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Posted by Christopher Andrews on June 30, 2010
I recently finished the draft of my report on the ecosystem of innovation services providers. This report, to be published in July, explores the landscape of companies that are unified by a single purpose: they are dedicated to helping their clients unleash their own innovation potential. These are not companies who simply use "innovation" as a marketing buzzword. Rather, they are dedicated to the discipline of innovation – and bring unique innovation expertise to clients in wide variety of corporate roles. This report builds on much of Forrester’s previous work related to Innovation Networks and Innovation Management, but expands the "ecosystem" to consider all of the companies I interact with that have a distinct innnovation focus. In the report, I explore the offerings of:
I argue that this ecosystem of providers will be an increasingly important part of a comprehensive innovation strategy. However, it will be up to very knowledgeable and “connected” individuals within companies to help manage the diverse players, and connect suppliers to the right role, at the right point in the innovation process. I also argue that this is an opportunity for SVM professionals who want to play a more strategic role in their organizations.
Why is this ecosystem so important? There is quite a bit of evidence that the management of innovation will be the key management discipline in the 21st century, similar to the process management disciplines of the 20th century. For example, the leaders in the late 20th century (GE, Dell, Wal-Mart) were the companies that recognized the importance of process expertise, and committed their organizations to mastering this discipline. The evidence hints that same will be true for innovation – where Apple, Google, and P&G have developed positions as the century’s early innovation leaders and created quite a bit of shareholder value in the process.
For the suppliers in this ecosystem, there is still quite a lot of opportunity, but the road is far from clear. If innovation is going to avoid buzzword status (and there’s also a lot of evidence that this is happening), suppliers will need to:
Do you have comments on my view? Do you have thoughts on the themes that will push the innovation ecosystem forward that you'd like to share? This blog is intended to inspire dialog and debate. Please leave your comments and I will make every attempt to include them in my future research and my conversations with clients.
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