Thursday, 23 October 2008
Northern Ireland & Innovation
Well despite the last post to this blog, I did eventually get to Belfast and then on to Newcastle in Northern Ireland one day later than originally planned. I gave my speech as intended to the Civil Service conference being held there. The plane was evidently repaired from twenty-four hours before and indeed some of the flight crew remembered me from the aborted flight the previous day.
While at the conference, and after I had made my contribution from the platform, I had an interesting conversation with one of the delegates on the subject of innovation. I was able to outline the relative success of initiatives such as new ideas schemes, scouting teams in other geographies, and central facilitation and management of innovation within a corporate organisation. We also discussed the idea of an 'innovation dividend' as a measure with which to evaluate the effectiveness of research on other operational areas of a business. This exploitation of innovation is always the most difficult part, spanning the chasm between research and operations. But it is insufficient to innovate only at the idea generation department. The best organisations look to innovate all along the business value chain, from research through to operational support. This not only re-enforces the culture of innovation throughout the organisation, but also provides for the biggest potential gains.