SOCIETY | May 29, 2020

From Innovation to Wennovation

Innovating together, in a sustainable way, changing the world for the better starting with us

In a society that tries to emerge from the extremely serious crisis triggered by the pandemic as quickly as possible and in the best way possible, despite several uncertainty indicators the most important analysts worldwide agree that in the medium term the crisis will push companies to increasingly invest in innovation and digital transformation, processes and aptitudes which will quickly become a priority for all those organizations that decide to react strongly to the crisis by trying to grasp the opportunities which this can generate.

The key to restarting the economy in the post-covid phase therefore is the implementation of a complete industrial and economic strategy centered on people, based on ecosystems, activated by innovation and enabled by new technologies.

In this completely renewed scenario, the concept of innovation becomes itself part of a higher order strategy, which is no longer just a tool to operate better on the market and to grow, but instead becomes the only real way to guarantee a prosperous future to their organization and a positive impact on the world around us.

The way in which innovation is carried out in organizations must therefore also take into account new aspects that could sometimes have been considered less relevant in the past, but which instead become absolutely central for the success of the innovation process in this new phase and consequently for the value we expect it to produce.

From Innovation to Wennovation

We must therefore shift from the concept of “Innovation” to that of “Wennovation”, an augmented innovation process, thanks to the more important and decisive presence and incisiveness of our personal and organizational contribution.

Wennovation can be translated first of all with “we make innovation”. This means that we ourselves are the protagonists of the innovation initiatives of the organization in which we operate and of the world around us. No longer and not just passive elements of the organizational machine therefore, but protagonists of those same complex innovation processes which will allow our organization to place new products on the market, to provide new services and to earn through new and diversified business models.

To be protagonists of this change we will all have to forget about our individual boundaries, think more and better outside the box, always go that extra mile to change, with a proactive and creative spirit, those logics that sometimes are a pulled hand brake on innovativeness in organizations.

It is clear that organizations must do their part by facilitating this paradigm, by encouraging the creation of good ideas, by making available times and environments dedicated to collaboration on issues of innovation and technology, by knowing how to identify talents and by considering the capability for innovation as one of the most important soft skills.

Innovating together

Wennovation also means “we innovate together”, within participatory ecosystems made up of customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders of various kinds and in which our business of the future is conceived, designed and made possible thanks to the collaboration of all the partners. This cultural shift will lead companies and organizations to realize that their business no longer coincides only with what they considered their own until yesterday, but will become the business of their customer, and also that of their supplier, and will often have a close relationship with that of their potential partners. It will therefore be normal to get help for the things that we will not be able to do or that others will be able to do better than us.

It will be necessary to move within a logic that goes beyond the concept of open innovation and which envisages continuous and reciprocal renewal paths of the offer on the one hand, and on the other, the activation of specific guided co-innovation initiatives by specialized partners, enabled by complete processes that involve the use of co-design, imagination design and design thinking tools.

By operating in this way, we will realize that the end result will be considerably superior to the sum of the individual results, as participation will quickly become collaboration and immediately afterwards, the mutual contamination of ideas, proposals and solutions. For organizations, the final outcome will be the ability to change faster and better, dealing with the changes in the world around us more easily and serenely.

Innovation for ourselves

Wennovation also means “we innovate for ourselves”, by placing alongside the concept of economic sustainability, which must always be the guiding star of entrepreneurs and managers, the concepts of social and environmental sustainability as well. This means that our innovation initiatives must also increasingly have a positive impact in these two areas which are fundamental for our future.

Where in the past these impacts could have been considered pleasant side effects of traditional innovation initiatives, in the future they will have to be placed at the center of the organizations’ innovation objectives, moving from a vision whose reference point was exclusively the market, to a new and nowadays more appropriate vision according to which the concentration of efforts is steered towards initiatives of sustainable innovation and innovative sustainability, with the aim of changing the world for the better by doing our work at our very best. We will get used to thinking, as has always been the case in fact, even if not everyone always understood this, that there is no innovation without sustainability.

Organizations must immediately start to adopt models of sustainability measurement for individual innovation initiatives and sustainability maturity models of organizational processes, in order to be increasingly better positioned in a changing market and in a world that has already changed and will not wait for those who decide to stay behind.

Innovating ourselves

In all this we must not forget that Wennovation means first of all “innovating ourselves”, changing for the better and radically how we innovate, produce and consume products and services, as Wennovation starts first of all from the people who decide to change the world for the better, without forgetting that if you are not building a better world you are not innovating at all.

Massimo Canducci