Innovation starts in every Mainstreet

innovation signage

My home town Adelaide is desperate to become a renowned Innovation City and I am very keen to help that happen ….as we need it if the city is to prosper!!

Adelaide has a unique opportunity to position itself as an Innovation Hub by capitalising on the existing Eco System that has been established and adding a few unique and missing elements.

For Innovation to flourish we need to develop a high level of support from the broader community to embrace the culture of Innovation. We need everyone to support and foster the drive and ambition of those who have the focus and opportunity engage in Entrepreneurial and Innovation projects in existing business and brand new start ups.

To do this its important to take innovation to the community and establish places where they can experience it in a manner appropriate to their situation.

While many people see Innovation as coming our of new ideas in Universities, Incubators, Think tanks etc and backed by Venture Capitalists, grants etc ….  to get Innovation that results in High Growth Ready Businesses we also need to grow it within existing business ….Micro, Small, Medium and large!!

Continue reading Innovation starts in every Mainstreet

Innovating How We Innovate – The What

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Clearly there is a need to embrace more people and get them to support the Innovation journey we need to be on.

We started Innovation In The City as a means to start this by giving people a place to come to learn more.  Not just Entrepreneurs but people interested to learn about new tools, new technologies etc.  It was set up as a not for profit with an aim to find ways to support Innovation that would grow employment opportunities in Adelaide.

These MeetUps are proving to be very successful as there is a lot more interest in Innovation in Adelaide than I expected.

We found lots of people we didn’t know and lots of people newly arrived from overseas. And all reported an energy in the city and a vibe supportive of change.  From here we decided we needed to do more.  More than Mentor at Startup Programs, demonstrate 3D printing etc, talk about Drone technology, help entrepreneurs find funding etc  All the things I could think of to help this new and emerging world.

As such I decided to reinvent my consulting business enovAsia as a more collaborative business that would allow people with the right skills, attitude and experience to earn and learn by working with and supporting the efforts of Innovators.

Then I found Harold Sharples the man in the UK who could help me take the What, that we identified we needed when I looked at Why there was a need to change the way we Innovate in Adelaide give it some proven structure for success and develop it into the How!

The key developing Innovations that will develop into High Growth businesses lies in

  1.  identifying individuals’ natural talents and their Profile and Potential as an Innovator
  2.  fostering those talents and teaching the skills they need to deploy them effectively within a team
  3.  focusing them so as to
    • ask the right questions concerning the challenges that we face … and
    • get to great answers.

The ONist Entrepreneurs’ Business Model developed by Harold is simply a focusing aid (because it automatically guides us to the important questions for any business wishing to become High Growth ready).

The Innovation Profiles  developed for each individual will already identify the natural talents relevant to most Business problems – they also highlight the stage of relevant skill acquisition attained – and point the development way ahead for each individual.

The Innovation teams of Collaborators we build from the profiles then use the Business Model to identify and focus on the relevant challenges and the associated metrics to track the progress made solving them.

The solution to Innovating the way we Innovate lies in the power of the team and the nature and structure if the team. Teams are comprised of people with the right mix of Innovation Profiles as well as skills and experience.  And importantly they come from outside the business or the inner circle of the Innovator.   They are people with no vested interest who can say and do what ever is needed for the success of the Innovation Project without being concerned about the normal issues

The team becomes a two way street the Innovator learns from the skills and expertise of the team and each of the team (collaborators) learns Innovation from the Innovator which they can take back into their business.

And what will growing the number of High Growth Businesses (HGB) do for SA…… Each HGB will over time produce 1,200 additional jobs. Producing one such business every year for 35 years will ensure an extra 655 jobs are produced every year.

In the North West of the UK where Harold lives HGBs created 135,000 new jobs between 2005 and 2008 in a population of 7 million.   That means we should be aiming for 20,000 here over the next few years and that would solve the unemployment problems we face with the closing of manufacturing businesses.

But also remember we are developing a model where we will greatly increase the % of HGBs that grow in our Hub using a proven methodology !!

So whats next?  The How ….coming very soon…

Innovating How we Innovate – The Why

innovation  avanzi.orgRecently I read an article in Adelaide’s daily online “Newspaper” InDaily about Innovating South Australia’s Future which on one hand enthused me as a proponent of the urgent need for Innovation here and on the other disappointed me because we are still missing the mark in many ways.

With South Australia’s economy under pressure due to past reliance on manufacturing. mining etc and as such climbing jobless its great that much is being done.

But clearly more needs to done to develop an environment that foster, support and invest in emerging start-ups that WILL make a significant economic contribution.

The InDaily story is based upon a submission by Regional Development Australia Adelaide (RDAA) and Adelaide City Council to the Australian Technologies Competition.

“The submission details the expertise and resources that exist in South Australia and the extensive collaboration that is occurring on a daily basis in Adelaide between entrepreneurial individuals, companies, councils, universities and the different levels of government.” – In Daily – Vanguard

“Greater Adelaide has a very rich ecosystem of support for new ventures,” the submission says.

While its great that clearly Adelaide has the will to really DO something And YES  – getting the right ecosystem is the key – it seems the activity is in many ways isolated from the Community at Large

But I have two major issues –

As someone who has a real focus on Innovation via my business enovAsia and the Not For profit Group we founded Innovation In The City I did not know the full extent of the EcoSystem …. as such how would the average person have any idea of it as being so comprehensive.

  • 109 programs specifically supporting entrepreneurs and new ventures,
  • 11 incubators and accelerator programs,
  • 9 entrepreneurship education award programs,
  • 17 industry driven education programs for entrepreneurs, and
  • 14 co-working spaces.

If we are to foster and fully support Innovation we must reach the broader community to engage their support not keep “preaching to the choir” with more and more programs. And Innovation needs to be encouraged in existing businesses not just focussed on the startUp community.  There is a need for more integration between new and established business for sustainable success.

The second point that became evident is that we are not focussing on two things I think are fundamental to making SA not only a renowned Innovation Hub but one that makes a major contribution to the future of the State of South Australia. To do this we need to Identify StartUps/Innovations which:

  • Further develop what we already have here in terms of expertise, industries, environment etc (e.g. Food and Wine, Education, Medical research) not just support anyone with a good idea for the nest big thing.  But we also must support people working with the trends that will define the future of SA,

and

  • Become High Growth Businesses that employ people/bring revenue into SA for the long term.
    • High-growth enterprises, as measured by employment (or by turnover), are enterprises with average annualised growth in employees (or in turnover) greater than 20% a year, over a three-year period, and with ten or more employees at the beginning of the observation period – OECD 

When I shared my thoughts with a colleague in the UK, Harold Sharples, who is a world renowned specialist Innovation Consultant, he agreed with my thinking and referred me to a very recently released report The Global StartUp Ecosystem Ranking 2015.  Harold has taught Innovation to many people and companies around the world including IBM and Coke and including current Apple CEO Tim Cook when he was at IBM.

From this report and subsequent discussions it became evident that while Adelaide is on the right path there may well be a better one to achieve the economic benefits we are aiming for here.

Clearly if we keep building the same ol’ ecosystem,  we’ll just keep getting the same ol’ results …

In Harold’s words,  “it’ll still take 2,000 startups to get one High Growth business”.  This is based upon solid research done over many years.

The key is “innovating how we innovate” … making genuine innovations – in the ecosystem as well as in businesses and technology – and without it,  we won’t get that 10x change which is what we need.

In the report on Global EcoSystems “there’s some great research stuff at the beginning,”  but it ends up with the usual reheated stuff about better ecosystems to match funding with ideas  … Not better better ecosystems that innovate how we innovate.   In other words,  they still envisage a 1 in 2,000 future … at the moment,  their ‘big idea’ is to figure out ways to fail faster and lose less (and promote cities to do it in – and in Oz, only Sydney gets onto their radar!.

The report highlights that we are now at the Tipping Point in the transition from the Industrial Era to the Information Era .

More than ever before,  INNOVATION will be the key to success – in most endeavours – and in most fields.

I agree totally with Harold’s words below and in my next posts – Innovating How we Innovate – The What   and Innovating How we Innovate – The How  I will outline the approach we plan to take in Adelaide starting now.

“So far,  the ‘new era’ they refer to represents the posing of a new need/problem-statement —>  As of today,  we’re still in the old era … but we’ve come upon a new set of challenges that can’t be solved with the same level of thinking we’ve used to discover them —> We won’t actually be in the new era until we have a new solution AND APPLY IT.

Innovating how we innovate is what the solution will look like. 

Actually ACHIEVING that is how we ENTER the new era.   (The dawn of the agricultural / Industrial revolution didn’t occur until we’d FOUND and applied the solutions … there’s no cigar for discovering a new set of problems)

The principles embedded in my solution hypotheses for both IBM and for Business (re)invention generally can be applied to almost any field of endeavour:

From Ice Skating to Dance;  from Business building to Cuisine;  from design to ecosystems.” – Harold Sharples

Clearly there needs to be a better way so What Next?