative activities undertaken with partners dispersed through entire supply-chains and value-networks.

The ability to innovate was once seen as something to be admired in great companies, but things are different now. Innovation is no longer an option, it is a necessity. Modern organizations need to innovate repeatedly, systematically and in a disciplined way. They have to innovate in their approach to innovating, in how innovation is managed. They have to choose priority areas for innovation, put in place the organizational structures needed to support it and make sure everyone has the necessary skills to contribute to the overall innovation effort. A SYSTEMATIC approach to innovation is required. This is true whether the organization is a private enterprise or a public administration.

No organization can create all the knowledge it needs to innovate. Increasingly the knowledge required will come from outside the organization, from clients or partners, from other companies or research institutes, from other countries. This requires an approach to innovation that is OPEN and that does not depend on all knowledge or initiative coming from within. It requires a culture than is open to outside sources of knowledge as well as mechanisms and capabilities for the kind of collaboration required to access those sources. Open innovation is a two way street with knowledge going out and knowledge flowing in.

Great organizations innovate across many fronts at once. They innovate for themselves to compete. They collaborate in the innovation efforts of partners so as to maintain or improve their position and role in the supply chain. They innovate to meet or exceed the norms of society, for example in terms of environmental impact or their contribution to sustainable development. On some fronts they take the lead and on other fronts they follow.

Organizations need to manage a portfolio of innovations that potentially touches upon any market or business function. On a regular basis organisations need to look at how their innovation portfolio is COMPLETE and ask questions such as whether their innovation efforts are focusing too much on new products and not enough on services, too much on production and not enough on marketing, too much on sales and not on business models.

Based on work it has carried out in the Nordic countries, CKA has developed an approach to analyzing the ensemble of innovative activity of a company on the basis of it being:
   • OPEN, and


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