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Knowledge flows for innovation - permeability and learning

How to establish a continuous flow of insights for product innovation

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What can companies do to remain relevant and win in a context of uncertainty? Monitoring disruptions and understanding contexts are the first steps to empowering teams to mobilize. But beyond relevant external information, knowledge flows are critical in order for innovation to emerge.

Monitor for disruptions and understand contexts

Most organizations have lots of ideas for innovation. But coming up with ideas is not the most difficult thing to do— it’s coming up with the right ideas that’s tough! Here are some of the challenges many companies face when it comes to innovation:

  • Prioritizing ideas and making decisions in the face of uncertainty
  • Facilitating the emergence of ideas that are desirable, feasible, viable, and differentiated
  • Shifting priorities as the context evolves
  • Transforming radically when the core business is threatened (for inspiration, read about the top 20 business transformations of the past decade)

All these challenges have many origins and reasons, but they share one common root: the need to clearly define the problem to be solved. For this to happen effectively, teams need a solid understanding of both how the problem is evolving and how potential solutions are evolving. Without any foresight and learning, teams end up playing catch up, and priorities are likely to shift faster.

There are different ways to get a 360-degree understanding of a problem space, such as expert interviews, field research, stakeholder and system mapping, data analysis, and PESTEL monitoring.

PESTEL stands for Politics Economics Society Technology Environment and Legal. It is a framework for collecting knowledge and analyzing trends in a relatively exhaustive manner. We say relatively exhaustive because some monitoring aspects are missing from the framework, most notably the Arts, an area which can bring great insights into human nature and futures — both desired and undesired.

Amongst these areas, Technology is the dimension that seems to move the fastest and has the greatest impact on how businesses operate. But disruptions can come from any direction, and are often the result of a combination of factors in several dimensions. In order to create the absolute best chance for foresight about what’s coming from around the corner, organizations need to monitor disruptions and innovation in all these dimensions, and that knowledge needs to flow across teams. While predicting the future is impossible, understanding where you are going and where you want to go are essential for helping you make better informed decisions and for giving you sufficient time to take a step back before you pull the trigger.

Foster information flows to increase agility and innovation

Often, knowledge is spread throughout different parts of the organization and isn’t readily available to the right person at the right time. Internal networks are a great way to connect collaborators interested in the same problem, but they often fail at capturing new knowledge in a way that is easy to retrieve.

Indeed, understanding the problems to solve in complex contexts requires different points of view and collaborative discussions. We know that innovation mostly comes from assembling new knowledge from within as well as from outside the organization. This is why knowledge flows foster innovation. Companies need to help knowledge connect across different parts of the organization. When information flows freely and discussions take place in a trusted and shared workspace, the way is paved for ideas to emerge.

Removing barriers to access and discussion and the elimination of knowledge silos is key to increasing agility and becoming a learning organization.

Knowledge flows for innovation - permeability and learning

Using Cronycle to cooperate on disruption monitoring and innovation

Innovation is an ambitious endeavor that requires the right decisions, culture, processes, and tools. Many tools for traditional knowledge management fail to deal adequately with dynamic information in a world of flux. And enterprise social networks fail at capturing information. This is the gap that Cronycle aims to fill. We built Cronycle as a collaborative platform with easy entry that enables discussions, knowledge flows, and wider sharing.

Cronycle feeds aggregate Topics (over 80,000 automated Expert Network topics, curated from the analysis of topical communities online), RSS feeds, Twitter accounts and newsletter subscriptions. custom filtering and collaboration features help teams monitor disruptions in a customized and efficient manner.

Teams (ad-hoc or permanent) can work together on Cronycle boards. There, they can save interesting links from anywhere, including from their feeds, files, tweets, influencer conversations, or notes, just to name a few. Boards make it easy to organize, search, and filter information using tags or keywords, as well as provide a unique way to group content into Story Arcs. Boards become the flexible, trusted, and shared workspace that innovation requires.

Collaborative discussion — a big part of how knowledge flows — happens within the context of content (via comments and inline comments) or via Crystals. Crystals are discussion threads aimed at creating new knowledge collectively. It can start with a piece of found content, or even without content, for example as a question or statement. Tags, filters, and search make it easy to keep information organized. Custom search across all boards makes it possible to retrieve information that can overlap several topics.

Boards become a safe place for a small group of individuals interested in a shared topic to exchange ideas, reflect, contextualize, and eventually extract insights. Contributors add summaries, annotation, notes, and other context to content and group it into Story Arcs to clearly express the insight or learning.

When insights are ready to be shared with a wider audience, Cronycle offers many publishing options, such as via messaging apps, newsletters (imagine quickly creating a reading list for the C-suite), documents (via our integration with Zapier), just to name a few. By taking full advantage of the ways Cronycle facilitates team sharing and collaboration as well as easy publishing of insights, you will maximize knowledge flows and trigger more innovation within your organization.

Discover the power of Cronycle for Teams

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