Avanade Innovation Days: bringing innovation to life

  • Posted on August 27, 2014

Avanade Innovation DaysWe live in fun times right now with technology innovation all around us.  Whether it’s your Internet-enabled security camera, smart thermostat, DVR, smart irrigation system, parking assist systems, the ability to find a ride to your destination in real-time using your smartphone, or some other kind of innovation, practical use of technology that can provide meaningful value is very satisfying. In fact, it feels like the value and pace of disruption are only increasing and, for the most part, we’re seeing technology positively contribute to the quality of our digital, and increasingly connected, lives.

But what about at work?  We’re told that we need to “be more innovative,” that we need to “think outside of the box,” and we need to “differentiate or run the risk of becoming irrelevant.”  To be honest, I don’t believe that these mandates produce the desired results.  More often than not, these mandates freeze people in their tracks vs. provide them with inspiration, energy and creativity to be nimble and quick.

It is the combination of the legitimate business needs behind these mandates and the feeling of “what now?” that drove us to create our Innovation Day program, a pragmatic approach to innovating at the enterprise level.  We believe that inspired ideas are within reach of everyone’s fingertips and that we can help draw them out and make them actionable.

Innovation Days are designed to give cross-functional teams the time and space to take a step out of the day-to-day grind and reflect on the opportunities to engage the Digital Customer and Workplace and embrace their Digital Business.  We have helped teams identify transformational, and in some cases, disruptive opportunities that were right under their noses and helped them realize that they were completely achievable using their existing technology investments.

Working with our customers, we customize an agenda using our proven Innovation Day framework that combines a variety of factors:

  • The customer’s business goals
  • Key industry trends (the most popular topics tend to be related to connected people, devices, systems and insight)
  • Real world “Art of the Possible” showcases that are both inside and outside of the customer’s industry (sometimes demonstrating aspects of our Industry Innovation Suites)
  • Two-to-three steps away from mass adoption technologies

We cover each area above and bridge these examples back to their business to help identify a Digital Business Innovation Agenda.

The day culminates in a prioritization exercise that helps make the agenda immediately actionable with the goal being that results are quickly achievable giving teams the confidence and the right to take on larger innovation initiatives.  Using our grid below, it is all about starting in the top right quadrant and moving left.  I sometimes refer to this approach as helping turn the snowflake of an idea into snowball and finally into an avalanche of Innovation down the mountain.

Avanade Innovation Days "Avanade Innovation Day Prioritization Grid"

Because the purpose of the workshop is to create a cross-functional Innovation Agenda that documents high value ideas and ranks them relative to ease of implementation, business value, and finally to each other, it is not uncommon for other parts of the business to request an Innovation Day of their own. Requests for future Innovation Days to keep the ideas flowing and to reprioritize based on new technologies, evolving business priorities and realized results of top right quadrant activity are a natural next step and helps reinforce a culture of Innovation within the business.

So, are you being asked to innovate?  Do you understand that speed and action are required to remain relevant in today’s world?  Would you like help getting out of the box and activating your Innovation Agenda?  Do you want to be the champion of Innovation that helps IT match the speed of the business?  If any of these answers are “yes,” let’s get started. Click on over to our Avanade Innovation Days webpage to learn more.

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