Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Innovation, disruptive innovation and market volatility 31: innovative business development and the tools that drive it 1

Posted in business and convergent technologies, macroeconomics by Timothy Platt on February 3, 2017

This is my 31st posting to a series on the economics of innovation, and on how change and innovation can be defined and analyzed in economic and related risk management terms (see Macroeconomics and Business, posting 173 and loosely following for Parts 1-5 and Macroeconomics and Business 2, posting 203 and loosely following for Parts 6-30.)

I recently wrote and posted a thought piece note to this blog, titled When the Tool You Most Compelling Lack is a Hammer, Everything Can Begin to Look Like Nails. I wrote that as a matter of addressing an alternative view of the challenge raised in a better known adage: “when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like nails.” However the thoughts there are raised and expressed, both of these adages address the issues of the familiar and expected, and of the assumptions that they all but automatically bring with them. That is also centrally important to this series’ flow of discussion, and certainly to this phase of it.

I have recently been discussing a new approach to visually depicting and analyzing business models as they are actually carried out in flows of operational processes and their causal relationships (in this series and also in a concurrently running second series: Intentional Management, and see in particular its Part 30.) And I concluded my discussion of this, at least as pursued up to here in this series, in its Part 30, by raising the issues of new technology acceptance and use.

I step back from the specific example of that new technology adaptation here, and from market-facing innovation per se, to consider business process innovation:

• First, I explicitly acknowledge that I have written fairly extensively about this arena of adaptive change in this blog – primarily as it arises and is developed and implemented and used in-house as a business evolves and adapts to remain as effectively competitive as it can be.
• But the business process-oriented innovation that I have been addressing up to here in recent postings to this series, is one that calls for new-to-the-business hardware, for it to be to implemented. And it is a type of strategy shaping operational change that most businesses would acquire as new and novel to them, from the outside and from explicit business-to-business markets and providers. So this business process modeling and shaping tool set, represents an explicit exception to the basic, more evolutionary path to business process innovation that I have addressed up to here.

Partly, this difference arises from the way that this new approach is hardware dependent, and explicitly novel-hardware dependent at that. But I would argue that the disruptive nature of this proposed innovation is a factor too, and particularly as it is a type of disruptive innovation that a developing business could market and offer, without in effect competing against itself in the process. Here, I refer to business consulting firms that bring such tools to their clients, as case in point examples.

• Many businesses that see this approach walking in through their front doors in the hands of a business management-oriented consultant, or consultant team, would see it as a specialized tool set that they would not need to develop and maintain in-house – when it might be more cost-effective for them to bring in the “outside experts” when and as needed, for carrying out this type of in-depth business process analysis, and when initially planning out its follow-through.
• Some, and particularly businesses that are led by earlier adaptor oriented managers, might want to bring this in-house so they could carry out at least select aspects of such a business modeling exercise on their own, and at their own schedule, and with fuller control over their own confidentiality due diligence as they do this – without having outsiders involved.
• And with time and as more businesses used this approach and saw it applied to their systems, this type of tool and its adaptation would expand out to include later and later adapting businesses, led by and managed by people who were more aversive to accepting early-stage change per se – and who need to see longer performance records for what they do adapt and bring in-house first.
• And pace and timing in adaptation of new here, would largely correlate with the overall pace of change and innovation – and market demand for it, in the businesses and their industries in question. Businesses that are always looking for that next innovative edge in what they bring to market and how, would be among the first to adapt anything significantly new and novel of the type that I have been discussing here – provided only that a case can be made that this would in fact give them a more competitive edge in maintaining and even expanding their overall market share. And established businesses in fully mature (and even relatively moribund) industries that look first to the traditional and tried and true, would be the last to adapt anything like this – and then, only after it has effectively lost its new and novel luster and become commonplace and standard.

I am going to continue this narrative in a next series installment where I will explicitly tie this line of discussion back to one of the core foci of discussion of this blog, when I deal with the question of information availability as an innovation driver – and as that helps to set the boundaries between innovation per se and disruptive innovation. And as part of that, I will discuss process systems complexity and the role of developing lean and agile systems as innovation enablers.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 continuation.

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