The Emerging Technology and Innovation Checklist

Honeycomb under construction
By Tech Research Asia

The power of an organisation's ideas are one of the must valuable currencies today. We all want to improve what we already do, or create new experiences or ways of doing things. But this very rarely happens out of the blue. The hoary adage, "you make your own luck" more often than not applies. Indeed, it requires a way of pollinating the collective imagination and ideas, along with a strong structure for turning the ideas into reality and harvesting the outcomes. Much of this today will be informed by the current wave of emerging technologies and strategies being adopted. We offer the following checklist to help Asia Pacific executives give their own approach to innovation and emerging technology a health check. It isn't intended as an exhaustive set of questions, but hopefully provides you with enough ammunition. Note that each of the sections are interrelated and should be viewed as a virtuous circle.

Discovery + Ideation

  • What is your organisation's DNA and purpose and why does it need to pursue innovation?

  • What are the key challenges and opportunities facing the organisation overall as well as for each individual business unit or team? Break this down into core business, adjacent areas of work, and blue sky opportunities and then prioritise them based on the purpose of the organisation.

  • Do you have a pro-active process for discovering emerging technology opportunities that could address these opportunities and challenges? How could it be improved?

  • Have you read the research, case studies, and spoken with peers that face similar challenges and opportunities as your own?

  • Have you looked outside your own industry or typical information sources for new ideas? Have you looked into things like biomimicry?

  • In what ways are the people tasked with discovery and ideation expanding their horizons to ensure they aren't thinking in a bubble?

  • What practical measures are you taking to think differently? Have you considered simple steps like going for walking meetings or trying new experiences that aren't your typical office brainstorming session?

  • How diverse are your teams in terms of people, experiences, and skills? Are your privacy and security people involved from the start?

  • How often are you undertaking a discovery and ideation process? Is this an inclusive effort that everyone can contribute to?

  • Have you considered alternative funding mechanisms for your innovation goals?

  • Is your discovery and ideation strategy an essential part of your culture or just an accessory?

  • Does the discovery and ideation strategy have a well-defined, albeit flexible structure or is it ad-hoc?

The Scaffolding

  • Do you have a robust but agile software and product / service development approach in place? Does it include an ability to work with hardware and manufacturing supply chains?

  • Are you also ensuring you are using proven methodologies for R&D?

  • How are you documenting your approach? Are you ensuring anyone can contribute and collaborate via social business platforms?

  • Do you have a fast, repeatable and comprehensive framework in place for prototyping, proof of concepts, and pilot projects whether this is undertaken internally or with partners?

  • Does your strategy include a mature change management component that is targeted at the long term for leaders, employees, partners, and customers?

  • What steps are you taking to review your risk posture with every project?

  • Do you have privacy and security built into every step of your projects by design?

  • Do you also have your legal teams and processes set up to ensure all contracts and IP are in order as you innovate?

  • Have you reviewed the skills you need to manage suppliers involved in the process?

  • Does the entire organisation and stakeholders have shared responsibility and accountability for outcomes?

  • Have you set up robust mechanisms for capturing data and insights to understanding your customer(s)?

  • Does your development take into account the cultural diversity of places like the Asia Pacific?

  • Are you taking a global approach to your beta phase of development to ensure you identify nuances from across the world while stimulating interest?

Production

  • Can you go it alone in bringing your innovation to market or would you be better off collaborating and leveraging existing platforms?

  • Have you allocated enough resources to marketing your innovation?

  • Are you able to tell your story or narrative as regards the innovation to the media and peers? Can each leadership role in the organisation do this articulately and in an engaging way?

  • Are you following best practice and kaizen?

Measuring Success

  • What data are you capturing to understand the users' experience? Are you asking them directly what they think?

  • Are your KPIs for success realistic and do they include stretch goals?

  • Are you flexible on success? Can you accept failures?

Re-Discover and Re-Innovate

  • Are you treating your innovation efforts as a virtuous circle that has no end date?

For more information on Tech Research Asia's advisory services and innovation workshops for Asia Pacific enterprise executives please visit www.techresearch.asia.