Digital Twin – exploring the basics

The concept of digital twins is not new, but rather built on ideas that have been explored for the last couple of decades. The technology (compute power, data management & analytics, etc..) and thinking (increasing regulatory and community acceptance of digital approaches to science) have finally hit an inflection point that makes in silico modeling attainable in a cost effective manner.

What this now unlocks is a new opportunity set in the form of machine accessible data, as well as integration of the data sets / ontologies across the target systems / interactions. The need to get to a standardized mechanism to make these data available is tied to the FAIR Data work, and an important dimension to Digital Twin.

Digital twins vs. simulations
Although simulations and digital twins both utilize digital models to replicate a system’s various processes, a digital twin is actually a virtual environment, which makes it considerably richer for study. The difference between digital twin and simulation is largely a matter of scale: While a simulation typically studies one particular process, a digital twin can itself run any number of useful simulations in order to study multiple processes.

Source: IBM , What is a Digital Twin

At it’s heart, the idea of a digital twin is to reproduce a system in a “runnable” computer model. This oversimplifies the idea, but is a useful construct to think about the problem space and the opportunity it presents. If you can take a scientific instrument, and fully model it in silico, you can then run data sets through it virtually – this makes the assumption that both the inbound and outbound data are available in a machine usable format – something that is tied to this work.

Digital twin is an interdisciplinary research field which includes engineering, computer science, automation and control, and so on. But due to the multidisciplinary nature of the field, it also touches on materials science, communication, operations management, robotics, medicine and other disciplines. A keyword analysis indicates that digital twin, ‘smart manufacturing’, ‘big data’, ‘cyber-physical system’, and ‘digital economy’ are closely related fields.

Source: “Innovations in digital twin reserach” from Nature Portfolio

The article in nature.com is an interesting piece in that it ties together the many dimensions in this field of research. We can’t think of “Digital Twin” as a single entity opportunity, rather to fully realize the potential, we need to look at it as a part of an emerging “virtual capability ecosystem” with applications back to the real world. The value is realized in lower long term costs with increased innovation driven by reduced cost and cycle times, accompanied by increases in application of AI / ML on these models to gain targeted insights that more sharply focus the bench work.

Track the past and help predict the future of any connected environment

Source: Azure Digital Twins

The ability to create learning models for these Digital Twins will improve the accuracy and usefulness of the models over time, and that feedback loop will be a critical part of design. While the industry is maturing, we are seeing more vendors coming to the table with solutions in this space. One of the interesting things to watch is how we as an industry continue to drive open standards in support of these ideas to avoid the traps of “vendor lock in” that were so prevalent in the past.

Pistoia Alliance: Patient Centricity

There is an increasing recognition of the value in patient engagement with respect to healthcare in general, as well as the emerging field of personalized / targeted medicine and digital health. The wearable / therapeutic combination, CAR-T therapies, telehealth and so much more fall into this broad category of patient centricity and experience, as well as the direct marketing side of it.

The Pistoia Alliance has called for life science and healthcare to urgently restructure around patient centricity – read the post from the alliance here.

the pandemic has changed behaviors. Billions of people changed the way they interact with healthcare in a matter of months. In this new era of targeted precision medicine, we all play a role in creating the patient-centric future that patients deserve.”

Cristina Ortega Duran, Chief Digital Health Officer R&D for AstraZeneca

I am excited to see where this leads us as an industry, and how we shift from traditional approaches to include our broad patient populations in developing and delivering medicines and treatments. It will be great to see growing inclusivity across geographic and social boundaries as we increase reach and engagement.

TED: Draw Toast! (Creative Problem Solving)

Tom Wujec has a TED talk on creative problem solving using a technique he calls “drawing toast”. The idea is not new, but the packaging and approach is solid and builds on innovation thinking. I posted a video from another TED talk about empowering the team, and ensuring all voices are heard, and this ties in nicely with that thought. I am a fan of process mapping and achieving clarity, as a step toward optimization or evaluation of opportunity, and I will be adding these techniques to my tool box. You can watch the video below, and link to the website Tom has created here.

Drawing the process

Establishing nodes and links – toast making as a foundation for process mapping teaches how to take complex problems and break them into discrete units.

The creative process builds from individuals, to component based to group synthesis, resulting in an optimum systems model

Watching the process progress, it is intriguing to watch the optimal number of process steps shift, as complexity is revealed and then sorted.

Taking these ideas and approaches and applying the thinking to the business at hand is the logical next step.

TED: Manage for collective creativity

While looking through TED for innovative thinking and approaches I can learn from, I came across this talk by Linda Hill. I encourage you to watch the full video if you have an interest in the topic and want to be challenged. The ideas come from a significant amount of time and effort spent tracking select global leaders, and cataloging what makes them effective in driving innovation.

While watching this video, I pulled some key thoughts from the talk and copied the transcripted notes here. The key thought I pulled from here that I feel sums up the notes below is as follows: The idea of leading innovative organizations is more about creating an environment for the organization, as opposed to “owning the vision”. In Agile terminology, there is an idea of servant leadership, meaning getting out of the way and supporting the success of the team. This concept is a powerful part of innovation leadership as well.

  • Leading innovation is not about creating a vision and inspiring others to execute it.If we want to build organizations that can innovate time and again, we must unlearn our conventional notions of leadership.

  • Leading innovation is not about creating a vision, and inspiring others to execute it.

  • When many of us think about innovation, though, we think about an Einstein having an ‘Aha!’ moment. But we all know that’s a myth. Innovation is not about solo genius, it’s about collective genius.What we know is, at the heart of innovation is a paradox. You have to unleash the talents and passions of many people and you have to harness them into a work that is actually useful. Innovation is a journey. It’s a type of collaborative problem solving, usually among people who have different expertise and different points of view.

  • three capabilities: creative abrasion, creative agility and creative resolution. Creative abrasion is about being able to create a marketplace of ideas through debate and discourse. In innovative organizations, they amplify differences, they don’t minimize them. Creative abrasion is not about brainstorming, where people suspend their judgment. No, they know how to have very heated but constructive arguments to create a portfolio of alternatives.

  • innovation rarely happens unless you have both diversity and conflict.

  • if we want to build organizations that can innovate time and again, we must recast our understanding of what leadership is about. Leading innovation is about creating the space where people are willing and able to do the hard work of innovative problem solving.

  • What can we do to make sure that all the disruptors, all the minority voices in this organization, speak up and are heard? And, finally, let’s bestow credit in a very generous way.”

  • Bill said, “I lead a volunteer organization. Talented people don’t want to follow me anywhere. They want to cocreate with me the future. My job is to nurture the bottom-up and not let it degenerate into chaos.” How did he see his role? “I’m a role model, I’m a human glue, I’m a connector, I’m an aggregator of viewpoints. I’m never a dictator of viewpoints.” Advice about how you exercise the role? Hire people who argue with you. And, guess what? Sometimes it’s best to be deliberately fuzzy and vague.

  • They stopped giving answers, they stopped trying to provide solutions. Instead, what they did is they began to see the people at the bottom of the pyramid, the young sparks, the people who were closest to the customers, as the source of innovation. They began to transfer the organization’s growth to that level. In Vineet’s language, this was about inverting the pyramid so that you could unleash the power of the many by loosening the stranglehold of the few, and increase the quality and the speed of innovation that was happening every day.our role as leaders is to set the stage, not perform on it.

Books to read: Sticky Wisdom: How to Start a Creative Revolution at Work

I got this book while working at Pfizer, and helping lead an innovation transformation in the consumer health division. We were looking to reboot out approach to product development and creativity in general, and as a part of that we invested in a great set of programs that I still benefit from now, long after those roles. This book is from the ?WhatIf! company, and has many little insights that can help unlock the creativity in you, and in your team.

The book asks a few key questions and offers accompanying insights to build on.

  • What if you could spot what’s killing creativity in your organization right now?

  • What if you could stop yourself squashing ideas and start growing them instead?

  • What if you could help everyone at work to be creative?

  • What if you stopped talking about how important creativity is and started to take practical steps to make it happen.

But most of all….  What if there was a step-by-step guide that showed you exactly how to do it?

Instinctively we all know that creativity at work is important,but for many of us it feels either difficult or intimidating.

Sticky Wisdom delivers powerful insights that take creativity out of the hands of ‘creative people’ and puts it back where it belongs, with all of us. It breaks creativity out into six practical behaviours and shows how every one of us – not just the wacky geniuses – is packed with creative potential. We can start a creative revolution by adopting six behaviours:

  1. Freshness
  2. Greenhousing
  3. Realness
  4. Momentum
  5. Signalling
  6. Courage

These are the behaviours you can identify in highly creative and high-performing teams. These are the behaviours that you can start applying today to revolutionize your life.

Suddenly creativity isn’t such a mystery. Sticky Wisdom makes it easy to talk about, easy to practise and easy to remember.Above all, it makes it easy to get on and do!

One of the points made in the book that makes great sense is the idea that creativity and innovation are not synonymous. Creativity only becomes innovation when the ideas are useful, or described another way, add value. The book is full of little stories and examples to make the point, as illustrated by an exercise with a food retailer team to have the team role play being a meal cooked in a wok. The book goes on to provide examples of the insights gained such as oil that changes color when ready, food that is pre-sliced and provided in numbered packages to sequence cooking properly, and more. These ideas came from the interactive role play and subsequent discussion. This type of activity generally takes me outside my comfort zone, as it does many, but that is the point.

In other posts, I reference the idea of stream jumping, which I got from this book and training. I also value the idea of Green Housing, which is broken into a series of steps outlined in the book consisting of:

  • Suspend Judgement
  • Understand
  • Nurture
  • React
  • Assume
  • INsist

Another key concept from this book, though not unique to the book, is signalling. Part of the accompanying training is around the value of being intentional with signalling to a partner in conversation what your intentions are, or where you are trying to take the conversation. This has been a valuable tool in my kit now for years, as I have learned to be much more clear with my intentions in communication, setting up my audience or partners to better receive and understand my messaging.

Why I recommend this book:

This book is full of great insights, and is a quick read. It can be used to bookmark and drop in and out of, or used as a reference to work through as a team. You cannot read this short reference without gaining value, even if you have extensive experience with change and innovation. It will spark ideas you have forgotten and give you new ones to build on. I cannot go into the full content of the book in a short post, but I encourage you to spend the few dollars it costs to buy this book. It was printed some time ago, but the ideas are as relevant today as when printed the first time!

Books to read:The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care

This read is in line with the related book by the same author I also recommended titled “The Innovator’s Dilemma“. This book focuses on the healthcare industry, and besides Clayton Chritensen, includes 2 additional authors, Jerome Grossman, MD, and Jason Hwang, MD. The Amazon summary offers a decent overview.

A groundbreaking prescription for health care reform–from a legendary leader in innovation . . .

Our healthcare system is in critical condition. Each year, fewer Americans can afford it, fewer businesses can provide it, and fewer government programs can promise it for future generations.

We need a cure, and we need it now.

Harvard Business School’s Clayton M. Christensen―whose bestselling The Innovator’s Dilemma revolutionized the business world―presents The Innovator’s Prescription, a comprehensive analysis of the strategies that will improve health care and make it affordable.

Christensen applies the principles of disruptive innovation to the broken health care system with two pioneers in the field―Dr. Jerome Grossman and Dr. Jason Hwang. Together, they examine a range of symptoms and offer proven solutions.


  • “Precision medicine” reduces costs and makes good on the promise of personalized care

  • Disruptive business models improve quality, accessibility, and affordability by changing the way hospitals and doctors work

  • Patient networks enable better treatment of chronic diseases

  • Employers can change the roles they play in health care to compete effectively in the era of globalization

  • Insurance and regulatory reforms stimulate disruption in health care

And the editorial reviews are a good reflection of my thoughts as well:

  • “Clayton Christensen has done it again, writing yet another book full of valuable insights. The Innovator’s Prescription might just mark the beginning of a new era in health care.”Michael Bloomberg, Mayor, New York City

  • “Clear, entertaining, and provocative, The Innovator’s Prescription should be read by anyone who cares about improving the health and health care of all.”Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

  • “Comprehensive in its vision, astute in its diagnosis, and clear in its guidance, The Innovator’s Prescription offers strong medicine for a health care system that is far from well.”Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, President, Institute of Medicine

  • “A wealth of insights–with new ideas and revelations in every chapter. Read it, and you will be armed with solid ideas for making health care better.”George Halvorson, Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals

  • “The Innovator’s Prescription is a well researched, clearly organized road map to a sustainable health care system.”Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services

  • “The Innovator’s Prescription is an important and timely contribution to the national debate on health system reform. We would do well to consider it carefully.”Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

  • “Clayton Christensen has helped many businesses―including our own–find new growth opportunities through deeper insights into the future of health and the health care system. I can think of no one better equipped to lead this comprehensive global assessment.”Bill Weldon, Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson

Why I recommend this book:

I am in the healthcare industry (pharmaceutical / biopharma industry) and I found this book to be a fantastic challenge for where we are, and where we were. I read this one shortly after its release in 2009, and on reflection now, it is as relevant as it was at that time. Clayton and his co-authors take the foundation of the innovator’s dilemma, and apply that thinking to the healthcare space. The topics addressed include not only the opportunities to achieve value through innovative and lateral thinking, but also an exploration of the supply chain, hospital business models, chronic disease treatment and a broad range of additional topics. This should be required reading for management and management candidates in the healthcare related industries.

Books to read: The Innovator’s Dilemma

I first read this book many years ago and it has served as a good reference over the years, standing the test of time as a foundational work. First published in 1997 by Clayton Christensen and reprinted multiple times since, it details the business innovation cycles and the traps that are too easy to fall into.  The book has been superseded by new versions, but reading the original and early updates in contrast with how things have evolved as predicted is illuminating and sobering if you are in a large corporation. At the same time, those seeking to disrupt an existing industry will take heart and be encouraged by the principles outlined in this book. We have seen these ideas applied time and again with industry disruptions including Airbnb for the hotel industry, Uber, Lyft and others to the Taxi market, emerging financial market disruption with Bitcoin and more every day.

Editorial reviews from others:

  • The Innovator’s Dilemma is becoming a handbook for CEOs remaking their businesses for the Net.- BusinessWeek
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma captures the critical role of leadership in creating markets.- John Seely Brown, chief scientist, Xerox Corp., and director, Xerox Parc
  • This book ought to chill any executive who feels bulletproof – and inspire entrepreneurs aiming their guns.- Forbes
  • I cannot recommend this book strongly enough – ignore it at your peril.- Martin Fakley, Information Access
  • Absolutely brilliant. Clayton Christensen provides an insightful analysis of changing technology and its importance to a company’s future success.- Michael R. Bloomberg, CEO & Founder, Bloomberg Financial Markets
  • This book addresses a tough problem that most successful companies will face eventually. It’s lucid, analytical – and scary.- Dr. Andrew S. Grove, chairman & CEO, Intel Corporation
  • Clayton Christensen’s groundbreaking book…brings fresh insight and understanding to the complex and critically important relationships between technological change and business success…His conclusions provide food for thought for the top management of every company.- Richard N. Foster, Director, McKinsey & Company

From the back cover

In this revolutionary bestseller, innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen says outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership—or worse, disappear altogether. And not only does he prove what he says, but he tells others how to avoid a similar fate.

Focusing on “disruptive technology,” Christensen shows why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. Whether in electronics or retailing, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know when to abandon traditional business practices. Using the lessons of successes and failures from leading companies, The Innovator’s Dilemma presents a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.

Find out:

  • When it is right not to listen to customers.
  • When to invest in developing lower-performance products that promise lower margins.
  • When to pursue small markets at the expense of seemingly larger and more lucrative ones.
  • Sharp, cogent, and provocative, The Innovator’s Dilemma is one of the most talked-about books of our time—and one no savvy manager or entrepreneur should be without.

Why I recommend this book:

As previously mentioned, this book was foundational in developing my thinking around innovation and change. It stands the test of time remarkably well and still serves as a business reference for both large corporations and disruptors alike. The cautionary tales from Xerox, Kodak and others as well as the success of the disruptors provides lessons that resonate with any business today. We are seeing disruption on a scale that feels unprecedented, and it would serve leaders well to learn from the errors and successes of their predecessors.

Adapt to survive, or adapt to win…

There are more articles, papers and consultants than I can count on the topic of transformation in business. Many of them focus on the idea of transformation, and now especially “digital transformation” as a means of survival. I suggest an alternative, but complimentary idea. Don’t think of transformation as a survival exercise. Use transformation as a vehicle to truly be transformational, not in the buzzword sense, but rather in the overall value chain perspective.

To transform to survive is relatively straightforward. Look at where your peers are going, and queue up alongside them at the industry feeding trough. You will have a shot at staying relevant for a period, but your investment will likely be drowned out by the noise of the accompanying industry shifts, and be no longer lasting than the last series of “revolutionary ideas” the organization has moved through in the past. Transformative change comes from taking a hard look at your own house, industry, supply chain, and customers.

  • What are the trends in your industry pointing to?
  • What is your risk tolerance? (organizational, industry, regulatory …)
  • What are the trends across adjacent spaces that move more nimbly than your own?
    • How can you choose to leapfrog your competition and industry by making bold investments, while mitigating some level of risk by learning from adjacent spaces?
  • Is your broader organization ready to accept your changes?

Trends in your industry

The trends in your industry point to where your peers are headed. This is good information directionally, but also a map to “what is” as opposed to “what could be”. Use this as a means to cross check your ideas – are they closely aligned? If the answer is yes, you are likely transforming to survive.

How can you take a leadership position in your industry, partnering with your consumers / customers and your respective regulatory bodies to bring the consumer ever closer to the value? For heavily regulated industries, how can you ensure regulations evolve along with your technological investments? Be a trendsetter through partnerships with the regulatory agencies. Gain the competitive advantages from being positioned to take advantage of emerging legislations and changes.

The idea of adapting to win comes from being bold, and as a part of that, being a thought leader. This comes with risk, which leads to the next point.

What is your risk tolerance?

I learned many years ago to assess my risk tolerance for any given initiative, and to share that information with other senior leaders for confirmation and alignment. I have seen doors open that previously were firmly shut, once risk tolerance was understood and accepted. Conversely this also serves as a set of organizational guard rails to ensure that the proper foundation is set prior to embarking on your change event. Thinking through the risk, communicating the value of the risk and potential upside to the right stakeholders will set the change event up for maximum success. This is a topic all on its own, and something to give real thought to. Risk management should be thought of as a tool, and something to actively own as opposed to something to avoid if you are to grow.

Trends across adjacent spaces

Examining your own industry can be informative, but taking a hard look at industries that are much less regulated, or less constrained and closer to the forefront of technology and engagement is the key to starting to build your vision. To chart a course for transformation, a leader must have some idea of the future possibilities for the organization. A “North Star” must be defined, and a vision that can be clearly understood articulated. To do that, pointing to success sets up a believable path for your own industry and makes the unbelievable more realistic in the minds of your stakeholders. The adjacent spaces will likely have forward thinking that is not hindered by the regulatory or other structural burdens of your industry, and hence you as a leader are responsible to building the bridge of believability to get there, using your risk tolerance and vision as a foundation.

Is your broader organization ready to accept your changes?

The question of change readiness is a difficult one to face for many organizations, and is difficult enough at the project level, and even more so at the organizational change level. There is an element of “the org will do what I say”, to be sure, but real change will come from the people in the organization getting behind the mission, and both understanding and supporting the transformation activities. To gain this support, a non-trivial amount of up front work is required as well as continuous change management through the life of the actual transformation, and then well beyond the “done date”. The real value to be extracted from this significant investment comes in the “run state” of the new model. To get that, plan to invest in long running change management, voice of the customer and “micro tweaks” as well as highlighting the value in broad messaging.

Focus on the people, celebrate those team members who are bold and join the change as leaders, but do not forget those in the back who are supporting the leaders. People deliver on what is rewarded and celebrated. If as a leader, you celebrate “done” at the org alignment milestone and then resume business, you will miss the sustaining value of the change. Plan for a long tail on the investment. This is a real financial investment, but without it, plan to gain minimal transformative value.

Properly nurtured, the change event will result in a lasting difference in your organization and its ability to deliver meaningful value to your stakeholders. Remember to set a clear and compelling vision, and then measure yourself and your organization against that on on a regular basis. Celebrate success, support the change and be prepared to hold the course when things are difficult!

Digital Transformation… by any other name? Learning from other industries

I was reading an article at CIO Dive about the CIO at cosmetics conglomerate Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and it resonated with a transformation we are undertaking in the pharmaceutical industry. The thing I love about these types of situations is the broad applicability of good thinking, but also the value of “stream jumping”, a term I picked up from an agency I worked with in a past role focused on innovation. The key idea of this stream jumping is taking lessons from adjacent spaces and applying them to your challenges, not being constrained to “my industry”.

In the article, the author Mitch Betts says: Michael Smith joined the New York-based “prestige beauty” company as senior vice president and chief information officer, information technology last year, with a mandate for pushing IT innovation to help the company stay abreast of the fast-moving beauty industry, where an Instagram photo of celebrity’s new lip gloss can drive sales.

While the drug industry is not reactive to that degree, our engagement is around delivering life saving medicines as quickly and effectively as possible. As a part of that journey, the patient connection is taking an ever more prominent role, whether it be in the trial compliance or reporting, medical routine compliance, or health monitoring, or any of a number of other scenarios.

Mr. Betts lists the year one accomplishments for the CIO and his team.

  1. Reorganizing IT to align with business units, instead of technologies, so IT stays can stay close to business needs.
  2. Hiring IT talent, globally, with new skill sets.
  3. Fostering greater IT agility and speed, such as moving from waterfall to agile software development processes, and breaking down walls between applications and infrastructure groups to adopt DevOps.
  4. Moving from a buy-and-integrate IT strategy to building systems in-house when they provide a competitive advantage

It is interesting to see the pendulum swing on these principles, as over time I have seen a few of these move in and out of favor.  What is particularly encouraging is the recognition of the value of Agile software development and DevOps. This helps de-risk some of the moves to build vs buy and business unit alignment of IT functions.

The classic waterfall model tends to drive a centralized service mindset, and long lead to value cycle times, which creates a host of challenges in meeting expectations, both customer facing and internal delivery team focused. When coupled with decentralized business alignment, it creates a continuous conflict for service time, and generally leads to infighting in my past experience. It is possible to make it work, but the effort expended is not commensurate with the value returned.

An agile approach, coupled with decentralized IT staffing can potentially yield optimum results, however there is opportunity to drive efficiencies into the model through replication of core services. The ideal match for this approach would be a scalable, SLA driven managed service provider approach to the commodity centralized services – “classic IT”, while devoting the employee headcount and leadership to the business facing roles and the intersection roles.

Every managed service has an inward facing employee accountable for performance. These leaders are measured by each business facing lead, as well as the internal metrics. This will help ensure a balance of efficiency vs. effectiveness in delivery of value, while taking the complexity of scaling and growth off the plate of the business facing teams.

The article does not go into any detail about the specifics of the alignment, but this is yet another in the trend I am seeing around the recognition of the value in taking an agile approach, and adopting agile development practices. This concept scales beyond the software development, to collaboration, organization and most other value streams.

This transformation for Estée Lauder, as well as the others in flight, will be interesting to watch over the next year. This is especially true as we are in the beginning stages of our own internal changes!

Link to the original article

Don’t die of Innovation Indigestion!

I recently read an article from Mckinsey, by Dr. Waguih Ishak, the division vice president and chief technologist at Corning Research & Development Corporation. You can find the full article here:  https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/creating-an-innovation-culture but I am referencing a portion of this piece. I encourage you to follow the link and read the rest.

He touches on an important point, and almost off handedly, hits another very critical point on the innovation journey.  The quote I would like to focus on is this:

Conventional wisdom holds that organizations die of starvation from a shortage of good ideas and projects. In reality, they are much more likely to die of indigestion. A surfeit of projects with inadequate staffing makes delivering on anything less likely. 

Dr. Waguih Ishak

I have participated in, and led innovation efforts at multiple large enterprises over my career. When I read this quote, it resonated so strongly I felt compelled to draft this short piece. What grabbed my attention on this, is the idea that many leaders (including myself) have focused on ways to bring innovation in to drive more demand through improved engagement models and “cultural change”. This is often seen and celebrated as part of transformational change to drive business value, and all the other clichéd  terms we like to use. 

In reality, there is often more to be gained in focusing on first principles – focusing on the hard work of understanding our teams, understanding what we need to be successful, listening to our people and giving them room to innovate and explore the ideas they already have. We seem to celebrate work over value, and so often I see the valuable “thinking time” being driven out of our days. 

We have an opportunity to stop – look at our teams and prioritize thinking. Learn to get to know the people we have and probe them for what they would do if they were the leader. Then we can select the best ideas and get out of the way – empowerment and space are unbelievably powerful innovation tools!

Demand without capacity is a fool’s errand, and creation of capacity comes through prioritization of value over work, and a recognition that innovation must be nurtured and given space. As value is created, it must be celebrated, as failures are seen, they must be dissected to pull out the value of the lessons. Keep the focus on the VALUE PRODUCED, not the IDEAS GENERATED. Value measures will vary depending on the effort, but they must be a part of each effort, and a part of the mindset and story to ensure innovation is meaningful, even when risky and / or exploratory.