CogniStreamer Crosstalk 2016

How to unite innovation and data art?

This post was originally published at by Toon D’Hollander & Triin Tamm.

In case you were not present at last week’s Crosstalk Seminar about “Accelerating Innovation”, these are the most important takeaways we are eager to share with you.

1. Innovation incubator: Ideas need space and protection to grow

As presented by Andre Convents (Section Head at Procter & Gamble), innovation is in the roots of P&G. Over time, candle products have evolved into soap, diapers and now much more. When these used to be created in closed internal labs, these are now everywhere: an ecosystem of 6 Universities worldwide, start-ups, employees and users online, and innovation centers (eg B.I.C). Furthermore, these labs are not closed either, but open. Organized hackathons where a dump of production data is shared with groups of data scientists and start-ups. Where more sustainable products are co-created and higher performing production facilities thought thru. Times and means have evolved, however the fact that new ideas need a sort of incubator at the early beginning to start growing into something valuable has remain unchanged.

2. Collaborative and open innovation starts from good connection

As explained by Wim Soens (Director of Innovation, Research & Development at CogniStreamer), one of the key questions is how to mobilise organisations with different working disciplines to co-create in the area of innovation (eg “big gorilla companies” with robust processes and structure and “group of deer” companies working agile and engaging communities). With Cognistreamer they offer a collaboration platform and services to design questions into concrete problem statements, to explore solutions and ideas and finally to mark value discovery through market validations.

3. Welcome revolution in your business model

According to Markus Heinen (EMEIA Strategy at EY and EMEIA SAP Leader), seeding money is easy these days, delivering on a value a lot harder.

Right innovation causes revolution in your business model;  on-site 3d printing has impacted the logistics industry, also predictive IOT maintenance is causing turbulence in the windmill business models.

As a result of innovation the traditional 3 types of business models (operational excellence, customer intimacy, and product leadership) can get mixed – so become disruptive. Such new business models obviously require new management approaches, especially in the areas of revenue streams, risks and future-fitness. In conclusion, when being involved in innovation it’s always important to keep a big picture in mind and manage it end-to-end.

4. When busy with innovation look further than your own organisation

As explained by Carla Grifo (DP World Global Operations), in the past, the trigger to change an operation came from a disaster; a lethal crash accident. It is especially true in Logistics and Container Handling industry, since it is an old-school established business model. Once the need for innovation was clear at DP World, at first an innovation platform was set up with the knowledge in-house. One of the key learnings from there was that good innovation cannot happen in isolation, but requires a constant stream of fresh air, feedback and sharing internally and also externally. The flow from outside of the organisation is crucial. Not to mention all the tailor-made tools and technology available to facilitate it well.

5. Innovation also needs a structure and place in your organisation

Kevin De Caluwé (Innovation Manager at Bekaert), explained how they evolved from a random idea creation to a well-established structure; clear processes, responsibilities, user-friendly tools, also innovation councils per business unit, KPIs and this all linked with strategic focus. One of their key insights was, that when dealing with the resistance and uncertainty aroundnew new products, as well as business models, a common language and known routines can make miracles. Now, approx. 65 million euros go to R&D in Belgium & China. Building further on this success a structured approach towards data can boost the innovation and ensure business continuity.

Hein De Keyzer (CEO of CogniStreamer), summed-it-up with the open question: whether Innovation Management is science or art? Given the presentations, it was clear that the science around it has evolved quite a lot in last years.

No doubt that these scientific approaches for innovation are very valid and useful, however the art-part remains. So challenge us how to combine innovation art and data art in a way that the sum of parts is much bigger than each apart.

By Toon D’Hollander & Triin Tamm

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