Harnessing the power of innovation: networks are at the heart


Every organization understands they need to innovate, not just in bringing new offerings to market, but in continually becoming a new and better organization.

Networks are always at the heart of innovation. The new comes from combining the old in original ways.

Chemist Kary Mullis aptly described how he arrived at his innovations that won him the Nobel Prize in 1993:

“I put together elements that were already there, but that’s what inventors always do. You can’t make up new elements, usually. The new element, if any, it was the combination, the way they were used.”

Whether it is bringing together existing ideas to create new ideas, or connecting people in ways that generate new insights, organizations must design how they work to facilitate value-generating connections.

Organizations are rapidly shifting to network frames for their structure and operations. Those that do it in such a way as to better support high-value innovation are leading the way.

Below are the slides for a recent keynote I gave to the C-level executives of clients of a major telecommunications firm.

While the slides were designed to support the story I told through my keynote, on their own they still give an indication of the issues I raised, in placing networks at the heart of innovation.