The future of innovation

Last week the 47th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting took place in Davos-Klosters Switzerland, where  the world’s top leaders from all walks of life came together to achieve common goals and drive new initiatives. Although there were many topics discussed at the World Economic Forum that relate to the topics that are used in Strategy Blogs, I would like to share two interesting discussions about innovation, which are: Maintaining innovation and the Strategic Update: The Future of Innovation.

 

The most important lesson that can be drawn from these discussions about innovation, is in my opinion that we need to be collaborative with other people across professions and industries. An important question in this respect is: when do we collaborate? The most familiar way that we probably know is that we can actively go out and work together with other professionals on innovative projects. Innovations however are not only the result from actively searching for innovations. Some innovation experts believe that you should not focus (too much) on innovation, because many innovations are the sudden findings that occur when you do the work that you are passionate about. Collaboration with other professionals across industries is in this context probably different as this collaboration is founded in the actual business practice.

Additional to what was discussed at the World Economic Forum is in my opinion that innovation and collaboration need to be balanced with management control systems and risk management. Gurd & Helliar (2017) show that this balance is difficult. Sometimes management control and risk management are a burden to the innovation- or collaboration process, but it can also create new understandings and stimulate innovation. Finding the right balance may not be easy, but in my opinion it is always useful to check the balance from time to time and also to take a look if there is enough collaboration with other professionals in other industries.

Norbert Bol

Literature

Gurd, B., & Helliar, C. (2017). Looking for leaders:‘Balancing’innovation, risk and management control systems. The British Accounting Review, 49(1), 91-102.

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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