Collaboration for innovation
To us, innovative products and services, are the result of collaborative effort in the organisation. Unlike popular innovation stories, we do not believe in over night successes, but rather in what happened before the breakthrough. Scholars call this “innovation capability”, which refers to all the settings in an organisation that maximises the probability of the realisation of a new innovation. informal networks play a critical role for the innovation capability, as doing truly new things require that we break out of established processes and organisational truths.
What makes good networks for innovation?
To maximise the innovation capability in an organisation there are several requirements on the capabilities of collaborative networks. First, we need strong connections within teams, as well as strong connections between teams and departments. In fact, many of the dominant innovations we see today are results of organisational cross-polination of ideas and concepts. Yesterday innovation was about solving problems, while today innovations has become more of combining solutions to bring more value to problem solving. This is why large organisations need especially to overcome collaboration barriers internally.
Second, innovations require trust, and trustful relationships. This is especially needed for innovation because real innovation happens outside of our day-to-day activities. Real innovation require acceptance of reinventing processes, and dealing with issues in-between responsibilities. If an employee gets an idea, with real value potential, he or she must turn to the people with the resources to develop the idea further. And what would be required for that? Trust. Especielly if the idea involves a broad spectrum of competencies in the organisation.
Third, we need to be aware what other parts of the organisation are doing. This is important if we want to work toward common goals, create unity, and find opportunities to realise synergies.