Innovating for a Digital Future

Over the past year, Deloitte have publish a short series on digital leadership and are wrapping it up with the final edition “Innovating for a Digital Future“.  Each publication looks at the different challenges facing leaders in the digital era particularly in the technology, media and telecoms industries.

This last one examines the challenges around innovation and how it’s possible to be innovative particularly within large organisations that feature heavily in the technology and telecoms arenas. Doing the research for the publication, Deloitte found three unexpected paradoxes.

1. Innovation is a social sport. It is not the preserve of “lone geniuses” yet it requires lone geniuses working effectively with others to make it work.

2. Innovation is somewhat anarchic and organisation can impede it. Innovation rates substantially increase when there is a large population of people, yet large organisations do not appear to gain an innovation premium. The construct of the organisation itself is in many ways anti-innovation.

3. “Good” failure is critical to the innovation process. For innovation to flourish organisations need to embrace failure, yet not many chief execs would survive if they made failure a virtue.

The research further suggests that leaders need to work across four areas to develop organisations that can successfully innovate.

1. Strategy and vision
2. Environment and culture
3. Organisation and design of work
4. Leadership and talent

Each of these areas is explored over a couple of pages and there are case studies as well. If you’ve done a Degree or Masters in management, you’ll find much of it familiar but there’s the odd nugget in there. For instance, the question is posed, “Innovation should have real monetary value attached to it. How many executives in organisations received bonuses based on innovation metrics?”

Overall, worth spending 15 mins to run through the material and see if there’s anything of interest. Also might be quite a good primer if you are trying to get innovation off the ground in your organisation.

The previous editions, “New Shapes and Sizes” and “Leadership at All Levels“, are still available for download as .pdfs.