Weekly Bits of Interest – 5 September 2011

Developments and articles of interest from the last week:

  • Norway has released its first strategy on innovation that emphasises the need for more innovation in the public sector and the importance of a broad national knowledge base. Will be exciting to see what developments happen there in the Public Sector Innovation Space.
  • A thought provoking piece on Innovation Excellence about the ‘Innovation Gap’. Tim Kastelle writes “any time you have a gap between where you currently are and where you want to be, you have to innovate. You can’t bridge these gaps by simply doing more of what you’re currently doing.” 1
  • Something a bit different. Government Technology has an article about 5 Emerging Technologies soon to hit the Government Market. A little bit pie-in-the sky right now but worth noting and thinking about how some of these technologies could change the game completely in the same way smartphones have changed the way we deliver public services.
  • At Innovation Unit, Dr. Alison Prendiville analyses the success of Love Lewisham ‘a website specially developed to address particular community problems such as environmental crime, fly tipping and graffiti.’ 2
  • Speaking of public services, Phillip Colligan, the executive director of NESTA’s Public Services Lab writes ‘What does it mean to design public services?”

As always, please feel free to identify any other developments or articles of interest in the comments below.

  1. This quote is not covered by the Creative Commons licence or Commonwealth Copyright. From Innovation Excellence “Mind the Innovation Gap” Accessed 2 September 2011 at http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2011/08/31/mind-the-innovation-gap/
  2. This quote is not covered by the Creative Commons licence or Commonwealth Copyright. From Innovation Unit by Dr. Alison Prendiville “Love Lewisham: A Service Analysis of Public Sector Innovation” Accessed 2 September 2011 at http://www.innovationunit.org/blog/201108/love-lewisham-service-analysis-public-sector-innovation
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  1. kj you lovely bloke. Give me a hoi on 0412965485
    Hope all is well mate.

  2. And by the way
    If it is

    Happy Birthday for the other day

  3. Hi there
    Is this the same Con Soumbassis that once lectured me several years ago on peek oil and the effect that it was going to have on the world and the lack of inovation with this industry?
    If so
    How are you?
    You haven’t lost any of your opions or views about the world


    • Hey KJ is that you?
      Give me a hoi on 0412965485
      and thanks for the birthday wishes



  4. OMG.
    Where do I start? Firstly, may I suggest that you “mind the Language Gap”. Your post confused me with references to “Get Their” – wondering ‘get their… what?’, until I figured out that you meant “Get There”.
    Why would it be wrong to ‘innovate every chance we get’? Isn’t it the whole purpose?
    Do you actually understand what innovation is?
    You say:
    – ‘the focus needs to be achieving an aim’ – If you are applying small improvements, like a fresh bandaid on wound or a sharper knife to cut the bread, you end up with the same result. In the meantime, the person next door has invented ‘sliced bread’ and the town is going crazy about it. Where does it leave you?
    – ‘I would be choosing execution’ – what are you actually going to execute, if you don’t have innovative ideas to ‘execute’ – they go together: problem and solution;
    – ‘Innovative ideas are ...

    ... cheap’ – REWIND. Understand the meaning of innovation, it is about understanding people’s needs and adding ‘value’ to a new solution (by ‘adding value’ i don’t mean actually adding, often ‘subtracting’ adds more value – exhibit 1: iPad); yes, ideas as loose suggestions are cheap, innovative ideas are incredibly valuable; and yes many companies fail in execution because they don’t have the innovative culture in their vains;
    – low risk – no pain no gain (every supermodel will tell you that); risk is an essential part of innovation and you can lower it by “innovating every chance you get” so when it comes to lowering the risk, you have the necessary experience and practice;

    So, Go Back, Going the Wrong Way. I just hope you are not a CEO.

    To start with you may want to read this article: Rapid Prototyping at Deloitte: Building An Ideas Factory
    BIT LY: http://bit.ly/pMfH7A

    • Margaret Manson

      WOW… Stunning response… I don’t normally do this, but I do feel I need to defend myself a little.

      Firstly, you’re probably right. I’m not too flash a writer. I got chucked out of high school twice and only got through form 4 (year 10) because my dad was on the school council. Lied to get my first job at Coles Head-Office (Junior Accounts Clerk); and to this day, can’t beat my 13 year old in spelling.

      However……. I’ve been around long enough to have learned the value of diverse thinking and for that matter descent ! Clearly, you haven’t.

      Re: “So, Go Back, Going the Wrong Way. I just hope you are not a CEO.”
      WOW again… You.. “just hope I am not a CEO”….. Without knowing me!!!
      I know you’re credentials. Here are some of mine.
      o Business Analyst (Banking and retail)
      o Management Accountant (Banking and Statutory Authority)
      o Software Developer (Government)
      o MIS Manager (Manufacturing and Government)
      o Senior Innovation ...

      ... Project Manager (Retail)
      o Business Strategy Manager (Listed company – Manufacturing and Marketing)
      o Shareholder in several private family company’s which are both successful and at times quite innovative. (Former director and startup strategist)

      Formal study in Innovation (Melbourne/Mt Eliza Business School), Business Strategy (Beijing, China), CRM – well before most players knew what it was or that it was coming (Bonn, Germany), Resource Planning (Boston, USA)….. and many other formal courses.
      And…. like every second person in Australia who think they are an expert in business, innovation and all things, MBS MBA qualified.

      So get off you’re innovation high horse. You don’t have to agree with me but if you really had a clue, you wouldn’t have taken this approach.


      • Con, thanks for explaining your background.
        Yes, your comments have propelled me onto a high horse. Inovation is receiving too much lip service and few people in business really know what it means to their business.
        Without ‘innovative thinking’ practiced all the time, we are going to contintue missing out on oppportunities as a country, by doing what we have done for 200 years: riding on the back of the sheep, digging and selling raw resources until we run out or will have to stop for environmental reasons, and the later trend – selling our assets to foreign countries who do not care about us (farm land, housing and ownership in our resources).
        Regarding the language, I am a new Australian and only started learning Egnlish at the age of 15, but obviously I am a nerd. (So, it’s actually “get off your innovation high horse”.)

        And, unless it’s just the language issue, ...

        ... I’d be asking Mt Eliza for my money back because they’ve stuffed it up.
        Please forgive me for attacking you – clearly it’s not your fault.

        • Do you have ANYTHING to say about innovation or business other than “don’t sell our resources” – ROFL

          Words spelled incorrectly in two posts


          Given your rants about being a nerd… Seriously Funny !

          So.. Here’s my 20 cents again.
          I have no disregard or disrespect for Innovation. Quite the opposite….. Obviously. That’s why I am a part of this forum.

          However, business aint just about innovation.

          When I put posts up like the one that you have been so personal and aggressive about, it’s because I like to add what I think is balance to some arguments. I’m not disrespecting Tim or anyone else. I’m simply putting legitimate counter points across.

          Many great company’s are innovators. But, many great company’s are imitators who manage to “execute” better than the innovators. Some very successful company’s are not much more than really really efficient engine rooms (able to manage tight process). Some great company’s do really basic things ...

          ... like selling the contents of holes in the ground; but they do it well and make a nice return for shareholders.
          Innovation is great and valuable and fun and will be used to build our future as it was in the past…. But when it comes to business, it aint everything !

          • Con,
            Re – my spelling: point taken, but it comes more from typos than from not knowing grammar. Sorry. BTW, how do You spell ‘bandaid’?

            I appreciate your patience and I don’t want to prolong this – it is not meant to be personal (I’ve got my spelling bee out of the system now).

            If you like, let’s take it to a simpler forum – i have posted last part of this discussion on a LinkedIn group and invited others to ‘ajudicate’. http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1885287&trk=hb_side_g


  5. With regard to the Tim Kastelle’s article “mind the innovation gap”, I’d like to challenge some on the thinking.

    I think we need to be a little careful not to think every solution involves innovation or for that matter requires innovation. The idea of a “We’re Here” and we need to “Get Their” is OK… It’s the standard question when developing any plan or strategy. But more often than not the right solution will not involve “real” innovation. At best it will involve some organisational learning to apply some other existing concept, thinking or solution etc…

    We don’t innovate every chance we get, and it would be wrong to do so. The objective of “getting their” is simply to get their, so notwithstanding the need to consider bigger questions about what “their” looks like, such as are we prepared for the future, or is it sustainable or whatever, the objective is to ...

    ... achieve the aim in the most effective, efficient, sustainable and low risk manner..

    Low risk… We shouldn’t undersell the importance of these words. It’s my view that innovative ideas are cheap, and high quality executers are gold… being able to execute is 85% of the game and typically it will be the organisations that have execution as a strategic capability that will be successful. For every Google, Microsoft, Face Book or Apple, their have been 1000 better ideas that crashed and burned.

    Of course matching the two is the perfect scenario (Google, Microsoft, Face Book, Apple), but if the choice was “you can only have one of them”, I would be choosing execution.

    I’m not knocking the value of innovation. Far from it…. I like to play as much as anyone, but I think the focus needs to be on achieving an aim whether that requires innovation or not. We need to be careful not to get too caught up in thinking with innovation blinkers on.

    My 20 cents


    • Con, you are right – execution is vitally important. If you can’t execute, you won’t succeed in the long term. Irrespective of how well you innovate.

      Tim is also right though, if there is a gap between what you are currently achieving and what you want to achieve – you can’t just keep executing, you need to innovate. Innovating is changing how you execute and what you execute. If you have a solution that works successfully, then by all means, execute and execute well. If there is room for improvement (and I would argue that there is almost always room for improvement), then this improvement has to come from somewhere… and it doesn’t come from doing the same things the same way… it comes from adapting, from learning from your mistakes, from improving your efficiencies, from applying other concepts / thinking / solutions, from organisational learning, from game-changing ideas, etc. To ...

      ... me, all of these are innovations, they merely differ in scale of change. This is where we perhaps differ, Con. If I understand your comments correctly, you don’t view all of these as “real” innovation. I, and perhaps others such as Tim and Margaret, do.

      It also depends upon how you define execution. If you consider execution as “delivering a product or service”, that product or service can be (or become) redundant or otherwise and your ability to execute is irrelevant to your success. If you consider execution as “solving customer needs”, then your product or service must change with changing needs. Thus, it could be argued, that execution requires innovation.

      Ultimately, I think that both innovation and execution are necessary. You make a valid point that there are plenty of examples of innovations that failed due to poor execution. Similarly though, it doesn’t matter how good you are at building a type-writer, the computer put you out of business.