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Standards versus Innovation


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Standards say to improve by not deviating. Innovation says to improve by changing. With that paradox, does innovation mean sacrificing or contradicting the business value of standards?

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Standards versus Innovation

  1. 1. Standards versus Innovation Reaching the Next Normal
  2. 2. The Paradox Superficially, innovation and standards seem contradictory. After all, standards presume enforced sameness every time, and innovation presumes enforced difference the next time. Additionally, maintaining standards is beneficial only if the standards themselves cause higher probability of obtaining desired value. This maintenance typically proves to involve a commitment to operational refinement and control of a set of conditions that are not on their own moving targets. Meanwhile, innovation assumes that operations will likely be unusual for at least a period of time until a new approach becomes the next “normal”. This implies that innovation efforts are exempt from the business requirement for standards, even if the innovation is deemed “strategic”.
  3. 3. The Paradox, Solved The resolution of this apparent contradiction is easy to describe, whether easy to implement or not. It starts with reconfirming what the purpose of standards is… And from there it continues with standards being developed explicitly (not exclusively) for innovation. Innovation standards begin with the recognition that innovation is, by definition, a form of intentional change, and therefore that change management provides the model for implementing standards of innovation.
  4. 4. Changing how you Change Managing change is valuable specifically because of the difference the management makes in environments where change will either occur even without management, or will otherwise not occur when necessary. From that standpoint, the goal (again) is to obtain desired business value, even as the path to value may require more “regulation”. Meanwhile, innovation has now become something that is deemed inherently valuable, which leaves it open to the issue of whether doing it “badly” is still better than not doing it at all. The context for tolerating poorly-done innovation is learning – literally, learning how to innovate successfully. Therefore, the framework for managing innovation as change must include a model for success, namely, maturing innovation as a capability – not as a product. The model then guides policies used to manage the progression of innovation effort.
  5. 5. Change Requirements for Innovation Bringing up capability for innovation, from unrecognized or random to premeditated and instrumentally strategic, declares the field of relevance for management. From an industrial point of view, innovation typically derives its value from a. being a viable replacement of an incumbent offering, that … b. supports accomplishment in use through … c. an unprecedented combination of means and approach … d. in a given context. Replacement makes the timing of the innovation’s initial availability a critical factor of value, and effective timing may require any or all of the following: • Speed (to actual provision), which exploits immediate opportunity • Difficulty to reproduce or copy, which preserves existing and potential opportunity • Cost-effectiveness, which underwrites recurring opportunity
  6. 6. Since by definition, all innovation involves a “development” of a viable option to the status quo, the responsibilities of development must address the factor(s) of timing that will be necessary and sufficient to realize the intended value. In the business context, those responsibilities are then the capability that must be mature enough to make the opportunity a feasible concept. ©2019MalcolmRyder/ArchestraResearch
  7. 7. Change Requirements for Innovation Time-to-value, and feasibility of timed opportunity, frame the effort to change for innovation. Typically, the business feasibility will require a balance of compliance, quality and performance – which (as shown in the following image) are outcomes derived from managing Demand, Methods, and Impacts. In light of this requirement, the function of standards, where innovation is the subject, is to create a sustained environment for the maturation and alignment of capability to change – and to calibrate that to the intended type of opportunity timing (time-to-value). Compliance, quality and performance levels are manageable variables that can be set, raised, lowered, scoped, etc. To support the selected variables, examples of applicable high-level standards for the sustainability can readily include Accountability, Security/Confidentiality, Infrastructure, and Sourcing –each of which is a decided range of options to offer. As sustainers, these standards must be applied as real-time resources, not as restrainers, for the designated type of innovation.
  8. 8. Maturing Feasible Innovation: An innovation is a viable replacement of an incumbent offering, accomplishing value through an unprecedented means and/or approach in a given context. Innovation requires a continual coordination of Demand, Method, and Impact aimed at time-to-value. That coordination is promoted within known parameters of governance, development and productivity. Accountability, Infrastructure, Security/Confidentiality, and Sourcing are applied to those parameters as sustainers of an environment designed for developing a timely viable option to the status quo. ©2019 Malcolm Ryder / Archestra Research
  9. 9. Archestra notebooks compile and organize decades of in-the-field and ongoing empirical findings. All presented findings are derived exclusively from original research. Archestra notebooks carry no prescriptive warranty. As ongoing research, all notebooks are subject to change at any time. ©2019 Malcolm Ryder / Archestra Research Archestra research is done from the perspective of strategy and architecture. With all subject matter and topics, the purpose of the notes is analytic, primarily to: * explore, expose and model why things are included, excluded, or can happen in given ways and/or to certain effects. * comment on, and navigate between, motives and potentials that predetermine decisions about, and shapings of, the observed activity.