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Democratising Innovation

16th October 2023 | 6 Views

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Innovation has always been associated with several myths such as – it is futuristic and no connection to the current, it is limited to select few high IQ individuals and not for everyone, it can happen only in a sophisticated lab etc. However, the reality is innovation can impact past, present and future, it can be done by everyone and can happen anywhere and everywhere. 

With advancement of technology and changing mindset an individual’s ability to innovate is rapidly improving as result of easy and cheap access to high quality computer aided design patterns, Software, Hardware and richer innovation commons. This is leading to a paradigm shift from the traditional Innovation CoE led approach to user led Democratisation of Innovation.  

The rise of Democratisation of Innovation brings in the power of diversified and exponential rate of Innovation and more closure to society. 

How to Democratise Innovation within The Organisation? 
Now that we understand the concept of Democratisation of Innovation, the big question is how it can be rolled out within the organisation. What are the key solution tenets for Democratisation of Innovation? Lets now deep dive into the six key solution tenets which will help achieve the objectives :

1. Create a framework blueprint 
The first step is to create a framework blueprint defining the execution and governance models, roles and responsibilities, key performance indicators, reward and recognition programme. 

2. Capture Innovation Demands 
Before deep diving for supply of ideas, it is very important to understand the demand. Disjointed approach can lead to irrelevant ideas and waste of time and energy. Engage all diversified teams and functions – frontend, backend, strategic, operational, managers, architects, designers, developers, quality engineers, testers, support teams. Provide guidelines to ensure the demand is qualified as critical business problem. 

3. Make it a Parallel Programme 
While we all understand that day-to-day business as usual operations are critical functions and Innovation can be done at the cost of the same, the big question then is how can we democratise innovation? 

 The solution is to be able to execute Innovation as a parallel programme. It should be given all due weightage as we would give to a business as usual programme. It might mean setting the right appraisal goals, setting up right Governance, review boards, enabling with innovation commons and provide right recognition. 

4. Create right Environment 
Innovation has to be given a differential treatment – as it is an art. The right mix of emotional quotient and scientific analysis has to be blended in. The human touch points are key to continuous innovation journey. Environment should promote fail fast and celebrate failures as key stepping stone to success. 

5. Shift Leadership Personna 
While all previous levers are important, but the key to success lies with the culture and mid-set change of the Leadership teams. The leader should enable and facilitate as a “Servant Leader” rather than the traditional “Enforcing” style. Leaders should be able to appreciate and recognise efforts as opposed to measuring individual performance through successful innovation. 

6. Enable Innovation Commons 
While with the advent of technology, the design patterns, software and hardware have become easily available and with a cheaper cost, in a regulated organisation it is important to enable easy access to the logistics (including collaboration software). Concept of Software Marketplace including both licensed and open source technologies are foundational. 


swarup biswas



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