The passing of one year and the arrival of another is a natural time to both look back and reflect, and look forward to a future we are yet to create and experience. We are certainly looking to do both, to understand where we are launching off from into 2022 and what the context for this new year is for our innovation, R&D, strategy, and broader businesses. The general sentiment seems to be cautiously optimistic, but the spectre of uncertainty is never far away in these times.

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Simon Hill, CEO, Wazoku

Personally, I am looking ahead to 2022 with optimism and positivity. I believe that this is a year in which Positive Transformation and Positive Impact will come to the fore, aided by the growing expansion of our open innovation efforts in all aspects of our business lives. As we look to bounce back from the tragedy and challenges of the past two-plus years, the tools of innovation will be critical, and those who get it right will emerge stronger, more agile, and future fit for what is undeniably an exciting, complex, and fast-moving world ahead of us.

I see a number of trends gaining significance this year. As global enterprises, we need to embrace agile innovation to support our teams in adopting the tools of innovation across every team and empower them to draw on the power of open innovation, co-creation, and open talent. To achieve this, we need to evaluate the skills, structures, and tools we have in place to ensure we are efficiently and effectively enabling innovation at scale.

Innovation must be a collective and interconnected set of shared objectives and key results across the C-suite.

The tools of innovation are becoming increasingly critical to our organizations’ ability to meet the demands of both today and tomorrow; to accelerate our digital transformation journeys; to meet the environmental and sustainability pledges we are making aligned to the global climate imperative; to create new jobs and ways of working that embrace the global talent pool in an open and inclusive way; and so much more.

We are all “being asked to do more with less,” which places an emphasis on us all to be as effective and efficient with the resources we have. If we are all truly honest on this, we know that right now, our current innovation processes are highly inefficient.

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A version of this article appears in our latest research report, “Retooling R&D for a New Era.”

Additionally, it is no secret that “talent is tight.” We need to be smarter and more creative about how we think about talent, about the way work, and how we resource our initiatives. These two points are tightly interlinked. Looking at the challenges and focus areas this report highlights, I believe we need to step back and look honestly at how we are enabling and empowering our organizations to do the things we are asking of them. Innovation must be a collective and interconnected set of shared objectives and key results across the C-suite.

In order to achieve this, you need the tools in place to allow you to centrally and reliably view, measure, and report on your entire portfolio of activity, from the grass-roots to the next game changer. The evidence shows that across our organizations we are doing a lot, but too often it is in silos. By not connecting these dots and data points, we are wasting billions of dollars in investment, time and opportunity. But even with the right tools in place, I believe there is still one more critical component required for innovating at scale successfully: the public sponsorship and support of the CEO.

The primary purpose of a corporation is not about maximizing sales or profits, but about the problem the company is solving for and its role in society today.

The most compelling leaders are those who are deeply committed to the purpose of their corporation. The primary purpose is not about maximizing sales or profits, but about the problem the company is solving for and its role in society today. They are emotionally engaged with the corporate purpose, and they can instill this same level of engagement and commitment to achieving the Positive Transformation and Positive Impact that we need to thrive despite the environmental, social, and business challenges we are facing.

We are optimistic for the future and we believe that through truly enabling collective intelligence, we can accelerate our innovation outcomes, build back stronger, faster, and positively impact the lives of billions of people around the world as we do so. Here’s to a great 2022. Here’s to changing the world, one idea at a time!

 

Simon Hill is CEO & Founder of Wazoku, an enterprise solution for idea management an open innovation headquartered in London. He is also an entrepreneur-in-residence at INSEAD.