Sprint Innovation (Our experience, learning, and reflection)
Kirjoittanut: Judiel Patrick Cayabyab - tiimistä Crevio.
I remember our 8th grade Math teacher challenged us to do the 9 Dots. She instructed us to draw four straight lines through all nine dots without lifting our pen from our paper. I never succeeded with many tries (Aileen). Can you try it to? Did you succeed? The nine dots exercise illustrates how limited our thinking can be. If you have difficulty completing the exercise, the most likely culprit w was your mind being blocked by the imaginary boundaries the dots created (Bygrave and Zacharakis 2010). If you failed in your first attempt, try again by drawing the lines beyond the the box of the dots.
Exhibit 1.1 Nine Dots Exercise.
Bygrave.W. and Zacharakis, A. 2010. The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship Downloaded on 4.12.2022 (www.wiley.com/go/portablembainentrepreneurship).
This exercise is a good reminder to us that being stuck to the knowledge that we gained will not bring us farther more. Knowing what could have been done and doing what should be done are best thoughts for a better result and achieving growth. This is the sad truth about unleashing our creativity. We know that creativity can be developed yet we set boundaries and hinder our creative thinking. Duncan Wardle, the winner of the Nordic Business Forum 2022 Speaker Contest, noted that most people are born creative, but that creativity is often lost as they mature and go through a regimented education system, where one is taught to color between the lines, and that there is only one correct answer (Nordic Business 2022). As we adhere growth, we need creativity which is a very important aspect of doing innovation.
Yes, INNOVATION! So, what is innovation in the bigger picture? Why do we need to do innovation for businesses, our teams, and our organizations? How is this being done? What are the issues related to the process?
Our innovation course is the shortest entrepreneurial course period for this term yet our experience and learning from the sprint innovation festival and our innovation pajas are the most intense and impactful for us. The one-week innovation challenge was so organized and insightful. The innovation processes and keynote speeches were clear and directional to do the challenges with our partner clients. All 3 of us belong to the same challenge, with our partner client Networks Behind New Growth. New Growth organized services and events for groups who share common interests and want to develop skills and networks. In addition, through the dialogue and sharing we had in our our paja, we gained a deeper realization about the concept and importance of innovation in the team, business, and oneself.
So, in this essay, we would like to share our experience and take away from that innovation week, the dialogue we had from our innovation pajas and our deep reflection for the entire innovation course experience. We hope that this will also help you gain further insights and realization about the concept of innovation and how important it is for the sustainability and growth of a business, team, organization and above all being an entrepreneur.
INNOVATIONS: DEFINITION AND IMPORTANCE
Innovation could mean in diverse ways depending on the perspective of the observers. A start-up company could have a different view of innovation from a large company. The customer sees innovation as a new way and makes their lifestyle better but from the entrepreneur point of view, it’s something to create opportunity. Now, let’s consider few definitions of innovation from known authors and leaders of innovation.
An innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly changed product or process (OECD 2016). Products undergo changes that result in improvement to keep relevance in time or trend. Yet, with this change it’s not only the product that goes through the change but as well as the processes like the production, marketing, delivery, and organization.
George Krasadakis, an innovation leader and author of the book, The Innovation Mode, states that innovation is valued through novelty (Krasadakis, G. 2020). Value is created once a product or process is innovated. Novelty is significant to innovation because it implies that there is the quality of being new, different and unique. This incremental change brings business opportunities and a better position for competition.
Peter Drucker, in his book Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has also a different view on innovation. He mentioned that Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, how they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service (Drucker 1985). Innovation is conceived as always part of entrepreneurship. Whether you are a start-up company or a well-established business, entrepreneurs undergo changes in their business that could create opportunities for improvement, growth, and profitability.
In general, the definition of innovation could be different from the other. Some disciplines refer to it as a process while others view it as a result. Let us take this term now as a process which is a core of an entrepreneurial field.
THEN INNOVATION PROCESS AND CHALLENGES
Let’s refer to innovation as a process for now. Entrepreneurs consider innovation as a process to create opportunity. So how does this process starts and end? What are the challenges expected along the way? We would like to share what we have learned during the sprint innovation week organized by TAMK and other networks. On that one weeklong activity, there were pre-task, key note speeches, coaching, tools recommendation, and of course the challenges with our client partner assigned to each team. From that experience, we would like to briefly discuss what are the processes highlighted during the event.
Exhibit 1.2. Visualization of innovation processes based on the key note speeches during the Sprint Innovation Festival.
Design by Aileen Nunez, Judiel Patrick Cayabyab and John Mallari. 2022.
Template and icons. Source: Canva
Considering Future in Innovations
The future is uncertain, and no one can talk about the future. Trends and signals in the present moment are hints about the future. And foresight helps seize the change. (Koskelo, M. 2022). Foreseeing the future is necessary to do any for innovation. We don’t only do innovation when the need arises, but we implement it also because we have foreseen the future.
Understanding the real needs
A clear human centered, and useful problem statement is important, unless you want an undesired solution. (Spek 2022). Clearly understanding your client’s needs is essential to come up a clear solution for the best.
Customer Insights and Empathy
Customer insights enables us to base decisions on facts, predict competitors’ moves, establish meaningful connections to customers, and direct initiatives to growth areas. (Yrjölä 2022). It is especially important to consider our customers what they say, think, do and feel. As entrepreneurs, we would be able to relate with the customer and appropriately answer their needs.
Ideation simply means yes, and …yes, and…!…yes, AND…
Always a challenge in innovation is facing criticism and opposition against our idea. That BUT must turn into Yes!…And….(Turku 2022).
With prototypes, you can refine and validate your designs so your brand can release the right products.
Hook.Need.Approach.Benefits.Competition.Call to Action. (Berlanga 2022).
The simpler the better. Get it done right and on time these 6 parts of pitching.
INNOVATIONS: OUR EXPERIENCE AND LEARNING?
Below is the visualization of our experience and learning of the innovation course. It was presented during our final innovation paja, however, as the presentation time was limited, we did not have the opportunity to explain each key word but then it’s simple and understandable how the terms are relevant to innovation concept. Our team was working on the innovation challenge with the client New Growth.
Exhibit 1.3 Innovation with New Growth ( Acronym): key take away
Created and updated: Cayabyab, J.P., Nunez, A., Malllari, J. 2022
Template and icons used for the design. Source: Canva
Ideate. It’s a key process in innovation. Ideas come in fragments and put together. In ideation phase, the quantity of ideas is important, not the quality (Idea Pakka 2022).
Notable solution. Understanding consciously the real problem results to answering the real problem.
Necessity. Fulfilling the need or creating the need in the market is a top reason why we innovate and a way to gain profitability.
Out in the box. Yes! We agree that sometimes the craziest ideas are the best ideas out there.
Value. If your idea can’t bring value to the customer, then innovate further or abort that idea. Business can’t be sustainable in this way.
Approaches. There are so many tools, methods, strategies shared to do innovation and we are so keen to use them to get things done right.
Transformation. Innovation brings change to the life of customer, growth for the team and profitability to business.
Insightful creation. Creativity happens not with one brilliant flash but in a chain of many tiny sparks while executing an idea. (Sawyer, K. 2006).
Open mindedness. To generate ideas, we need open mindedness. Open to any possibilities and opportunities. Able to adapt at any circumstance.
No action, idea dies. When we do not act on our idea, our design, our plans, then that idea will just die and will not provide value at all to us. In fact, it will be in risk of being taken by others.
No boundaries. Our ideas and creativity have no boundaries. We should not limit our minds and explore every opportunity.
Empathy. Emphatize is the first stage of the design thinking process. (Interaction Design Foundation 2020). It is one of the most fundamental processes of innovation. It helps us understand the needs and struggles of the people and society. Being able to empathize with our customers is an effective way of having a connection to them and providing the solution that they need.
Wealth of possibilities. There are so many paths to navigate and achieve wealth.
Most entrepreneurs are facing the challenge of how to grow their business in this competitive world. In connection with innovation, we believe that we have to maximize our strengths and plan ahead. Trust our ideas and work on it, never doubt our potential. With this mindset, we are open to possibilities and success is within reach.
Growth. Innovation is essential for profitability of the business and for the organization or team sustainability. It means tinking forward that correlate to growth both personal and business. It is a key to staying afloat in this highly competitive world.
Renewal. Innovation is a repetitive process. Once the idea is executed, you need tp follow-up then repeat and renew.
Observation. It is a need to pay attention to your surroundings. Creative ideas exist through concious observation.
Why did I not think of that syndrome? Its funny sometimes and a shame to realize that there are products created that make us question why we haven’t thought of it so. Michael Gondry, an LA based artist, mentioned in his essay about the French filmmaker, Michael Gondry who said, “every great idea is on the verge of being stupid” (The Entrepreneur 2021). Sometimes, when an idea sparks, we tend not to cater as it looks absorbed. And a huge opportunity is just there.
Timing. Be on right time. Keep track of your period.
Hit the button. Yes! Press that button to innovate as the need arises. Do not delay as opportunity does not wait for us when we wish to do it.
Last Sprint Innovation, I discovered that defining the problem is very important than finding the solution. Whenever I was given a task, I used to spend more time on the solution and focus on it but now I realized that if I focus more on the problem, and used various kinds of tools like road mapping, story boarding, MoSCoW method, and other tools that help us define the problem then achieving the solution is much easier. I also learn the importance of teamwork, working together with other participants who youu just meet during the iinnovation days. We have a different idea, and were not on the same page, but we come up with a concrete solution. In addition, I figured out that if I have a timeline, I will be on track of the things that I need to do and will be reminded the team performance and progress. (Patrick Cayabyab)
As a student, and an aspiring entrepreneur in Proakatemia, I am very privileged to experience the Innovation week. It gave me the hope and chance to explore my ideas and turn them into reality. It opened my eyes and my heart to see and feel on what the world needs especially that we are now living in an uncertain world that anything can happen. It was such a powerful event and the tools and methods introduced and used for the innovation processes were helpful as we do our team challenge with our partner client, Network Behind New Growth. (John Mallari)
When there is a need to innovate, then execute, apply the innovation process, make a follow-up then repeat. It is important to build a culture of innovation in an organization, team, or in n business. Cultivating this process as part of the entrepreneurial l journey is a sure way to keep our business sustainable. We may face several challenges along the procedure but if everything is well planned and effectively executed then growth, profitability and success are possible. Being an aspiring entrepreneur, Tis experience and learning will surely guide us in so many ways. (Aileen)
In spite of the fact that innovation has several meanings and interpretation depends on which field, one thing that shares the same is the outcome of innovation – growth, improvement, opportunities, and sustainability. The process and implementation could vary as well yet the goal of achieving the result is the same. As always, innovation is challenging like facing critics, rejection of ideas, no enough resources, no expert team to handle, and other issues. That is why it is really a need that culture of innovation should be nurtured in an organization to achieve success. ss.
We hope that whatever the learning and experience we shared, we could also clarify and understand more what innovation is and why it is very necessary to implement in a business, team or organization. As future entrepreneurs, we must innovate.
Bygrave, W & Zacharakis, A. 2010. The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship. Idea Generation. USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Drucker, P. 1985. Innovation and Entrepreneurship
US: Harper Collins Publisher Inc.
Goodrich, A. 2021. The Entrepreneurs (Monocle Magazine).
Essays Global: Insider Knowledge. Essay: Dare to be vulnerable.
Idea Pakka. 2022. Group Ideation: Opera. Read on 1.12.2022.
Interaction Design Foundation. 2020. What is empathize?
Read on 4.12.2022.
Krasadakis, G. 2020. The Innovation Mode:
How To Transform Your Organization Into An Innovation Powerhouse
OECD.ORG. 2016. The Measurement of Scientific and Technological Activities: Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data. Read on 2.12,2022.
Sawyer, K. 2006. Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation
New York: Oxford University Press Inc.
Wardle, D. 2022. Nordic Business Forum. Embedding a Culture of Innovation Into Everyone’s DNA. Watched live stream on 21.09.2022.
Keynote speeches: :
Koskelo, M. 2022. Sprint Innovation Festival 2022: Future in Innovation
Spek, T.V.D. 2022. Sprint Innovation Festival 2022. Who is your client? Understanding Real Needs
Yrjölä, M. 2022. Sprint Innovation Festival 2022. Customer Insight and Empathy
Turku, J. 2022. Sprint Innovation Festival 2022.Ideation
Burr, C. 2022. Sprint Innovation Festival 2022. Prototyping
Berlanga, R. 2022. Sprint Innovation Festival 2022. Pitching.
Bygrave.W. and Zacharakis, A. 2010. Exhibit 1.1 Nine Dots Exercise.
The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship Downloaded on 4.12.2022 (www.wiley.com/go/portablembainentrepreneurship).