Friday, 19 October 2007

There is a bold new model for innovation that promises to give endless possibilities for future wealth creation and growth. But it also brings challenges in a form, and of a magnitude, unlike any we have faced before.

Hyperinnovation is enterprise future form. Everything from basic ideas; tacit and explicit knowledge; nascent and mature technology; even entrenched competition and wide ranging markets are interconnecting across traditional boundaries to emerge products and services that are increasingly multidimensional.

In recent times convergence was said to explain such confluence in the marketplace. But if we care to look deeper, there is a broader, more powerful reason that ultimately gives unparalleled scope for wealth creation and growth: Hyperinnovation.

Example Hyperinnovation.
Think of your very own handheld computer device. Is it a video camera or personal assistant; a music centre or communications tool; a games consol or dictaphone; a book or television; a musical instrument or credit card; a remote controller or word processor; a front door key or portal to the world?… Ask Sony… Ask Apple... Ask Philips... And they will give you the a similar muse…
As bandwidth grows and technology shrinks toward the invisible, both concept and functionality increasingly interconnects and expands toward the multidimensional.

Retail banks are beginning to Hyperinnovate at pace. Take Barclay’s, Britain’s largest high street bank. They now offer integrated bank accounts with free travel insurance, free air miles, automobile breakdown cover, monthly interest return, credit facilities with fraud protection, discounts at certain superstores and more… Why?… Customers now demand all-in-one convenience, incentives and access to everything instantly. And this is only the beginning.

Even the big energy corporations are in the mix. Multiutility creates a strategic leap forward. Whether gas, water, oil or coal, customers now expect energy and services, energy and information, energy and home automation, energy and building services. Corporations such as the UK’s n-Power are now combining individual products to create complex, intelligent services with greater reach. Germany’s RWE hyperdimensional initiative of high bandwidth data exchange over electricity mains power supplies, with online intelligent systems that monitor domestic demand energy requirements, even individual home appliance power loads (toasters, microwaves, hairdryers, air conditioners) for more efficient supply and energy schedules may curb the energy drain dramatically.

Hyperinnovation is stirring in high finance as well. The once ossified merchant banks and imperial financial institutions are now n-innovating to keep up with growing complexity and rapid developments in client exigency. In the past, clientele had relatively simple investment needs and fairly benign portfolio strategies. But that is dramatically altering. Industrial ventures, city regeneration projects, national infrastructure agendas, and institutional investment needs are simply more complex, convoluted and have greater magnitude thesedays.
Think of China‘s gargantuan appetite for capital; think of NASA‘s monumental mission to Mars; think of London’s 2012 Olympic vision. All of these dreams require new kinds of relationships between financial companies and vendors; factoring partners and customers; merchant institutions and governments; even between the treasury and the nation-state. The merchant monoliths of the past lag behind here. But the likes of the NBI Capital’s novel meta-loans and n-debenture solutions are rocketing ahead. For example, the Dutch hub bank NBI is putting together joint strategic ventures that combine DeNational Investeringbank ABP and PGGM’s structured finance expertise with the factoring depth of Parnib, Alpinevest conjoined with the miracle venturing work of the Van Den Groep. The result: a multicompetency offering comprehensive, coherent capital investment solutions not found in any of those single institutions.
One more example here. What about the future of the foods industry? Think of the recent and vast array of new multiproduct introductions: cows milk with added Omega-3, soda drinks with multivitamins, potato-chips with iron supplements. Your children may benefit. But is it Hyperinnovation? Maybe. So, what about Yoghurt with cognitive enhancers, chocolate with anti-depressants, or strawberries with antibiotics? Hyperinnovation? Certainly getting warmer. Now, what about hybrid fruit? The ‘Grapple’ (grape+apple), the ‘Peacotum’ (peach+apricot+plum), or the ‘Necaplum’ (Nectarine+Plum)? Transdimensional innovation? Most definitely. And such Hyperfood is in the laboratories of C&O Nursery and Monsanto right now. Fruit and vegetables with surprising, but pleasing shapes and colour, which incorporate all manner of health enhancing vitamins and minerals. The message here: as genetic engineering and information technology continue to combine with agriculture and pharmaceuticals, n-food production will be the most multidimensional of all.

The Three Generations of Hyperinnovation.
To grasp a deeper understanding of such web like innovation, there are three quite distinct generations to consider:

First generation is the so-called Platform Hyperinnovation. This is the situation where a company or institution moves from narrowly focussed product/service concepts, provided in incumbent markets with straightforward customer demands (e.g. a basic current bank account); toward the integrated all-in-one bundling of disparate products that satisfy a multiplex of customer demands (e.g. an integrated bank account, as above).
Second generation is the Archetype Hyperinnovation. At this level, multidimensional innovation gives higher value not by dominating a single business niche, nor a sole industry sector, but multiplies value by interconnecting disparate concepts and technologies that crisscross established market boundaries
For example, Ahead’s prototype bicycle safety helmet integrates front spot and back lighting, MP3 music down load interfaces, integral headphones, a high fidelity acoustic docking cradle, and many other features that you wouldn’t readily associate with a bicycle helmet. The Hyperhelmet even doubles up as designer table lamp as well. Soon you may purchase such n-headgear not only at specialist road bike stores, supermarkets or discount warehouses; but high street electrical chains, retail computer centres, even domestic furniture and lighting stores. The potential revenue generated with such iconoclastic hyperconcepts multiply
Third generation is the Breakthrough Hyperinnovation. At this third order, the function; even the whole perception of a product or services transforms. The archetype changes into something quite different. As a result, this generation not only offers a multifaceted concept; not only a value multiplied; but potentially heralds a fundamental change in society.
Take Moller’s M400 Skycar. Your new family saloon. A deftly styled road worthy flying machine, integrating five Moller turbo turbines, room for four passengers and luggage, and runs on ordinary gasoline at around 24 miles per gallon. You drive out of the garage onto the road, drive along at 30.mph and head for the highway. You then press a few buttons and the autopilot heads up. You and your family hit the highway, and within moments your Skycar takes off at a climb rate of 6,400, at a cruise speed of 320.mph, and lands in an area no more than 35 ft.dim.

A breakthrough that changes the whole function of what that original model represents and can do. Fly to work, fly direct to your holiday destination door to door, have lunch on top of mount Everest, visit your long lost friend who works on an oil rig way out in the Gulf of Mexico, see the Grand Canyon never before, and, well?… You get the point no doubt. Automotive history or aviation history? Is it a car, is it a plane? No it’s breakthrough Hyperinnovation that is set to change society in fundamental ways.
The Potential for Hyperinnovation.
Let us take another angle on all this. You have no doubt seen all those slick new gadgets, tools and toys at your local electrical goods store. Could you have ever imagined, even a mere decade ago that it would have reached such an level of choice and options? Digital technology has a lot to do with it, so does the advent of advanced materials science. However, Hyperinnovation and the rush of idea interconnection has been the implicit, and now the explicit, root cause of such variety. And this has happened in three fundamental ways:

Concept expansion. First, Hyperinnovation expands, and eventually transforms what we consider an artefact or utility to be by enabling a synergy between known and novel, diverse and central, often disparate ideas. As above, n-connect enough novelty and you will end up with something quite different. For a case in point, recall the ubiquitous rotary-dial telephone at the beginning of the 1980s. Unifunctional and as bland as bean curd. Now compare today’s razor slim mobile mediaphones. Transdimensional, and seriously cool and sexy. They are poles apart and represent completely different value propositions.

New concepts. Second, and equally significant, Hyperinnovation opens up completely new vectors of design space. That is, whole new ranges of individual concepts come through by combing mature and new-fangled ideas in original and creative ways. Muse on the fact that in the mid 1980s around a few thousand new product categories were introduced to the world each year. Today, it is more like a million and more different concept categories. That is several orders of magnitude growth in two decades, with no levelling out in sight. By 2025, by current trajectory, the number of new concepts would be in the multiple billions.

New concept acceleration. Third, when the number of concepts, and the number of interconnections between them is rich enough, combinational explosions take place; unleashing the potential for hugely accelerated concept innovation within that network. Consequently, those thousands upon thousands of new product introductions each year; and so the incredible rate the internet content and infrastructure is evolving.
But, the big question is, what is the limit for Hyperinnovation? How much potential design space lies ahead for the multidimensional interconnection of ideas? It is a reasonable question, with a seemingly unreasonable answer: it has no bounds. In fact, there is a principle at work here. I call it the first principle of Hyperinnovation:
Hp µ Im @ ½ * å a ²
The potential for Hyperinnovation (Hp) is proportional (µ ) to the number of meaningful interconnections (Im) between agents. Meaningful, as in those interconnections hold a level of perceived or authentic value.
As an indication for the potential for Hyperinnovation, the number of possible (meaningful or otherwise) interconnections, is towards (@ ) one-half the square of the sum of the agents (½ * å a ² ). Thus, 10 agents in a network would have 45 possible interconnections. 100 agents would have 4950 potential interconnections. 1000 would have 499,500 feasible interconnections. And where 1 million nodes lay, 499 billion wondrous interconnections might be possible.
The payoff: for every new scientific discovery and consequent technology coupled to a network so the innovation possibilities increase dramatically, driving the synergy among ideas further and further up each generational stage.
And so, accordingly, a flourishing variety and correlation among ideas, knowledge, technology and market demands are the spur for creativity and innovation. The more diverse and interconnected an invention - whether a core technology, a service provision or entirely new business platform - the greater the inherent value and potential for yet more innovation.
In short: expect to see more and different, strange and bemusing, useful and amusing, exciting and heightening n-innovation as time rides by.
The Challenge of Hyperinnovation.
Clearly, a multidimensional future holds a profound impact for business strategy, the global economy, and society at large. Because as the confines of both traditional and contemporary business and social context combine, so extraordinary possibilities for new kinds of ideas, products, institutions and whole new industries emerge.

Only, it is with these new possibilities that come equally great challenge; and it is important to understand what these new challenges mean….
To begin with it means greater complexity in terms of the design work and diversity of technology, processes and skills needed to realise such composite invention. It also means effectively managing this new magnitude of complexity at a faster pace.
It means that the linear business world we have come to know so well, that unfolds in a fairly predicable manner, quickly falls to new markets that form discontinuous, sometimes unrecognisable patterns; where technologies that appear overnight bleed into unknown applications, then are obsolete as abruptly as they came; where competitors from remote industries that you thought unlikely to enter your market, totally redefine and takeover your most valuable sectors.
It means that today’s events are so many and so varied that they will have an accelerating and dramatically amplifying affect on the rate of change tomorrow; where accumulative experience accounts for less, and where new, quite radical ways of thinking provide for the future.
All this means a time in which best practice and procedure have not been set or written yet, where rapid learning and expansive knowledge oversee the rules of the game, and where foresight and imagination become the predominate forces of competition and a firms vision and particular aim.
And most significant of all, it means that the kinds of interconnections we make between known and unknown ideas become the engine for future economic growth, whether for the individual, local enterprise or global institution.
All told, Hyperinnovation sets an interconnected future with the utmost sweeping challenges, yet wide-based opportunities the world has yet seen.

Hyperinnovation management model.
In the light of these extensive opportunities and corresponding challenges, Hyperinnovation presents a new kind of management model for the 21st century. The model is designed to capitalise on these opportunities, and successfully navigate the associated risks.

Specifically, the model has been constructed to enable all manner of enterprise and institutions to innovate in many interconnected dimensions at extraordinary speed and magnitude. Consisting of six interrelated sections, it covers Hyperinnovation Strategy, Culture, Organisation, Projects, Tools, and Ignition. Below is brief introduction to some of the key concepts:

Hyperinnovation strategy: Getting ahead of the chaos.
As the business world interconnects, it becomes a more diverse, interdependent, and faster place to compete. As this happens, the rules of the game fundamentally change. In this world, outcomes, and the behaviours of the competitive environment itself, become capricious, counterintuitive and often contradictory.

Think of the future of TV. Are you confused? No wonder, with all that innovation going on (digital TiVo, leaps in bandwidth, TV on demand, TV on the mediaphone, PC, palmtop, Ipod, and oodles more on the way. Or come to think of it, is it telephony on the TV?). Thing is, the TV executives are just as puzzled. There are so many novel platforms emerging; so many options interconnecting at such pace; so many directions to go; that even the most astute business models are having a tough time keeping up.
To thrive on such complexity, to get ahead of the chaos, it is clear that all enterprises; indeed all public institutions operating within such transdimensional realms, must Hyperinnovate. To do that, such organisations must think, lean, plan and venture in highly interconnected ways.
Let us briefly look at so-called Hyperthinking:
Hyperthinking. Hyperinnovation requires a new and different way to think. A way to think that capitalises on the immense dislocation and reconnection of ideas. A way to reposition minds so that distinct perceptions and conceptions occur. A way to play with boundaries, to see ideas in new association with each other. And a way to lead with product and service concepts, in world where ideas continuously morph from something we know into anything that we do not (think future TV, telecoms, software, human interfaces, virtual reality, and home 3D printing, all of these and more are simultaneously developing and fusing in n-dimensional ways).

To be clear, multidimensional innovation can be contradictory at times. Thus, thinking in terms of contrary perspectives, or so-called contradigms, is indispensable here.
Contradigm is to paradigm, as water is to stone. If paradigms are self-reinforcing patterns of thought, then contradigms are self-repelling thought patterns that effect contrary perspectives. Contradigms break the givens, axiom, the maxim we are conditioned to and take for grunted, often blatantly repudiating what we have known to be true. But a contradigm is much more than this. In its most extreme and powerful form, a contradigm can totally and spontaneously reorientate the mind to not only observe what we could not see, but to comprehend what we thought not possible.

Think of the challenges high street retailers have today: the race to become effective multi-channellers….. Why?…. Cross-channel consumers shop more frequently, spend more, and make more impulse purchases.

But, if all retailers are rushing toward a multichannelled strategy, if original equipment manufactures are circumnavigating the retailer, if content providers are going direct to customers, then what competitive advantage can they hope to effect? How can they attract custom in enough hordes to meet ever increasing targets? Little to none and not enough, if they copy each others multichannel scheme blindly. Following a trend without any significant architectural innovation, is a mere me-too strategy.

So what to do here? Contradigms lend a hand. Contrary perspectives, that lead in a different direction from the mass competition.

For a case in point, many moons ago I often visited a local book shop. I spent so much time there I got to know the proprietor. Then one day, on a whim, I posed the question, ‘why don’t you put in hot coffee and a few comfy chairs. It might attract more custom?’ His retort, ‘Use your common sense lad, this is a book shop!’

Almost 20 years later from that day, you can go into any Borders store on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy an extradimensional experience…. Buy a magazine or newspaper, sit in the coffee-bar and enjoy a glass of wine, listen to a record album, and browse through the lists of products. Meanwhile, your two children are listening to a story read by, yes, its author, in the children's section. They are being watched by close-circuit TV, so they're safe as houses. You decide to check out the Borders computer database for a specialist book and order it on the spot. At last you decide to go browse around the book store that's chock-a-block with every title from Accounting to Zen...

Not bad at all considering the past (a book shop is a book shop is a book shop). Not bad for a platform Hyperinnovation (above). But what of the future? How could Borders (and kindred retailers alike) move up each generational stage of Hyperinnovation? What contradigm could smash the current paradigm?

The objective here, is to challenge the very givens a business is run by. The rules and fundamental precepts a firm takes for granted. To practice this, start by taking any standard model or accepted idea in business, then think of an antithesis. Write down a list of phrases that describe the standard model, than next to each phrase write down an antithesis. Here’s some examples you may find surprising:

Axiom: Antithesis:
Multichannel strategy. Hyperstrategy.
The service experience. The service hyperexperience.
E-tail. Live video retail in the home.
Shop floor. Interactive and mobile spaces.
High touch. One-to-one customer relationships.
Walk in customers. Inspired to experience thehyperexperience.

A route to finding a workable antithesis, is to look for the origins of a given axiom. For example, ‘multichannel strategy.’ Where did this axiom come from in the first place? The answer: dogma. Every retailer is jumping on the multichannel wagon. So almost unconsciously, the multichannel model is being planted into the business realm. And now, after a decade, it is accepted as a commercial axiom, and often without question.

So, the first principle here, is to think of the origins of an idea, then, secondly, attempt to validate that idea’s integrity or authenticity in a recent technological or competitive context. Once the origin of an axiom has been found and then authenticated or invalidated in a contemporary context, a divergent or contradictory antithesis can be generated.
Put ‘multichannel strategy’ in the present context of Hyperinnovation. Bring in the new technological context of every increasing bandwidth, mediaphones, advertising over VOD, and many other emerging hyperinnovation. Hence, the axiom antithesis: Hyperchannel.
To the point: a contradigm such as an axiom antithesis is about rebuttal, dispute about the origins of a model or idea set in the latest context. That white is not white, but a phase integration of many colours. That intellectual walls are in themselves illusory, and solely a hangover from times when things where slower and segregated.
And so the contradigm Hyperchannel: sell the stylish seats the browsing customers are sitting on; sell designer shelves the books are resting on, video the celebrity story reading session and down load (for a small price) on the Border’s website for childhood memories; expand the concept into a crèche for busy family shoppers; expand the building for live acts/bands that customers are listening to on CD (video and live podcast the venue). Shop from home via broadband video link on your mediaphone to a real, living and kicking shop experience assist. Thus transforming what we consider Borders to be by interconnecting a synergy between known and novel, diverse and central, often disparate ideas (as above). Again, they are completely different value propositions.
Hyperinnovation culture: the glue that bonds us together.
One of the most important elements within Hyperinnovation, at least in within context of an interconnecting world, is the mangement of culture. It is by far the most powerful leadership mechanism available; a complex set of beliefs, values, norms, customs, protocols, and local language; which all go toward setting a stage for a particular way. But even if we choose to ignore this, it still exists, whether by default or design.

Culture, then, lays the foundation for the unwritten laws that govern people’s actions. Culture affects tolerance to new ideas, and indeed the creation and interconnection of original concepts. It affects behaviour at a level that no policy could ever reach. It governs people's commitment, the way we interact, communicate and make decisions. It even impacts on the very way and what we think.
The goal then is to build a culture that both enables and stimulates Hyperinnovation. Here, there are a number of key components that build such a Hyperinnovation-Culture:
New stuff happens, unpredictably, ever faster. Yet, even with such levels of ambiguity, the future can also be a matter of choice and design. On the larger, global picture scale, we can premeditate the future. In fact, a strong view of the future has never been so important, precisely because the world changes so rapidly and so unpredictably. Consequently, all enterprises and institutes need to outline an innovative high concept transdimensional picture of the future to give long-term bearing.
Values are key too. They inform our behaviour and the actions we take beyond any fragile plan or strict set of top-down operating rules. Hence, the need for a set of core-values that animate people toward Hyperinnovation.
The leader’s behaviour profoundly shapes cultural values, and the way people think and behave. Thus, we need leadership styles, habits, patterns and actions that engender and enable a leadership culture of n-innovation.
Hyperinnovation culture, likewise, emerges from a diverse team of people that gravitate toward a multiplicity of ideas and discipline. The personal development of these special people must be considered as well, because how and what these people know and think impacts on how they organise ideas.
Hyperinnovation organisation: toward teams as swarming super organisms.
To effectively move a multisystems invention through the various stages of technical development and commercial adoption, a particular kind of organisation needs to form: the Hyperinnovation-Organisation, reinventing itself as the dynamic demands arrive.
To meet the many challenges of Hyperinnovation, it is possible to capitalise on principles emerging from the science of complexity. To build swarm like teams, that are acutely agile, holistic, intelligent organisations.

The secret is to manage by a few number of simple rules and values (above). This because scientists have found that complex patterns and behaviours do not have to come from a composite, autocratic set of operating rules. In fact, profound emergent effects - from the intricate self-replicating patterns of snowflakes to the cognition of the mind - propagate from fundamentally simple elements, acting under an extremely simple set of guide lines. Keep the system simple, and swarm like teams will emerge.
Hyperinnovation also requires a diversity of people with different disciplines, skills, backgrounds and even worldviews. But this kind of diversity can lead to political, even unnecessary personal conflicts. Without systems team building and leadership, such clashes can be highly disruptive.
There is a need to design a physical, fit-for-purpose working environment that enhances multidimensional thinking, team collaboration, and quickens innovation per se. People immersed in a bright, open, even exciting work environment, are significantly more productive.
Lastly here, the emerging information and communication technologies, team interfaces, and virtual reality simulation tools, are further enabling leaps and bounds in innovation productivity and speed. This tech-tool issue must be given serious attention and capital budgets. And always remember, high speed, highly productive teams are the result of the latest and best tools available. This is not about working harder, but working smarter.

Hyperinnovation projects: methods to see beyond uncertainty.
Innovation by its very nature, means going beyond current experience and knowledge-pools, and often into the unknown. But more, we are talking multidimensional innovation; innovations that contain ideas from diverse and unique origins, interconnected in novel and often complex ways.

In view of this, Hyperinnovation-Projects makes use of new management concepts, outlining the necessary project principles that support a dynamic, interconnected project environment.
Quite often, the logic and link between root cause (a task) and eventual outcome (a product or service) is often lost merely because the system itself (the total project activity) is too complex to understand by any one person, at any one time. However, it is possible to overcome this potential break between cause, effect and ultimate intent, by acutely focusing on outcomes.

Further, by using the so-called Theory-of-Constraints it is possible to increase project yield over time. Less is more of course. That is, a greater number of projects hitting the market in less time, by focusing on less projects at any one time. And when coupled to continued, and dogged elimination of bottlenecks within such projects, the pace and productivity will utterly energise over time.
Hyperinnovation tools: methods to build n-innovation with.
All teams involved in n-innovation need so-called structured methodologies. Formal intellectual tools and techniques that give rhyme and continuity for the capture of information and problem solving throughout a project-cycle. Such tools include techniques for the generation of new and inspirational concepts, then in turn capture customer’s overt, emerging and unarticulated demands.

For instance, there are particular techniques for the anticipation and identification of customer demands (even though they may not explicitly know what they want). One powerful methodology here, is so-called Actual Place, Actual Product Analysis (APAPA). It was originally conceived by the late Soichiro Honda, the co-founder of the Honda Motor Co. He called it ‘Genba Genbutsu,’ meaning ‘actual place, actual item.’ The technique is as it is described. Instead of speculation, the innovation team actually go to the places where and how a product is actually used, or to see how problems are actually occurring.
The message here, is get out more. Visit unusual and interesting places to stimulate the creative juices. Go see and study your customers in their working/consuming environment. Get to understand their meanings and goals in life, build empathy here. What are the cliques, clans and belief systems they cling to? What are their demand complexes? Carry out the APAPA methodology. Capture live action on video with customers using prototypes.
Next translate each raw observed demand (explicit of otherwise) into objective innovation characteristics, then turn them into commercial and technical design targets. Once you do that you can then move on to building in process controls that monitor and maintain those design targets.
The Hyperinnovation methodologies can even be used in market introduction and communications processes. Again, the customer demands captured at the beginning, can be communicated directly into marketing collateral and systems.
All told, such tools offer a highly effective and flexible end-to-end method for a structured and robust genesis, conceptualisation, realisation, and commercialisation of Hyperinnovation.
Hyperinnovation ignition: a cascade of performance targets and metrics.
Hyperinnovation-ignition is a framework based on the Control Theory of complex systems. It orchestrates the necessary move toward Multidimensional Innovation using the power of positive and negative feedback.

The ancient Chinese recognised such cybernetic principles, some 2500 years ago; the yin-yang of dynamic equilibrium.
Positive feedback amplifies effects, and so gives disorder, and therefore creativity within a systems
Negative feedback reduces effects, and so gives order, and therefore efficiency within a system.
By focusing on the right balance of positive and negative feedback set with performance target and metric generation/execution, it is quite possible to ignite Hyperinnovation at an unparallel rate.
Hyperinnovation is not only a mega-trend, but a meta-phenomena. A change, a force, an order beyond which there is no other archetype. Its architecture - as you have no doubt worked out - is that of nature; that of wild ecologies found in any deep vivisystem.
As Hyperinnovation evolves, develops and grows; as more and different multidimensional innovations arrive; technologies, markets, indeed whole industries of the future will be as rich and diverse as any innate ecosystem. The future’s bright, the future’s original, the future’s multidimensional!