Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Don’t invest in ideas, invest in people with ideas 41 – the issues and challenges of communications in a business 8

Posted in HR and personnel, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on November 1, 2018

This is my 41st installment in a series on cultivating and supporting innovation and its potential in a business, by cultivating and supporting the creative and innovative potential and the innovative drive of your employees and managers, and throughout your organization (see HR and Personnel – 2, postings 215 and loosely following for Parts 1-40.)

I offered two to-address topics points in Part 39 and again in Part 40 that I have been preparing to discuss in at least some detail for several months now, through a succession of series installments:

1. Offer an at least brief analysis of the risk management-based information access determination process, or rather flow of processes, as that arises and plays out in a mid-range risk level context (where I sketched out and used a simplified risk management scale system in Part 39 for didactic purposes, that I will continue to make use of here and in what follows.)
2. Then continue on from there to discuss how this type of system (or rather a more complete and functionally effective alternative to it as developed around a more nuanced and complete risk assessment metric than I pursue here), can and in fact must be dynamically maintained for how the business would address both their normative and predictably expected, and more novel potential information sharing contexts as they arise too. I note here in anticipation of that, that when innovation is involved and particularly when disruptively novel innovation is, novel information sharing contexts have to be considered the norm in that. And that significantly shapes how all of the issues encompassed in these two numbered points would be understood and addressed.

And I posed a simple-seeming question and briefly sketched out two case studies in Part 40, that I would address those topics points in terms of, in order to keep this series in focus here. The question itself was:

• Is a business under consideration here, that faces at least a potential for developing and capitalizing on some new innovative opportunity, new to addressing innovation per se as a possibility for it, or is it a business that has developed at least something of a genuine research and development capability already?

And the two case study examples that I would address that and the above-repeated topics points in terms of, to take this narrative at least somewhat out of the abstract are:

• ClarkBuilt Inc.: a small to medium size business by head count and cash flow that was initially built to develop and pursue a new business development path as built around its founders’ jointly arrived at “bold new innovative products” ideas. The Clark brothers, Bob and Henry came up with a new way to make injection molds for plastics and similar materials that would make it cost-effective to use injection molding manufacturing processes with new types of materials, and cost-effectively so. They have in fact launched their dream business to do that, and have developed a nice little niche market for their offerings, providing specialized-materials parts to other manufacturers.
• And Kent Enterprises: a larger and more established business that in fact has at least something of a track record of supporting, or at least attempting to support innovative excellence within its ranks and on a larger, wider-ranging scale.

I briefly discussed that question in Part 40, and certainly as far as making note of how different organizations could construe innovation readiness differently. But going beyond that, and the timeframe issues that I also noted in that Part 40 context, I raise this question here for its relevance in how different businesses and different business models that underlie them might prepare for innovation.

I raise two possibilities here, to further characterize this basic question itself. A business might intentionally prepare itself for innovation, and as an explicit part of its business model DNA. Or a business can in effect be preadapted for being able to innovate more effectively, from its more general efforts to be agile and adaptive in the face of change and its possibilities: positive and negative. To keep the two of these possibilities clearly identified and understood, I will refer to them as preplanned innovative potential and preadapted innovation potential respectively. And I would argue that in practice, these represent what amount to end point idealizations that represent benchmark point extremes along a preparedness continuum, and that real world businesses that are more readily capable of innovation, generally contain elements of both within them – or they are more readily able to develop them.

And that brings me very specifically to the two business model examples that I would address here. And I begin addressing both of them by noting that even just given their brief single bullet point descriptions, it should be fairly obvious that both include in them elements of both preplanned innovative potential and preadapted innovation potential. So my discussion of them, at least for purposes of this series, will hinge in large part on the details as to where they are and are not so prepared, and by either of these mechanisms. And it will be about where they are not ready to innovate and by either of these mechanisms too.

I am going to explicitly address those points of consideration as they would play out for these two specific business case study examples, beginning in the next series installment. And when I have completed that level of analysis and discussion, in preparing to address the two information sharing risk management questions that I repeated towards the top of this installment, I will finally turn to address them too, also in terms of the case study examples. I compared the overall analytical process that I have been pursuing here in this series, to peeling back the layers of an onion (in Part 40.) This is where I will begin examining its core.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 5, and also at Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 of that directory. Also see HR and Personnel and HR and Personnel – 2.

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