So how do we confront this issue? Prior to the launch of the new Innovation and Enterprise major at RMIT University Vietnam, our team of academics engaged business leaders and industry partners in conversation about innovation readiness and scalability to better understand the solutions to this corporate innovation and value gap. We also combined these conversations with a review of the extant academic landscape for explanations to help address these phenomena. We discovered four broad interventions:
Firstly, there is a need to look beyond our organisations to drive innovation. Whilst utilising and developing internal innovation resources is a good thing, augmenting these dynamics with external mechanisms can be one of the additional impulses towards narrowing the innovation and value gap.
Secondly, developing an understanding of organisational structure helps shape the initiation of these valuable innovation resources. Organisational structure here refers to both tangible structures such as branch networks and geographic location, as well as less-tangible socio-political structural assemblies such as leadership and governance arrangements.
Thirdly, an appreciation for the necessity to cultivate and support diverse teams. Innovation is, or can be, a disruptive process, requiring organisations and their people to better understand current pain-points and address any fixedness in thinking to generate solutions. Facilitating an environment that allows individuals to creatively disagree whilst at the same time supporting socio-psychological dimensions of such difficult discussions is important towards the innovation process.
Finally, there is a need to understand the regulatory landscape in relation to aligning this with organisational goals. Do note that innovation really only takes place in the face of obstacles and the local and international regulatory landscape helps to parametrise institutional innovation.
These broad interventions for narrowing the corporate innovation and value gap will also have implications on future generations, especially current and graduating students heading into the labour market. The comprehensive message is that there is a need to be mindful of skills complementarity and adaptability in light of the ensuing digital transformation of our economic systems. Traditional skill sets will have to be augmented to accommodate such rapid transformation and there has to be awareness of the benefits of opportunities for collaboration. Whilst it is possible to innovate alone, we observe its greatest marginal benefits from working collectively and collaboratively.
Story: Dr Seng Kiong Kok, Interim Senior Program Manager for Innovation and Enterprise, RMIT University Vietnam