Innovating Ahead of Time

Predictor stickThis morning I ran into Four Innovation Predictions for 2011 on one of my favorite innovation blogs:  Blogging Innovation and make sure to follow them, if you are working on better ways to innovate.

Their four predictions are:
  1. Ideas come from everywhere – “open” innovation is ubiquitous
  2. Experience is more important than product – the outcomes change from new products to new experiences
  3. Time frames shorten – while organizations are getting better at generating ideas, the time frame from idea to commercialization hasn’t changed.
  4. Creativity re-enters the workforce.
I absolutely agree with all the points mentioned and while reading I was actually surprised how well my 2010 activities at Exact, my employer up until a few months ago, fitted the predictions. The things I was working on were:
  1. A community around the complete eco-system of customers, partners, accountants etc. to increase the contact moments and relation between members of the community. Product and services ideas and improvements would be part of that as well. It was in a concept and idea phase and never it materialized, but instead the product blogging community of Exact is sharing more upcoming stuff and listening better to product and services feedback. Wasn't yet a form of true open innovation, but it did recognize the value, knowledge and experience of the complete eco-system.
  2. During 2010 I build a complete User Experience team, from almost nothing to a reasonable sized team. I shared some of the experiences on getting it done in: User Experience - The Series (with some Bonus material too). The team also let to increased focus on the overall experience of the products and services. It didn't really deliver a lot in 2010, but I'm convinced the visible output and customer value will be significant in 2011.
  3. Agile was the magic word in the product organization. The different teams in one way or another moved to agile product development methods. I let the team that was the first to adopt, visualized in a nice Scrum at Exact video. The agility in product and service development was the necessary first step towards a shorter time to market. I'm not at Exact, I've no insights in to product road maps and release plans, but I wouldn't be surprised that the 2010 investments also in this area will pay off.
  4. When I hired several professional User Experience Designers a lot of creativity entered the work force, the environment changed from a paperless clean IT organization to a paper driven design organization. Suddenly the were sketches, diagrams, etc. all over the walls. People stopped to have a look, it at first felt strange in an IT organization, but quickly it transformed the overall atmosphere. The creativity was breading and worked as a catalyst on more and better ideas. Don't forget to read some of the User Experience - The Series for images and impressions.
It felt good to read the article, because it just to me confirmed I was doing the right things. If you are seeking ways to follow up on the prediction, don't hesitate to contact me. I have time and I might be able to help.

Disclaimer: This article is not endorsed or reviewed by Exact, it all my personal opinion.

Image: For Inspiration Only

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