Event: Open up, become inspired and innovate! Global perspectives at Innovation Breakfast
Time: 5.9.2018 klo 8:00-10:30
Place: Hard Rock Cafe (Aleksanterinkatu 21, 00100 Helsinki)
”The focus of the USCO-project is to develop Finnish organisations capabilities to utilise digitalisation. The project explores digital business development on an organizational level, and in implementing open service innovation. USCO-project relies on experimentation and taking actions fit the focus of management, well-being at work, open innovation and customer centricity.” This was the first time I really paid attention to USCO-projects goals, and I have to admit that I was impressed. All those main focus areas are something that I am very interested in.
In the introduction Ruusa Ligthart and Riitta-Liisa Larjovuori started by explaining more about the viewpoints in USCO-project and opened some basic enablers in the open innovation process.
Four viewpoints to digitalisation
- Wellbeing at work
- Open innovation
- Customer centricity
What helps and enables open innovation:
– Open and systematic processes
– Strategic support from organization
– Leadership support, examples
– Organizational culture
Coming from quite hierarchic work environment, I was delighted to hear more about the fact that open innovation is also about collaboration and open mind. That is the reason why I decided to start study MBA at Laura UAS.
Keynote1: Professor Tim Minshall (University of Cambridge): ”Creating open innovations throught networking.”
Innovation is about solving customer needs. Before this event innovation felt more like something complex and something that only experts and researchers in the field could do. Now I realised that knowing your customer is the key factor. That needs understanding, and that I believe I’m good at. The key action is to listen, and that’s what I mostly do at work. Dialog.
Innovation is about doing, understanding and delivering. It may be a product that makes life easier or something totally different, a shift in the way services are viewed. Sometimes the change can be incremental and sometimes simplicity is the key word. I really enjoyed when Minshall told about one case of innovation. A kettle. John C. Taylor invented the bi-metal kettle switch that makes sure that your kettle switches off once the water starts boiling. It reminded me of a coffee filter, that was invented by a German housewife Melitta Bentz simply because she didn’t was coffee to taste bad and have grounds in it. Bentz took blotting paper and transformed that into a new business idea 110 years ago. Mr. Taylor also said that “Innovation is no longer just for the elite in business, it has become the norm”. Collaboration acts as an enabler. It is important to be resilient and withstand difficulties because innovation process usually involves handling such things as failure, risks and the fact that a lot of times you hear the word ”No”. It is a good thing that my current profession has trained me to work under pressure and limitations, because all three challenges are going to be in my personal improvement -list for a while as learning targets. Not really used to fail 😉
Basically Open Innovation videns the basic innovation project from ”Research – Development – Commercialisation” to more accessible and friendly prosess, where also social skills are important. Companies share their information with competitors in aim of mutual gain. Networking comes down to doing and giving in co-creation. More and more people are getting together for stimulation. That is one reason why I just started volunteering in The Shortcut. The Shortcut is a community driven organisation that promotes diversity as an engine for growth. They inspire and empower their community through gatherings, workshops, trainings and programmes that help people explore ideas, share knowledge and develop skills to enable new talents required in the startup life.
Keynote2: Adjutant professor Marja-Liisa Manka (Tampereen yliopiston johtamiskorkeakoulu): ”Kaikkien innovaatiopotentiaali käyttöön työpaikalla – Ruudun takaa aktiiviseksi toimijaksi”
Freely translated: Everyone’s innovation potential at use in work places – Away behind the screen to become an active agent. I almost got goosebumps when I heard Manka say: ”Well-being at work is very essential part of innovativeness and that empleyees should involve in the (strategic) decision making.” Well-being at work is a subject very close to my heart and I’m even thinking about maybe doing by thesis related to improving organizational culture. This happens by developing work resources in a new way, emphasising community and trust. It is also important for the individual to take care of his/hers own resources: development, activity and psychological wellbeing. The base of well-being at work and innovation lies in organizational culture. That’s why it is important to adjust and change work together. What are the mutual goals and requirements? How to add social resources? What it takes to improve structural resources at work?
The day ended in panel discussion in which eight Finnish organisations shared their experiences being part of the USCO-project. At first they shared their positive outcomes and quidelines before giving out examples when the innovation collaboration might not work. The most common warning signs were overcomplexity and self-willness. It is important to keep focus, no matter how enthusiastic people might be. What is the reason and the need? That said, it is also crucial that organization supports innovation. Timing is important, especially when constructing workshops. Dynamics can be a fragile thing and needs to be nurtured during an innovation process. Workshops are always a good idea, assuming that they come from actual need. Getting customers involved in the process ensures that user experience is also accounted for and results get better that way. Collaboration and agility shoud be in the core of actions and organization culture should be open and visible. Open innovation requires new skillsets that also includes empathy, courage, curiosity, trust, and being systematic. This was the first time I learnt about the skillsets. I was happy to notice that I can say to already possess some of those attributes already. Rest of them are about practise and learning. I’m eager to learn more.
As Tim Minshall said: ”You can’t do everything on your own.”
The author Siru Sirén is MBA student in Futures Studies and Customer-Oriented Services in Laurea UAS// Licenced social service professional
More information and ideas:
Book: The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge